#MovieReview3 : A Death in the Gunj

Last night, I scrolled on my Amazon Prime to see if there’s anything new. and Viola! I saw this movie available for streaming. I was screaming with joy, but only inside.  This is Konkana Sen Sharma’s debut directorial, and I wanted to watch it in theater. Couldn’t do since no company at home – so i made some snacks, powered my laptop, put the earphones and snuggled on sofa with a nice comforter while the movie played along.

The film is set in the town of McCluskieganjBihar (now in Jharkhand), India, during the winter of 1979. Its a small family reunion, with father,mother and daughter visiting their parents. Accompanying are the nephew, and the mother’s friend.  Also seen frequently at home are childhood friends who come to keep them company.

There’s nothing to do there – no TV, no cement.  People amuse  themselves by calling fake ghosts, playing kabaddi and dancing to bangla folk songs.  The film’s main protagonist, Shuntu is a reserved boy who is grieving his father, fails his exams and comes on vacation without informing his mother.

What follows is a display of how we treat Shuntu in the common of household situations. The mood, the music and his emotions.  There are multiple threads all woven into one into the movie.  Shuntu is there. All along. When a kid needs something to do. When people need custard. All along, people call him and get things done. The sadistic pleasure people get by making him go inside his shell –  picture perfect.

Ranveer Shorey, newly married and still in affair with Kalki.

Gulshan and Tillotama with young kid. Want to spend some time alone, without the kid. Doesn’t ask what the kid is doing, as long as they get to do what they want.

8 Year Old Girl. Not entertained by rustic village charm, needs somebody to play and talk with her.

Late Om Puri and Tanuja. Couple growing old.  Forgetting things, cannot stand each other.

The closed ones, shun Shuntu and not once we hear anyone telling his name – Shyamlal.  He is there, invisible. Konkana shows the natural degradation of his mood and how no one seems to care. Gun is visible in parts, only to make a natural entry in the climax where he shoots himself.  Kalki, Tillotama, Ranveer – everyone’s flaws are so wide visible when they are with Shuntu. It shows what as a human we are capable of doing, when the other does not revolt.  He is a brainy one, but cannot get a handle of his own life.

The climax is heart breaking. Watch it to feel it.   The background score was haunting, and Vikrant Massey –  you have a new fan.  It is hard to depict what he has shown on the screen – for 1 and half hour.   There are many minute details packed in the film – this is like an old book. Everytime I see this – I am sure to discover something I missed last.

Watch it when you have some free time afterwards. It helps to stay quiet for a while, and sip your favorite beverage and reflect on what you witnessed on the screen.

My rating :  5/5

 

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