Under the weekly film screenings, a Hindi movie, ‘Massey Sahib,’ was shown at Abhirang Auditorium, Bharat Bhavan, here on Sunday. ‘Massey Sahib’ is a 1985 Hindi film directed by Pradip Krishen, starring Raghubir Yadav and Arundhati Roy.
The film was an adaptation of Joyce Cary’s novel Mister Johnson. It has won two international acting awards. The screening received a mixed response from the viewers.The film is set in a small town in central India. Francis Massey (Raghubir Yadav) is shown as a clerk in the Deputy Commissioner’s office in the colonial administration of British India.
He also wants to be like the colonial rulers, and thinks of himself as different from his Indian compatriots. In his wish to help the rulers - in particular, his immediate superior, Deputy Commissioner Charles Adam (Barry John) — he adopts methods that are irregular. Adam’s dream project of building a road through the forest is stuck due to lack of funds. Massey manages to get it completed using a mixture of manipulation, persuasion and threats. To his surprise, he is accused of corruption by his boss whom he had meant to help, and who had condoned his earlier transgressions. His wife too is forcibly taken back by her family.
He turns for help to his friend Banaji (Veerendra Saxena) to get his wife back. Banaji refuses to help him. In an act of frustrated rage, Massey kills Banaji. He got arrested for murder, and Adam advises him to plead guilty to accidental manslaughter. However, Massey refuses, secure in the belief that his Adam Sahib will help him out, leading to the tragic denouement.