The Mystic Masseur

The Mystic Masseur is a 2001 Merchant Ivory film based on the novel of the same name by V. S. Naipaul. It is one of relatively few films directed by Ismail Merchant, who is better known as the producer in the Merchant Ivory partnership, and addresses issues of Hindu subculture in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Mystic Masseur
Directed byIsmail Merchant
Produced byNayeem Hafizka and Richard Hawley
Written byCaryl Phillips (based on the novel by V. S. Naipaul)
StarringOm Puri
Aasif Mandvi
Ayesha Dharker
Rajendra D.
Release date
  • 2001 (2001)
LanguageTrinidadian English

The movie was the first film adaptation of a novel by Naipaul. It was filmed in Trinidad and Tobago and was released in 2001, to lukewarm response. The screenplay is by Caryl Phillips. The film features performances by Om Puri and Aasif Mandvi, and original music by Zakir Hussain.


The novel by V. S. Naipaul moves between farce and acerbic social commentary on Trinidad, the country of his birth. The characters are mainly members of Trinidad's Indian community. The protagonist is Ganesh Ramsumair, a frustrated writer who rises from poverty on the back of his dubious talent as a "mystic" masseur, known as Pundit Ganesh, who can cure illnesses. In the end he becomes a successful colonial politician, under the name G. Ramsay Muir.


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