Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2016 Projects

2016 Post-Production Fund

Project Hotel Salvation
Category Asian Project
Project Hotel Salvation
Director Shubhashish Bhutiani
Country India
Director's Profile Shubhashish Bhutiani grew up in a small Himalayan town in India where he attended Woodstock School. After being heavily involved in theatre he transitioned from acting to writing/directing and went to learn filmmaking with an undergraduate degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York. His thesis film, Kush (2013), had its world premiere at the 70th Venice International Film Festival where it won the Orizzonti Award for Best Short Film. Kush was shortlisted for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film and has won over 25 international awards all over the globe. Shubhashish’s first feature film Hotel Salvation was selected, and developed with the Biennale College Cinema Program and was premiered at Venice Film Festival 2016.
When a 77-year-old man, Daya, wakes up from a strange nightmare, he knows his time is up and he must get to Varanasi immediately in the hope of dying there to attain salvation. His dutiful son, Rajiv, is left with no choice but to drop everything and make the journey with his stubborn father, leaving behind his wife and daughter. The two of them check into Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation), a hotel devoted to people hoping to spend their last days there. Rajiv finds himself having to live and take care of his father for the first time in his life. While Rajiv struggles to juggle his responsibilities back home, Daya starts to bloom as he finds a sense of community in the hotel, and a companion in the 75-year-old Vimla. As the days go by and Daya shows no sign of letting up, Rajiv is faced with the dilemma of whether to remain there with his father or fulfill his duty back home.
Director's Note
The moment I heard about these hotels in Varanasi, I knew I had to go see them for myself to be able to believe it. I did not know what to expect in a place where people check themselves in to die. Surprisingly these hotels were all so unassuming - all a part of the city, tucked away in a lane, sometimes very hard to find with each having their own set of rules, that operated like a world in itself. But the real surprise, however, lay in my conversations with the guests and the stories of the people who live there. One such story about a son who had to bring his father there for his last days made me stop looking at Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation) as concept, but a place shaped by the relationships of the people who live in it. While this could have been a film about any of the guests at the hotel, Hotel Salvation is about the impact of this place on one particular family. It explores this idea of liberation and what that means to the three different generations, beginning with the patriarch. Ironically, Hotel Salvation isn’t a story of death, but of life and relationships that make us who we are, in a city that sometimes sees death as part of its fabric and sometimes as a celebration.
Still Cut