ABOUT THE STORY
Ganesh Ransumair (Aasif Mandvi) is a young schoolteacher with a dream. He believes that he is destined to write books as wise and as important as the books he teaches. But his superiors in bureaucratic Port of Spain, Trinidad, do not share his enthusiasm for self-expression. When Ganesh learns that his father has died in the island village where he was raised, he heads for the country to arrange for the burial and to make some important decisions about his own future.
Welcomed by his aunt (Zohra Segal) and his father's neighbor, Ramlogan (Om Puri), Ganesh decides that he is better off in the country, a place that offers peace, quiet, and inspiration. He marries Ramlogan's beautiful young daughter, Leela (Ayesha Dharker), who wins his heart with her unlikely enthusiasm for punctuation. The newlyweds move to a nearby village, where Ganesh officially begins writing his book. Ironically, the "simple" country folk, including his father-in-law, are wonderfully supportive of Ganesh's literary aspirations and are impressed by his first book. Unfortunately, "A Hundred and One Questions and Answers on the Hindu Religion" fails to sell. Ganesh must turn to a more primitive, and potentially more profitable, profession, following in his father's footsteps by becoming the village healer.
Enlisting the help of his wife, his aunt, and his friend, Ganesh performs a dramatic "healing," curing Partap (Jirni Mistry), the son of his former Port of Spain landlady of his malady. Immediately, word spreads throughout the island of Ganesh's mystical abilities. Islanders flock to the famed Mystic Masseur for his healings and for his books. He becomes famous among his people for his great knowledge and wins devoted followers, including Partap, who, as he matures, decides to follow in Ganesh's scholarly footsteps.
Heady with success, Ganesh turns his attention to local politics, believing he can help the Indian community in Trinidad. But his voice, so large and resonant on the page, is ineffective in the political arena. ill-equipped to live with British colonialism or to fight it, Ganesh retires to the world where he is most at home, the world of books, knowledge, and dreams.
Indo-American Arts Council, Inc · 118E 25th Street,
Third Floor, New York, NY 10010 · (212)529 2347
fax:(212) 477 4106 · e-mail: Aroon@iaac.us