Story

Banaras is a love story between star-crossed lovers: high caste Shwetamberi, (Urmilla Matondker) and low caste Soham (Ashmit Patel) who was abandoned as a baby, and brought up by a street sweeper. Because Soham's heritage is unknown he lives his life as a low caste. He is helped as a boy and later as a young man by spiritual guide Babaji (Naseeruddin Shah), who had in fact died two hundred years ago, but comes back to life to guide Soham.

Soham grows into a very handsome, devout young man and when he meets the beautiful Shwetamberi, only child of wealthy Brahmin parents, Gayatri (Dimple Kapadia) and Mahandranath (Raj Babbar), he is instantly attracted to her. Shwetamberi is over protected by her parents.

Soham is a talented musician and applies for a job as music teacher at Shwetamberi's College. At first he is hopeful of being appointed, but his low status denies him the opportunity. Shwetamberi persuades her father to use his influence to appoint Soham. The two young people fall in love but their relationship is doomed as Gayatri is determined her daughter won’t marry a low caste man.

Themes

Spiritualism; star-crossed lovers

Violence

  • A girl is shown lying in a pool of blood after a car accident.
  • A child is hit on the hand with a cane stick.
  • Soham is shown dead, lying on the ground.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

  • Shwetamberi becomes very distressed and emotional when Soham is killed.
  • Mahandranath gets sick and dies.
  • Gayatri becomes very emotional and remorseful of her actions and tries to drown herself in the Ganges.
  • Soham appears alive after he has apparently been killed.

From 8-13

Children in this age group could be scared or disturbed by some of the scary or violent scenes.

Over 13

Most children in this age group would probably not be disturbed by this movie.

Sexual references

None

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Product placement

None

Coarse language

This movie contains occasional mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

This Bollywood movie is complete with melodrama, singing, dancing, colour, splendour and mysticism. The main messages from this movie are that people ‘reap what they sow’, and that bad deeds will result in guilt and remorse whereas good deeds are ultimately rewarded.

You could talk to your child about some of the values depicted in this movie such as forgiveness and tolerance, and also discuss issues of caste segregation, and the consequences of using violence as a way to solve conflict.