17 user 36 critic

The Mystic Masseur (2001)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 29 March 2002 (UK)
2:26 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

In 1950s Trinidad, a frustrated writer supports himself as a masseur--and soon becomes a revered mystic and politico.



(novel), (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

In Custody (1994)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An editor asks Deven, a teacher who loves Urdu poetry, to interview poet Nur Shahjehanabadi, an aging whale of a man. Deven goes to Bhopal from Mirpur to meet Nur, of whom he is in awe. He ... See full summary »

Director: Ismail Merchant
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Om Puri
Cotton Mary (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A British family is trapped between culture, tradition, and the colonial sins of the past.

Directors: Ismail Merchant, Madhur Jaffrey
Stars: Greta Scacchi, Madhur Jaffrey, James Wilby
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An expatriated French novelist (Jeanne Moreau) returns to Paris when she learns that her childhood home is being placed on the auction block. What she doesn't count on is that she has to ... See full summary »

Director: Ismail Merchant
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Sean Young, Sam Waterston
Comedy | Thriller | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Police Inspector Ghote lives a middle-class life in Bombay along with his wife, Pratima. He has been employed with the Bombay Police for many years. His wife is generally disgruntled and ... See full summary »

Director: Zafar Hai
Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Stellan Skarsgård, Amjad Khan
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young Indian newlywed finds his independent wife troublesome and seeks help and advice from his overbearing mother, a supposedly worldly wise friend, an American seeker of enlightenment and a swami.

Director: James Ivory
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Leela Naidu, Durga Khote
Bombay Talkie (1970)
Certificate: GP Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Lucia Lane, an English writer by way of the US, arrives in Bombay to watch the filming of one of her novels. She's nearing middle age, she's had several husbands, she's lonely and ... See full summary »

Director: James Ivory
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendal, Zia Mohyeddin
Roseland (1977)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

"Roseland" is made up of three stories, sometimes connecting, all set in the famed New York dance palace, and all having the same theme: finding the right dance partner.

Director: James Ivory
Stars: Teresa Wright, Lou Jacobi, Don De Natale
Savages (1972)
Fantasy | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An allegory about humankind progresses from a savage state to a civilized form, that is only a cover for it's innate barbarism.

Director: James Ivory
Stars: Lewis J. Stadlen, Anne Francine, Thayer David
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A tangled triangle. In the rural South of the early 20th century, Miss Amelia is the town eccentric, selling corn liquor and dispensing medicine. She takes in her half-sister's son, a ... See full summary »

Director: Simon Callow
Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Carradine, Cork Hubbert
The Deceivers (1988)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Fact-based account of a secret society of murderers, and of the man who exposed them in British India 1825.

Director: Nicholas Meyer
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Saeed Jaffrey, Shashi Kapoor
West Is West (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An immigrant father decides to take his truant son back to the old country.

Director: Andy De Emmony
Stars: Aqib Khan, Om Puri, Linda Bassett
Touch of Pink (2004)
Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A gay Canadian living in London has his perfectly crafted life upset when his devoutly Muslim mother comes to visit.

Director: Ian Iqbal Rashid
Stars: Jimi Mistry, Kris Holden-Ried, Suleka Mathew


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ganesh Ramseyor
Leela G. Ramseyor
Pratap Cooper
Zohra Segal ...
Suruj Mooma
Albert Laveau ...
Grace Maharaj ...
Mrs. Cooper
Mr. Stewart
Michael Cherrie ...
Man in yellow suit
Maureen Thompson ...
Woman in rainbow dress
Dinesh Maharaj ...
Taxi driver


