Set amidst the large and prosperous Indian community in mid-20th century Trinidad, THE MYSTIC MASSEUR is a magical, bittersweet fable about Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi), a young, aspiring author whose unexpected talents as a healer bring him local fame and enable him to realize his ambitions as a writer. But he also realizes his limitations when his reputation as the legendary "mystic masseur" propels him to national renown and draws him far from his roots and his true self. Featuring a touching and comical performance by the great Om Puri, the story of THE MYSTIC MASSEUR allows us a rare insight into the warmth and humor of these characters' lives as the Indian community in Trinidad began to growand prosper.
The first film adapted from a novel by Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul, The Mystic Masseur
follows the rise and decline of an ambitious young man in the expatriate Hindu community in Trinidad. After his father dies, Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi), an aspiring writer, goes to his father's village and takes over his massage business. Though his writing efforts nearly break up his marriage with Leela (Ayesha Dharker, The Terrorist
), the publication of his first book brings them back together--but opens up all kinds of other troubles. With the help of a little showmanship, Ganesh builds a reputation as a healer and a wise man; but when his reputation leads him to get into politics, he loses his path. Despite strong performances, the movie's leisurely pace undercuts an already unfocused storyline. Also featuring Om Puri (East Is East
, My Son the Fanatic
). --Bret Fetzer