Smart, spellbinding and achingly relatable is how The Guardian reviewed Hotel Salvation, a comedy-drama movie written and directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani, which is to be presented by the Larnaca Cinema Society on Wednesday.
The story is about dutiful son, Rajiv, who embarks on a final journey with his 77-year-old father, Dayanand Kumar, who is convinced by an ominous dream that his end could be near. Knowing that his stubborn father wants to breathe his last in the holy city of Varanasi and end the cycle of rebirt, by attaining salvation, Rajiv is left with no choice but to drop everything and make the journey with him. Daya and Rajiv check into Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation) in Varanasi, a guesthouse devoted to people who want to die there. But as the days go by, Rajiv struggles to juggle his responsibilities back home, while Daya starts to bloom in the hotel. Rajiv gives his father a shot at salvation but as family bonds are tested, he finds himself torn, and not knowing what he must do to keep his life together.
The film is written and directed by the now 28-year-old highly acclaimed Shubhashish Bhutiani, who was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 list for his unique talent in filmmaking. The film received a 10-minute standing ovation at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival, where it was awarded the Grand Prix Enricho Fulchignoni and the Unesco Gandhi Medal.
Bhutiani, who was 23 years old when he wrote the movie and 24 when he directed it, and attributes the worldwide success of the movie to its strong sense of empathy and its relatability to everyday life. Forbes India gave him the title of ‘master of empathy’, and he himself said that “to understand other people, all we need is empathy. I find a strong connection to my characters’ emotions. If the audience also feels the same, it goes beyond geographical boundaries.”
The movie stars Adil Hussain who won the Best Actor award at Washington DC South Asian Film Festival and a special mention at the National Film Awards, the most prominent film award ceremonies in India, for his performance in the movie. The movie also stars Lalit Behl, a 70-year-old Bollywood star who has repeatedly attributed the success of the movie to the fact that it was made with love.
The Larnaca cinema society will continue screenings at the gardens of the Pierides Museum-Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation throughout July and August, aiming to bring “quality cinema to a local audience: great movies that might not otherwise make it to the big screen.”
Screening on Wednesday July 24 at 8.30pm. Pierides Museum, 4, Zenonos Kitieos, Larnaca. Larnaca Cinema Society, Tel: 99-434793