A Death In The Gunj (2016) l Dir: Konkona Sensharma l Hindi/English/Bengali l IMDb : 7.5/10 . Director Konkona Sensharma presents a fine multi-layered narrative which is very intriguing to say the least. Its a story of all-pervading power dynamics present beneath inter-personal relationships which is even more disturbing considering the the film is set amidst a set of closely-knit family relatives. Though the focal point of the story is the plight of mentally disturbed boy named Shutu who is marginalized and abused by his own relatives, the other characters also have their own stories of neglect and victimization. The boundary between the hunter and the victim is a very thin and overlapping one and it does not take long for a victim to become an abuser and vice versa. This is best reflected in the scene where Shutu and the little girl, the two weakest and most sensitive of the lot, themselves kill an insect in the garden. The film explores the primitive instinct of powerful dominating the weak--an instinct which does not spare even the most educated, liberal of households. Also the film has significant exploration into the question of life and death. Shutu has certain ideals, is both reverent and afraid of spirits and is reluctant to participate in seance sessions for the fear of causing pain to the departed spirits. May be because he has encountered death (that of his father) and the memory is too raw to engage in any sports on death. In the graveyard scene, Mimi forces Shutu to eat a cake which is left over by a mourner at the tomb of her beloved. Shutu is torn between his attraction to Mimi and the violation of his ideals. Shutu is unfashionable and superstitious. But the film questions such easy assumption of standard and is an exploration of the conflict between rationality and emotional sensitivity, between science and faith, between natural and supernatural. Its hard to be completely satisfied by a movie experience nowadays but A Death in the Gunj is one
Dear Shutu, You were so beautiful. Like a flower or an old gun. With you, sensitivity died. But I had to write this letter, had to tell you that I've never loved a character as much as i loved you. You left me heartbroken and death was only a small part of the reason behind it. Shutu, men like you are rare. Like meteor showers. Or orange lillies. Men who are too soft for the hardened shell of the world. Men who hug their boyhood a little too close on cold nights. Men who are like rain, always falling. Tripping over sentences and small talks. Men who are not part of the puzzle. Men who never fit. Men who are beautiful. Almost as much as women. Grief is a wonderous thing, isn't it Shutu? It renders you speechless at the most unexpected moments. It doesn't matter if a month has passed by or a century. For me, it's been four years. I still wear her Dupatta whenever i want her smell to surround me. Was there any scent left in that sweater? Could you feel your father? I can't anymore. You were born in a world that badgers boyhood out of Gulliver's travels. That gives love a false name — hope. And then snatches it away. Because what world is fair Shutu, even you left tani alone in the end, didn't you? Tani too, grew up before her time. ( continued in comments, stills from A Death In The Gunj)
"I've always admired Konkona Sen Sharma as an actor but after watching A Death In The Gunj, I can't help but admire her film-making skills. A Death In The Gunj was like a breath of fresh air when I started watching it. And it left me with a shattered heart. I've seen very few filmmakers who can propound humanistic elements in their movies, Satyajit Ray being one of them, and I am definitely not comparing here but the portrayal of human nature by Konkona Sen in this film very much gave me the kind of vibes I get while watching Ray's cinema. A Death In The Gunj tells a story about many things, many people, but primarily about Shuttu. A 23- year old, gentle, soft-spoken boy who can hardly fit in the group of adults in the family, and probably doesn't want to fit in. He spends most his time with his 8-year old niece and enjoys himself. He often gets invited by the adults to join them and their gatherings, only to find himself being bullied and made fun of. The adults aren't showed as evil people, they are us, they are careless, selfish. They never consider their harsh words and casual cruelties towards Shuttu. They never look back at their careless deeds, 'fun' is what they describe it. All of these events leading up to a tragic death, the death of innocence. A Death In The Gunj really made me question myself. What if this is the case with me too? Maybe what I consider just casual fun, is not just 'fun' to some people. Whenever i make fun of anybody, I ask myself, is it really 'fun' for both of us? Or is it just fun for me and an insult for the other person? After watching this film, I remain more cautious towards my actions. You never know what the person sitting beside you is going through, and your one joke may scar that person for the entire day." @actorsahab shares his #cinemastory on A Death in the Gunj, 2016. #humansofcinema#adeathinthegunj . . . @konkona @vikrantmassey87 @kalkikanmani @ranvirshorey @gulshandevaiah78
