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‘Mast Mein Rehne Ka’ Takes Us to the Unlikeliest of Places to Find Warmth in the Winter of Our Lives

‘Mast Mein Rehne Ka’ Takes Us to the Unlikeliest of Places to Find Warmth in the Winter of Our Lives

  • Neena Gupta and Jackie Shroff shine in their portrayal of unlikely camaraderie in their twilight years.

This Valentine’s Day, “Mast Mein Rehne Ka” may be a movie to watch for those who are not afraid of taking second chances. Mast Mein Rehne Ka, a classic expression used by people from Mumbai literally means to “live carefreely,” but as you get older the number of burdens that mount your shoulders keep growing. The weight feels quite unbearable if you are alone with no one to share the pleasures and pains of life. Loneliness becomes unbearable if you have always had an amenable companion in the past.  

“Mast Mein Rehne Ka” delicately weaves a tale of unexpected connections, second chances, and the redemptive power of companionship amidst the bustling streets of Mumbai where everyone is immersed in a rat race for survival. The film follows the lives of two seniors. In a city where survival often trumps solitude, the film follows the lives of two senior widowed individuals, Prakash Kaur (Neena Gupta) and Kamath (Jackie Shroff), whose paths intertwine amidst the relentless chaos and perils of city life.

Initially brought together by the acts of a petty thief preying on the vulnerable elderly singles, Prakash and Kamath’s journey evolves beyond mere happenstance. Despite their contrasting personalities and cultural backgrounds, they find solace and understanding in each other’s company. As they walk together and conduct “surveys” of their apartment complexes they form an unexpected bond forged through shared experiences of loss and longing. 

Prakash, who has no qualms that her name has a masculine tone to it, is proud to be a “Punjabi from Punjab” anywhere in the world. She has no patience with Mr. Kamath’s connections to Karwar on the Konkan coast. She is a generalist and insists on simplifying things by addressing him as a “Madrasi.”

Neena Gupta shines as Prakash Kaur, a vivacious Punjabi woman with a propensity for colorful language and a prominent mole on her chin, while Jackie Shroff brings vulnerability to his socially awkward persona, with an umbrella tucked in his collar and a hand bent behind his back for support. Their unlikely camaraderie is endearing, a testament to the transformative power of human connection. Before they know it they are sharing evenings on Marine Drive, talking about their departed partners, estranged children, and more. 

But, as Mrs. Handa declares: It’s their turn to just go with the flow and “let life live them.” They share beers and snacks at others’ apartments like a couple of truant children and continue to keep an eye out for the “cat burglar.” As their story unfolds, “Mast Mein Rehne Ka” explores themes of aging, loneliness, and the resilience of the human spirit. The writer-director Vijay Maurya and writer Payal Arora, pepper the narrative with laughter, introspection, and heartfelt emotion.

The ensemble cast delivers standout performances, with shy Abhishek Chauhan capturing the essence of Nanhe, the immigrant tailor grappling with his survival in the big city, where “money is the only thing that can buy you happiness’. Yet he finds a companion on the streets Rani (the svelte Monika Panwar), a beggar with a naive heart and an indomitable spirit, who scrubs the boot polish off her face, and accepts the “pilfered” Mangal Sutra from Nanhe as a “promise kept” and works to pay off Nanhe’s debt. Rakhi Sawant’s cameo as Bilquis the choreographer who hires Nanhe adds a touch of intrigue and the possibility of a better life down the road for a risk-taking underdog in Mumbai. And that connections count. 

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As the characters navigate the intricacies of companionship and love, “Mast Mein Rehne Ka” serves as a gentle reminder that in the unlikeliest of places, we may find the warmth and solace we seek. Despite life’s uncertainties and challenges, the transformative power of companionship illuminates even the darkest of paths, While the film may stumble in pacing initially and take liberties in its narrative with the “unlikely couples” committing unthinkable felonies, its message of second chances and the redemptive nature of human connection resonates deeply.

“Mast Mein Rehne Ka” is a heartfelt Valentine’s Day banner to buoy the human spirit.  As we celebrate companionship on Valentine’s Day, “Mast Mein Rehne Ka” resonates with the themes of love and companionship. The film reminds us that amidst life’s chaos, there is beauty in many unexpected human bonds. Mast Main Rehne Ka is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 

With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India, and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published hundreds of poems, movie reviews, book critiques, and essays and contributed to combined literary works. Her two books are My Light Reflections and Flow through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM.

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