A Death in the Gunj

Is a beautifully crafted slow burn thriller that stands out with its distinctive style and mystery quotient.This award winning piece revolves around a death, and the question is “whose” ?

Cast- Om Puri, Tanuja, Ranvir Shorey, Tillotama Shome, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Deviah, Vikrant Massey, Jim Sarbh

Director- Konkana Sen Sharma

Screenplay – Konkana , Disha Rindani

Story by – Mukul Sharma

Plot

The story opens in 1979,in an old Anglo-Indian town called Mc.Cluskiganj,to show a dead body being received from a morgue.

Now story moves a week back.

Nandu and Bonnie(Gulshan Deviah,Tillotama Shome) come to spend a short vacation at their parents’, Bakshis(Tanuja & Om Puri), with their little daughter, friend Mimi(Kalki) and cousin Shutu(Vikrant).They are joined in their fun by Nandu’s friends Vikram and Brian(Ranvir,Jim Sarbh).

As the vacation progresses, we get a peek into their personalities and dynamics.Emotional disorder, aggressive masculinity, oppressive behaviour,jealousy, secret dalliance, flirting,possessiveness are all at play.

But what keeps plaguing our mind is the question – Who is going to die and how ?

Analysis

The best thing about the film is undoubtedly its unique narrative style. While most mysteries could be centred around who killed, this one is about who is going to be killed !

Konkana Sen brings together a story that’s deliciously gripping, has a melancholy and grey feel that takes us on the edge at times, and keeps our curiosities piqued right till the climax.

The story setting and location is wonderfully chosen and the atmospherics add to the fantastic mystifying and period feel.

Sirsha Ray’s cinematography deserves credits for the dated mysterious frames.

Aarif Sheikh and Manas Mittal as editors ensure a steady pace and  there’s not an iota of sag anywhere.

Performances

The marvellous ensemble cast is of course a delight and ace up Konkana’s sleeve.

Vikrant Massey no doubt steals the show and so deservedly got a critics award for his understated and superb portrayal as the quiet, docile and suppressed Shutu.

There is something so pleasing about watching Gulshan Devaiah and the way he delivers his characters.

Ranvir Shorey ,Tillotama Shome Kalki ,Om Puri and Tanuja are pitch perfect.

Recommendation

I was pretty late to join the bandwagon and those with a palate for such cinema and yet to watch must not miss this gem.

Score 9 on 10

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