Movie of the week: A Death In the Gunj (2016) What does it take to be a man? To know how to drive a car, having big muscles, being not emotional and sensitive towards people... And is there a way a man should love a woman? How do you know a man in manly enough? These are some questions the film asks through 'Shuttu' (a shy and sensitive university student -- brilliantly played by Vikrant Massey) who learns there is a heavy price to pay for being a gentleman. Shuttu collects dead moths, finds comforts in playing with her 6-year-old niece and drawing dreamy figures in his diary. Everyone in the family wants him to be more responsible like a man, which he already is. This directorial debut by Konkona Sen is set in peak winters of McCluskiegunj, beautifully shot, each and every frame is a painted canvas with the perfect background music, and the calmness it holds makes A Death in the Gunj a masterpiece. Available on Amazon prime video. @amazonprimevideo @adeathinthegunj @konkona @vikrantmassey87 #adeathinthegunj#movieoftheday#movieoftheweek
1979 is fast approaching. What looks like a happy peaceful family reunion at McCluskiegunj in Jharkhand (Bihar back then) leads to severe complications and a death. A group of upper crust city slickers come to a bucolic haven in north India with its share of tribals is reminiscent of Satyajit Ray’s #aranyerdinratri. Amidst the six day revelry slowly masks fall and toxic masculinity and deep seated patriarchy “boys will be boys” rear their ugly head. I was also often reminded of Aparna Sen’s 36 Chowringhee Lane when the Anglo Indian characters are introduced in the bakery and later in the characters of Jim Sarbh’s mother and maid. At the heart of it all is the severely depressed Shutu who’s unable to conquer the demons of his mind, still grieving his father’s death and his abject failure at college. He’d rather be reading gulliver’s travels, isolating himself from toxic adults and bonding with nature and the eight year old Tani. @vikrantmassey87 plays Shutu with such heartbreaking sincerity and underplays the role and gives it depth and melancholy. He’s so lovely that @kalkikanmani remarks “you could have been a girl.” The moody ambience lit up by Sirsa Ray and debutant director konkona sen Sharma’s assured flair, ensures #adeathinthegunj stays with you long after the films credits have rolled. Expert cameos from the ensemble cast include the ever wonderful Tanuja( watch her tender moments with Shutu and then getting tetchy with the staff) , the feisty alpha male Ranveer Shorey, the subtle @tillotamashome and @gulshandevaiah78 who plays his character with the right amount of emotional ambiguity ( be it his teaching Shutu how to drive scene or his edgy reaction to his wife in the climax) The allusions to death are many and with an economy of expression in the screenplay, @konkona masterfully builds up dread and foreboding. Aided by a supple background score, wonderful production design and retro costumes. The end is filled with aching
Somehow I never had the confidence to share this picture. I really don't know why, but I didn't. And as this beautiful journey comes a full circle, I wish to share this picture from the sets of #adeathinthegunj with my head held high and much gratitude for all the support, wishes and blessings that have been pouring in over the last couple of days. These truly are the best days of my life. Thank you once again for everything I have, and if I could plug in (An actor after all), please try catching A Death In The Gunj at a theatre near you. #shukr 🙏🏽❤️
@konkona’s directorial debut #adeathinthegunj made me quickly want to revisit her mother #aparnasen’s debut film as director too. Mrs violet stoneham will always be one of the most memorable characters aparna sen wrote. In my estimation #36chowringheelane is still Sen's best work. Jennifer Kendal inhabited the role of Mrs Stoneham an ageing spinster who despite being excellent at teaching English finds her superceded by less worthier colleagues and from Shakespeare she's reduced to teaching English grammar. A young beautiful couple debashree roy and dhritiman chatterjee befriend her and "use" her home for their stolen moments of passion. After marriage they move away and on Christmas night when Mrs Stoneham wants to meet them they make some tardy excuse. That's when she feels unwanted and moves alone into the tender silent night quoting King Lear. Pain and loneliness has been exquisitely captured by Sen. Jennifer's heartachingly tender performance is one of the landmarks of Indian cinema and every time I watch chowringhee I'm moved immeasurably by her. Ashok Mehta’s moody lighting, vanraj Bhatia's score and Bansi Chandragupta's set designs embellish the elegiac mood of the film. The gentle asides where she bargains and buys fish, feeding her cat sir Toby and visiting her cantankerous brother in the infirmary are genius touches. #36chowringheelane is my go to movie. A reminder that old age while it can be cruel teaches you to be stoic and resilient. And more importantly empathise with those around us who grow old. We will all be fond and foolish old men some day. Chowringhee is a gentle reminder not to mock us then.