Circa 1940 in Trinidad, still a British Colony, lives Ganesh Ramseyor, of East Indian origin, along with his wife, Leela. He longs to reach out to people, especially to Hindus, in order to promote the Hindu Faith, and be known as a writer. He does get considerable success, so much so that he becomes famous as a miracle worker, having cured a man of sharing intimacy with his bicycle; prevented a man from believing that he can fly; and convincing a young woman to end her fast. His fame spreads all over the island and thousands throng to seek his blessings, which he does dole out quite benevolently, without charging any fees from the poor and the needy. He then decides to spread his wings by challenging the local politician Pandit Narayan Chandrashekhar alias Cyrus T., and takes over The Hindu Organization, thence opening his way to a seat in the prestigious Member of the Legislative Assembly. Now literally the sky is the limit for Ganesh, and he knows that he can achieve any position - ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ganesh | hindu | trinidad | mystic | fame | See All (152) »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

29 March 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El masajista místico  »

Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,550 (USA) (3 May 2002)


$398,610 (USA) (20 September 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Scandal in the Family
Written by Simon Jackson
Performed by Maya Angelou
Published by BMI
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

OK film but the story is flat, the wit sporadic, the performances mixed and, although it looks good, it is hard to overlook how dull and unsatisfying it is for the most part
26 September 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1940's Trinidad, Ganesh leaves his teaching job in the city to return to his father's village to try and become a writer. He struggles at first and ignores attempts by his late father's friend Ramlogan to get him to become a masseur like his father. When he marries Ramlogan's daughter Leela, he sets to write his books proper but the gamble is slow to pay off. At this point Ganesh decides to play up his slight reputation as a masseur – a reputation that has been made more appealing locally by his showmanship giving him a 'mystic' air. As he grows in stature as a masseur, so his book sales increase and he finds himself opened into the potential of politics, inspiration and corruption.

Attracted by this being an Ismail Merchant film, I wasn't sure what it was about or what it was going to be like. The plot interested me from the start as I tried to understand the flashback structure; it went further to show me a community that I didn't even know existed. However these were not enough and the film just didn't seem to go anywhere; sure it told a story, but it didn't seem to take much of the audience with it and it produced a story that goes very slow and, although it has stuff happening, it was surprisingly unengaging and actually rather dull. The characters are semi-interesting and the plot is the same, but the delivery drags it all down. At points it is rather amusing but again the delivery reduces the impact this has and it makes it sporadic rather than infusing the wit with the rest of the film. The film tries to take the story of Ganesh from humble beginnings to a place where he has grown beyond what he first wanted but it doesn't work as a story in itself nor as an allegory for the growth of Trinidad or the community. It is not terrible but many viewers will feel that it doesn't really go anywhere and, even worse, it goes there very slowly and with limited entertainment value.

The cast are mixed; by which I don't mean some are good and some bad, but I mean that they are all a bit hard to judge. Their accents is a good example; is their mix of Indian & Patois spot on for the place and period or is it as poor as I thought when I first watched it. Patois is a hard accent to pull off without sounding silly (look at Brad Pitt in Joe Black!) and I wasn't totally convinced here – I accept that the mix would sound funny anyway but in this film too many people sounded like they were forcing it – as indeed they were. However they also mostly do well with their characters and it is not their fault that the film lets them down. Mandvi leads the cast well but he doesn't manage to help us totally understand Ganesh – and I'm not convinced that he totally understood him either. However he does change well over the film as required but this is not enough given that the film is his to dominate as the main character. Dharker is as gorgeous as ever and she is pretty good when the film allows her to be, mostly in the first hour. Puri is a great actor and given high billing here but the film doesn't hardly use him and then just forgets he is around; his delivery is great though and he is a big part of the wit that the film doesn't use well.

Bhaskar seemed a strange choice since he is best known as a comedian in the UK but he is good here and makes for lively, honest support. Mistry is wasted and seems unsure of himself and the rest of the cast are given too little to really do to be worried about listing. Merchant's directing is good and the whole film looks colourful and interesting.

Overall this is an OK film but nothing really works that well and, despite the colourful locations, communities and sets it still comes across as being rather limp and, dare I say it, dull. The story and characters have just enough going for them to become interested but not enough to really engage and satisfy as a story – the ending is a fine example of this and feels like the film just decided to stop. Maybe worth seeing once as an unusual film from Merchant but really this is only average at best.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Book is MUCH better superfuzzy
Discuss The Mystic Masseur (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: