A Death In The Gunj Review: It's Captivating, Although Slightly Predictable
Everyone knows how wonderful Konkana Sen Sharma is when she's on screen. So when she decided to helm a film, we all anticipated it to be the extra ordinary. It somewhat is and not so much as well. A Death In The Gunj has been inspired from one of Sharma's father's stories. The characters have a questionable conscience and have a knack for mischief. Adulterous relationships, hurtful pranks are things they thrive on.
The film is about a Christmas vacation Bonnie ( Tillotama Shome), Nandu ( Gulshan Devaiah) take with their daughter Tani ( Arya Sharma) with cousins and friends in Mc Cluskiegunj which happens to be their parent's house. Shutu ( Vikrant Massey), Mimi ( Kalki Koechlin) and Vikram ( Ranvir Shorey) accompany them on the vacation and through their eyes we see a lot. Mimi is dissatisfied with many things and certainly wants a lot more. But her character is not sketched very well. She is the cliche Anglo-Indian you must have heard your grandparents talk about. She is every man's fantasy and that is why sometimes she is not looked at respectfully. Mrs. Batra essayed by Tanuja also makes a remark about how frivolous she is and hence not marriageable.
Shuttu essayed by Vikrant Massey is one character that has been drawn and performed brilliantly. Shuttu is a recluse and endures silently. Despair seems to be his best friend. In the scene when he is seen wearing his dead father's sweater is beautifully crafted. Massey underplays Shuttu effortlessly. There are time when you expect him to blast with fury but he doesn't and you're captivated. He takes the cake.
While Shuttu is the one who broods silently, Ranvir Shorey's portrayal of Vikram is the anti-thesis of Shuttu. He is loud, obnoxious and is bursting with male ego and testosterone. You might hate him in the film. Vikram deserves to be hated throughout as he does not have one sensitive bone in his body. He is married and has always been physically drawn to Mimi. But then again- no regrets.
The film is beautiful, it captivates you through and through but honestly the payoff is predictable. If you know how narratives work, you'll be able to crack whose death is Konkana talking about in the film. I like the film but it hasn't stayed with me. I have not thought about it after I was done watching it. With the use of many metaphors, probably the name of the film is one too as once I leave the film, it dies. It doesn't haunt me, it doesn't relive. I wanted more but having said that, Konkana here's a pat on your back for a job that someone needed to do.