Source: Anil Mahabir, Trinidad
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 5, 2001: Ismail Merchant's latest film, THE MYSTIC MASSEUR, based on one of VS Naipaul's novels, is scheduled to be released next week in cinemas in New York. Shot in Naipaul's birthplace, Trinidad, and set among the Indo-Trinidadian community, the film traces the story of rural born Ganesh Ramsumair- from writer, to revered mystic, to colonial statesman, during the 1940's and 1950's. Ganesh (played by Aasif Mandvi), whose life offers a slice of Trinidadian history, is a character shaped by invention and ambition as much as it is by the forces of British Colonialism. After struggling to become a writer, Ganesh is finally convinced by his aged aunt that he has been given "a gift" of mystic powers which can be harnessed for profit making. It is this special "power" (which the people perceives he really has), with all its Trinidadian Hindu configurations, which allow Ganesh to become "Pundit Ganesh," then member of the Legislative Council. The Mystic Masseur is the first of Naipaul's novels that he has allowed to be adapted in film.