Five years ago, Neeraj Ghaywan‘s Masaan, about two intersecting stories of death and loss set in Varanasi, was released. One of its most heart-wrenching moments is a scene in which Deepak (Vicky Kaushal) discovers that the woman he loves is dead when her body is brought to the crematorium his family works at and he recognizes the ring on her finger. What follows is an outpouring of grief as Deepak drunkenly asks his friends why his pain won’t end. The film’s writer Varun Grover spoke about how it all came together:
“When I was writing this scene, I was very fond of it. Vicky initially had a lengthier monologue in this scene, which ended with the, ‘Saala yeh dukh kaahe khatam nahi hota?’. He doesn’t cry at that point in the script. He cries only when he throws the ring into the water in the end. Neeraj, Vicky and I had discussed this a lot. We said he’d cry only once, at the end of the movie, so that the audience would look for closure.
This changed on the day of the shoot. In this scene, he’s supposed to be sitting with his friends and drinking. Vicky doesn’t drink in real life, but on that day, he said that the scene was so intense that he wanted alcohol and that he would be able to handle himself.
He drank the alcohol and got so involved in the scene that he just started crying uncontrollably. He did the scene again and again – a three-minute-long scene got stretched to 8 mins. By chance, a train happened to pass by in the background so he turned around improvised and said, ‘Tu rail se guzarti hai’. He cried so much that almost all the people on set started crying, even those who didn’t have a big connection to the film, like the light assistant and camera assistant.
As a writer, I wasn’t sure whether this shot would be there in the film. I was under the impression that we would go with what had been written in the script. But Neeraj was sure that he would keep this shot. After the edit, it looked even better than what was written in the script.
Vicky used the script as an airstrip and flew. He made something that was completely his own, and even better. This is my favourite scene, in the script as well as in the film.”