The Mystic Masseur (2001)



Critic Consensus: Though pretty to look at, The Mystic Masseur is too slow-paced and lacks narrative tension.

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Movie Info

Ismail Merchant, best known as the producing half of the successful Merchant-Ivory team, once again steps behind the camera as director for this story of life among Indian expatriates in the 1950s. Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi) is a young man who was born to a community of Indian exiles living in Trinidad. Always bright, Ganesh hopes to make a career for himself as a writer, but he lacks the money to pursue writing full-time, and his ideas about education clash with those of his employers after he gets a job as a teacher, leaving him with few prospects. Returning to Trinidad after the death of his father, Ganesh is pressured into marrying a local woman named Leela (Ayesha Dharker), whose father, Ramlogan (Om Puri), is a successful merchant. Ganesh and Leela move to a modest home in the hills, where he begins work on a book, but Leela chafes at the Spartan lifestyle dictated by Ganesh's finances, and for a time leaves their home to stay with her parents. In time, Ganesh completes his first book -- a book for lay people on the Hindu faith -- but sales are sluggish until Ganesh and Leela come up with a plan to boost interest in Ganesh's work. Ganesh is promoted as a "Mystic Masseur" with special powers to heal the infirm; Ganesh's routine quickly makes his work very popular with spiritual seekers, and his book becomes a top-seller. However, Ganesh becomes disillusioned with his newfound fame and power, especially after he attempts to take advantage of his celebrity by entering the political arena. The Mystic Masseur was based on a novel by V.S. Naipaul, who won an Nobel prize in the year of this film's release.
PG (for mild language)
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Aasif Mandvi
as Ganesh
Om Puri
as Ramlogan
James Fox
as Mr. Stewart
Jimi Mistry
as Partap
Zohra Segal
as Auntie
Sakina Jaffrey
as Suruj Mooma
Albert Laveau
as Headmaster
Grace Maharaj
as Mrs. Cooper
Danesh Khan
as Young Partap
Rez Kempton
as Basdeo
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Critic Reviews for The Mystic Masseur

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (25)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 20, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

A real clunker. A well-made, thoughtful, well-acted clunker, but a clunker nonetheless.

November 4, 2002
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

October 26, 2002
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

A warm-hearted gem of a film.

Full Review… | July 20, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Mystic Masseur

Very beautiful film, the Trinidad location is a huge plus, nicely filmed, but curiously uninvolving. It has all the right stuff for a great film but somehow does not achieve greatness.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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