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The Mystic Masseur
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The Mystic Masseur (2001) More at IMDbPro »

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


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V.S. Naipaul (novel)
Caryl Phillips (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Mystic Masseur on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 March 2002 (UK) See more »
In 1950s Trinidad, a frustrated writer supports himself as a masseur--and soon becomes a revered mystic and politico. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
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 See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order)

Om Puri ... Ramlogan

Aasif Mandvi ... Ganesh Ramseyor

Ayesha Dharker ... Leela G. Ramseyor

Jimi Mistry ... Pratap Cooper

Sanjeev Bhaskar ... Beharry
Zohra Segal ... Auntie

Sakina Jaffrey ... Suruj Mooma

Rez Kempton ... Basdeo

Pip Torrens ... Governor
Albert Laveau ... Headmaster
Grace Maharaj ... Mrs. Cooper

James Fox ... Mr. Stewart
Michael Cherrie ... Man in yellow suit
Maureen Thompson ... Woman in rainbow dress
Dinesh Maharaj ... Taxi driver
David Sammy ... Bissoon
Eddie Yearwood ... Postman
Danesh Khan ... Young Pratap Cooper
Lisa Bissoon ... Wedding Singer
Ria Soodeen ... Wedding Dancer (as Rhea Suedeen)
Michael Jogee ... Kedgeree crowd
Sunil Maharaj ... Kedgeree crowd
Shiraz Mohammed ... Kedgeree crowd
Anthony Harry Paulsingh ... Kedgeree crowd
Rajendra Rastogi ... Kedgeree crowd
Hanskumar Seecharan ... Kedgeree crowd
Sanjeev Boodhu ... Suruj
Lystra Francis ... Mother
Sara-Anne Chow-Quan ... Girl

Patti-Anne Ali ... Soomintra (as Patti-Anne Ali-Clarke)
Royce Francis-Lau ... Birdman
Glenda Constantine Jobity ... Woman who can't eat
Nirad Tewarie ... Lover boy
Risa A. Williams ... Lover boy's girl
Keith Hazare Imambaksh ... Pandit Narayan Chandrashekhar / Cyrus T.
Alfred McClatchie ... Defendant
Mitra Maharaj ... Plaintiff
Shastri Maharaj ... Husband
Deborah Maillard ... Wife
Wayne Shockness ... Chief treasurer
Marie Kavangh ... Governor's wife
Edisson Baptiste ... String quartet member
Francis Pau ... String quartet member
Andre Comeau ... String quartet member
Liana Jaye Williams ... String quartet member
George 'Umbala' Joseph ... Man with Monocle
Jonathon Ali ... Servant
Avery Seaton ... Man with monocle
Ryan Ragoonath ... Striking heckler
Ravin Ramkissoon ... Striking heckler
Kelly Neese ... BBC Cameraman
Ben Spencer ... BBC Reporter
Kieron Quirke ... Oxford Pub Pianist
Unni Karunakara ... Oxford Student at Magdalen College Library / Catte Street Cyclist

Directed by
Ismail Merchant 
Writing credits
V.S. Naipaul (novel)

Caryl Phillips (screenplay)

Produced by
Paul Bradley .... executive producer
George Darley-Doran .... associate producer
Lawrence Duprey .... executive producer
Nayeem Hafizka .... producer
Richard Hawley .... producer
Anthony Maharaj .... associate producer
Pritish Nandy .... producer
Rangita Pritish Nandy .... executive producer (as Pritish Nandy)
Original Music by
Zakir Hussain 
Richard Robbins 
Cinematography by
Ernest Vincze  (as Ernie Vincze)
Film Editing by
Roberto Silvi 
Production Design by
Lucy Richardson 
Set Decoration by
Marina Morris 
Costume Design by
Michael O'Connor 
Makeup Department
Penny Smith .... hair styles supervisor
Penny Smith .... makeup supervisor
Production Management
John P. Adams .... production manager: Trinidad unit
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Matthew Blackbourne .... assistant director
Vincent G. Gonzales .... assistant director: Trinidad (as Vincent Gonzales)
Gary Granger .... assistant director
Asha Lovelace .... assistant director: New York
Parthiban Shanmugam .... trainee assistant director
Ben Spencer .... second assistant director: Trinidad
Suraj Varma .... second assistant director: Trinidad
Art Department
David O'Williams .... props transport
Lee Sandales .... production buyer
Nick Turnbull .... property master
Sound Department
Ryan Collison .... foley engineer
Robert Hein .... supervising sound editor: New York (as Bob Hein)
Anthony McLetchie .... sound utility: Trinidad
Sylvia Menno .... adr editor
Sylvia Menno .... dialogue editor
Kelly Neese .... boom operator: Trinidad
Glenfield Payne .... sound effects editor
Peter Schneider .... sound mixer: Trinidad
Brian Vancho .... foley artist
David Wahnon .... assistant sound editor
Akil Wilson .... sound intern
Visual Effects by
Keith Yurevitz .... visual effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Aaron Anawalt .... grip
Kelly Mason .... camera operator
G. Monic Kumar .... first assistant camera
Micky Reeves .... gaffer
Zalfa Shammas .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Shahnaz Vahanvaty .... associate costume designer
Editorial Department
Laurie Butler .... associate editor: New York
Pierre Proner .... assistant editor: New York
Tim Sternberg .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Geoff Alexander .... orchestrator
George Brooks .... music coordinator
George Brooks .... musician: saxophones
Karl Eckhardt .... musician: bass guitar
Zakir Hussain .... musician: percussion
Ashish Khan .... musician: sarod (as Aashish Khan)
Karl Perazzo .... musician: percussion
Philip Scher .... music researcher
Benjamin Simon .... conductor
Liam Teague .... musician: steel drum
Other crew
Bianca Bezdek-Goodloe .... legal services
Rahila Bootwala .... production controller
Nasheed Qamar Faruqi .... assistant production coordinator (as Nasheed Faruqi)
Katie Harlow .... script supervisor
Abel Monem .... assistant to the director
Mary P. Murphy .... production coordinator
Ben Rimmer .... location manager
Ayca Sadikoglu .... office coordinator: New York
Ben Spencer .... location manager: Trinidad
François Vila .... press agent
Kai Wong .... assistant to producer

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG for mild language
117 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Canada:PG (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Nova Scotia) | Canada:F (Ontario) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Portugal:M/12 | UK:PG | USA:PG

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Never Ever WorrySee more »


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
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
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

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.

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