Open Minds 2017: Soft Power

Neeraj Ghaywan, Filmmaker

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Class Apart

He made a splash with his directorial debut, showing off a lyrical voice which was strikingly different from that of his contemporaries. Masaan was a finespun fable of contemporary small town India; its bittersweet personal journeys by the banks of the Ganga in Banaras, the eternal city of the living and the dead, were part social commentary, part emotional narrative.

“His voice matters because he comes from a place of genuine concern. He is affected by issues on a daily basis and he speaks from a need to speak out” - Anurag Kashyap, Director

Ghaywan’s discursive style is so effective a medium of interpreting modern India that Vicks approached him to make an ad film to subvert its own classic trope of a mother caring for her child. The film, a tear-jerker featuring a transgender as the protagonist, broke the brand’s heteronormative image, and nearly broke the internet, going viral within hours of its release.

(For the complete list of power of argument in 50 portraits click here)