Hotel Salvation – anyone who has spent time with an ageing parent will find much that is achingly resonant.Posted on 2nd March 2019
In this story of an ex-schoolteacher who decides to spend his final days in Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges, Shubhashish Bhutiani’s directorial debut presents a world that will be alien to European viewers, but nonetheless touches on the universal theme of familial tensions. Anyone who has spent time with an ageing parent will find much here that is achingly resonant.
Businessman Rajiv, beautifully underplayed by Adil Hussain, is determined to be the dutiful son when his irascible father makes demands on him that are difficult to meet, but impossible to ignore. As the older man, ironically, starts to come alive as a result of their stay in Hotel Salvation, it is Rajiv that is forced to come to terms with a relationship that has obviously been strained over the years.
Deftly circumventing sentimentality, Bhutiani touches on the culture clash of old India with new, while at the same time focusing on the very personal journey that so many sons and fathers have to make, as carer becomes the cared for, silently acknowledging their love for each other with perhaps a nod of the head and a pat on the back, but mostly by relentlessly moaning at each other.
By David Vass