Konkana Sen Sharma makes her directorial debut as writer-director for ‘A Death In The Gunj.’ The film is based on a short story that Sharma’s father Mukul Sharma wrote, which in turn was influenced by true events.
Cast: Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Late Om Puri, Jim Sarbh, Arya Sharma.
Director: Konkana Sen Sharma
Genre: Thriller Drama
Story: The story is set in the town of McCluskiegunj during the winter of 1979. A sense of mystery and deep melancholy surrounds the place. The film opens with Nandu (Devaiah) and Brian (Jim Sarbh) discussing how will ‘the body’ be carried all the way to Calcutta. Cut to a flashback of events that unravelled a week ago with an introduction to all the characters.
Nandu, his wife Bonnie (Tilottama Shome), their daughter Tani and cousin Shutu (Vikrant Massey) along with Bonnie’s friend Mimi (Kalki) travel to McCluskiegunj to bring in the New Year. They are joined by the newly married Vikram (Shorey) and Brian.
Shutu, who recently lost his father, appears to be deeply scarred, going through deep turmoil within and is constantly bullied by people in the group. He finds solace in the company of Tani, the little girl.
Vikram is seen in an extramarital affair with Mimi who is shattered because he married another woman. Shutu is caught between them and misunderstands Mimi’s physical needs as affection.
What initially started as a leisure trip, ends in a tragedy. The title of the film has ‘death’ in it and yet when it descends it wrecks your heart.
Performances: Vikrant Massey is the star among other extraordinary performances. The pain and hurt he portrays is so subtle yet so heartbreaking. Ranvir Shorey is incredible in his evil heartless portrayal. You want to hate him.
Direction: Konkana excels in her directorial debut. Her craft is top notch. The nuanced performances she has extracted from her actors is commendable. Shout out to the cinematographer Sirsha Ray, who translates the director’s vision and the film’s mood to perfection with the camera work. The film literally transports you to another world, be it with its impeccable styling of the characters, the visuals, everything.
Even though the film moves at its own pace and might not be everybody’s cup of tea, some of you will want to go through it all and want your heart to crushed by the unfoldings. Why? Because good cinema does that to you!