A Death In The Gunj movie review: A complex family drama with strong characters
A Death In The Gunj movie poster Photograph: (Twitter)
Konkana Sen Sharma's directorial debut is a well written story about a family and their interpersonal relationships. The cast of the film and their performances will make you a believer of their story and take you along on their family holiday.
Though the plot struggles between black and white, it does not fail to keep you hooked with a build up of suspense twith each scene.
A Death In The Gunj is set in a small place called Mccluskieganj in north India, about 60 kilometres from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, which was once home to hundreds of Anglo-Indian families.
The enchanting locales and befitting costumes directly transport the audience to the year 1979 where the English speaking clan joins their extended family to spend some quality time. You can see Sen's vision being beautifully married to Sirsa Ray's cinematography.
Cinematography of the film succeeds in depicting this picturesque town where all the action happens.
Sen's powerful directorial debut includes some stellar performances too. While late actor Om Puri and Tanujaa ( Mr and Mrs Bakshi) play the elderly couple who are joined by Nandu (Gulshan Devaih) and his wife Bonnie (Tillotama Shome), their daughter (Tani Arya), and family friends Vikram ( Ranveer Shorey), Brian (Jim Sarbh) and Mimi (Kalki Koechlin) along with their often ignored cousin Shutu (Vikrant Massey).
Konkana allowed every character enough space to evolve in the audience's mind. So even though you may feel agitated with Nandu's overly patriarchal nature and Vikram's philandering behavior that highlights the status women had in that era, you end up developing a soft corner for Shutu's character. Tilotama does justice to her role of a prim and proper wife, and Kalki is effortless in her bold depiction of Mimi.
The haunting melancholic background score does full justice and further adds to the eerie chills the director wants you to experience. And yes, going by the title, someone does die in The Gunj but the best part about the film is that it will keep you guessing till the end.
Some films have stories that follow you out of the theaters and with this film, the intricate details of each character lingers on. The film is hugely inspired by incidents from Konkana's life.