Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Indian Indie Bucket

A Death In The Gunj - Movie Review - (4/5)

A scintillating effort which sends chills down the spine!!  

A Death in the Gunj, directed by Konkana Sen Sharma, presents to you a platter of bitter and chilling moments emerging out of a family with its dark secrets. It is a film which is going to be difficult to shake off for me for days, its impact is truly indelible. 

Set in the 1970’s, we are introduced to a Bengali family travelling to their large family house in Bihar. From point one, everything seems so real--from the 70’s setup, to the language they speak, to the way they live and the clothes they wear. There are hidden attractions, jealousies and enmity which unravel slowly in a skilfully written screenplay. We are introduced to Shutu, a 23 year old lost in his life, Mimi, a free-spirited and lovestruck girl and many more such crisply written characters. 

The first half works on making you acquainted to this dysfunctional family and lets you dig deep into the lives of its protagonists. You feel so immersed in their story that you truly begin to live them. The true chills, though, are saved for the second half. Post-interval, there’s a lot more meat to offer, but the pace slackens slightly. You see the death coming from far away, but when it comes, it shakes you to the core.  

The background music is spot on. The slight Bengali touch to it, infused with Bihari tribal music and the light yet dark tunes keep you on the edge of your seat. There are occasional moments in the film that might make you grin too, but the impact of its darkness is difficult to get rid of. Full marks to the DOP and cinematographer too for creating a world which seems so genuine and immersive.

Coming to the on-screen performances, the real backbone of the film. Vikrant Massey as Shutu is no short of perfection. His portrayal truly deserves all the accolades this year. Kalki as her natural self is effective. Coming to Ranvir, Gulshan and the rest of the supporting cast, everyone give out splendid performances, probably the best of their careers.

But the true hero of the film is Konkana Sen Sharma who with her clarity of subject delivers a film, which is undoubtedly the best this year. I am going with four out of five for A Death in the Gunj. With a heavy friday with about 6 releases, this one dare not be missed!
 -Sakshay Bhatia