@konkona’s directorial debut #adeathinthegunj (2017) was praised by many as an assured debut feature and applauded for its nuance. The film is the story of a sensitive young man named Shutu, whose family subjects him to careless cruelties and slights. Sensharma’s cast, including @vikrantmassey87 in the centre, and #kalkikoechlin, #ompuri, #ranvirshorey and #tillotamashome, brought to life this story, which was originally written by Sensharma’s father Mukul Sharma. @rahulnoless wrote, “Sen Sharma has fashioned a sharply observed, slow burning, well-acted and strangely affecting film about…one week in McCluskieganj.”
Dear Shutu, It's been quite a long time since I got to meet you. Your story is different from many boys of your age, but relatable to quite some. The messy hair, melancholically beautiful face, gloomy eyes twinkling with a faint hope and lips which often failed to remember how to shape a smile painted a picture of a soul trapped in a body tired of getting left out and often forgotten by his own family. The air of McCluskieganj, Tani's innocent company and the smell of your dead father's sweater gave you a spell of relief from the harsh environs but at the end, they also proved futile. You were left amidst darkness, despair, tears and sadness. Being different and introverted is tough. Not only your closed ones failed to accept you as one of them but also added to your misery. You had always lend a helping hand in their hour of trouble, obeyed them and respected them. But what did you end up with? Nothing more than being a subject to their tortures and pranks. I felt you. The relationship with Mimi proved to be one sided. It shattered you. Tani was too small to understand and thought you left her company. Your world turned upside down when you went to search her along with Nandu only to be left alone in a pothole, at the mercy of a wild beast. You couldn't differentiate what was more nightmarish: your family or that encounter. You were depressed. You were guilt ridden. You can't take this anymore. The shot from the rifle echoed in the air. The blood stains adorned the trunk of the tree, to an extent the faces of those who taunted you were smeared with blood which could never be washed out. Your name was engraved forever, in bold red. I still get goosebumps when I look at your bloodied young, grief striken face at the back seat of the car. Was that your exhausted self or your worn out soul? I still wonder. If only a hug could bring you back to life again. If only some kind words could nullify all the pain you bore all through... ( Cont. in comments )
A Death in the Gunj (2016) | English/Hindi/Bengali | Konkona Sen Sharma . Konkona, who is a brilliant actress, proved her mettle as a director as well in her debut venture. This is a movie that takes you to a simple setting of a family vacation and takes a dark turn as the story builds up, and has a terrific ensemble cast of few of the finest actors in the industry. It reminds us how important our behaviour with our close ones is, and how their mental health often depends to some extent on how we treat them. I am so glad this movie won many awards even the ones which often ignore critically acclaimed but non-mainstream movies. . . . . #bollywood#india#indianfilms#indiancinema#adeathinthegunj#cinema#movies#films#drama#thriller#vikrantmassey#kalkikoechlin#konkonasensharma#mustwatch#bestfilms
Indian Cinema's Ray of hope @konkona ❤️ #repost @bombay.balloon (@get_repost) ・・・ "@konkona is not only a gifted writer, but over the years, she has definitely mastered her art, maybe through acting!" Read @piikkkuuuu's entire review of #adeathinthegunj by clicking on the link in our bio.
Moviegasm (5) 𝐀 𝐃𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐮𝐧𝐣: The absolutely lovely A Death in the Gunj showed us how inhumanely we treat some men who don't fit into the mold of an alpha male. It is as if they do not matter, so, they can be insulted, mocked, and bullied leading to their alienation and estrangement. Shutu, a pure soul who would not even touch a piece of cake meant for someone else, struggles to come to terms with the death of his father, trying to be a man in a society that does not understand his sensitive side. (Spolier alert) The ignominy of being forgotten—how could he face it? By leaving his mark using his blood on the family tree that carried everyone's name except his. 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗯𝗼: Placebo questions the psyche of a student’s mind. What makes him take a decision about his course of life? His motives to choose one route over the other. What drives him? And once he achieves his ultimate dream, what keeps him motivated? Or is it the end of the chase? That’s really where the film begins. Parental pressure, peer pressure, ragging, depression, mental health, isolation, suicide. __________________________________________ #photoshop#graphicdesign#digitalart#adobe#illustration#canon#artist#creative#lightroom#illustrator#movie#alphamale#mentalheath#aiims#iit#placebo#vikrantmassey#jimsarbh#kalkikoechlin#adeathinthegunj