A Death in the Gunj

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A Death In The Gunj
ADeathintheGunj.jpg
Directed by Konkona Sen Sharma
Produced by Ashish Bhatnagar
Vijay Kumar Swami
Raagii Bhatnagar
Honey Trehan
Abhishek Chaubey
Neil Patel (co-producer)
Screenplay by Konkona Sen Sharma
Disha Rindani
Story by Mukul Sharma
Starring Vikrant Massey
Kalki Koechlin
Ranvir Shorey
Tillotama Shome
Gulshan Devaiah
Jim Sarbh
Om Puri
Tanuja
Music by Sagar Desai
Cinematography Sirsha Ray
Edited by Aarif Sheikh
Manas Mittal
Production
company
MacGuffin Pictures
Studioz IDrream
Moh Maya Films (presenter)
Release date
  • September 10, 2016 (2016-09-10) (Toronto)
  • June 2, 2017 (2017-06-02)
Running time
107 minutes
Country India
Language English
Hindi
Bengali
Box office 10 million

A Death In The Gunj is a 2016 Indian drama written and directed by Konkona Sen Sharma.[1][2] It features an ensemble cast of Vikrant Massey, Tillotama Shome, Om Puri, Tanuja, Gulshan Devaiah, Kalki Koechlin, Jim Sarbh and Ranvir Shorey.[3] Produced by Ashish Bhatnagar, Vijay Kumar Swami, Raagii Bhatnagar, Abhishek Chaubey, and Honey Trehan under the banners of Studioz IDrream and MacGuffin Pictures, it is Sen Sharma's directorial debut feature.[4][5][6] Principal photography began in February 2016 and was completed in March 2016 after a six-week shoot.[7] The film released on 2 June 2017 The film got eight nominations at the 63rd Filmfare Awards, including Best Film (Critics), Best Actor (Critics) for Massey, Best Supporting Actress for Tillotama Shome and won Filmfare Award for Best Debut Director for Konkona Sen Sharma.

Plot[edit]

In McCluskiegunj, an old Anglo-Indian town outside of Ranchi, in 1979, two men, Nandu and Brian, stare at a dead body inside the trunk of their car. They discuss what to do with it. The film then flashes back to one week earlier.

Nandu, his wife, Bonnie, their daughter, Tani, Bonnie's friend, Mimi, and his cousin, Shyamal "Shutu," arrive at Nandu's parents' house in McCluskiegunj from Calcutta. Later, Nandu's friends, Vikram and Brian, arrive. Shutu, who the movie focuses on, is shown to be extremely sensitive and gentle, which often makes him the butt of the jokes and pranks played by his family and friends. He just failed his exams and misses his father greatly, who has recently passed away. His closest companion in the family is Tani.

As the week goes by, Shutu begins to feel more and more alienated. He is injured in a game of Kabaddi by the aggressive and hot-headed, Vikram. He also becomes attracted to Mimi and the two sleep together. Shutu begins to like Mimi, but she isn't interested in him for anything besides sex, as she is attracted to Vikram. Shutu takes Mimi for a ride on the motorcycle and when they come back, they discover that Tani has run away after Shutu chose spending time with Mimi over her. Shutu is visibly upset by Tani's disappearance and feels guilty. He and Nandu go to search for her but Shutu accidentally falls into a deep ditch and Nandu leaves without him. Nandu arrives home and sees that Vikram had found Tani safe and sound. The whole family is relieved and for a long time no one notices that Shutu is missing. The servant eventually finds him but Shutu is upset that no one was worried about him. Tani also refuses to talk to him which upsets him further.

The following day Shutu buys a train ticket for home. He tells Mimi that he will be back in Calcutta soon and will surely meet her. She brushes him off and rudely tells him that he should concentrate on his studies. Shutu goes outside where he sees everyone happy in each other's company. O.P., Nandu's father, shows him the proper way to shoot a rifle while Shutu watches Mimi flirt with Vikram and everyone else looking happy. Feeling invisible, unwanted, and unloved, after a week of quiet unraveling, Shutu forcefully takes the rifle from O.P. and kills himself.

The movie ends with the beginning scene in which Nandu and Brian drive away with the dead body.

Cast[edit]

Koechlin and Devaiah have important roles in the film.
  • Vikrant Massey as Shyamal Chatterjee (Shutu)
  • Ranvir Shorey as Vikramjit Chaudhary
  • Kalki Koechlin as Mitali (Mimi)
  • Tillotama Shome as Bonnie Bakshi
  • Gulshan Devaiah as Nandan Bakshi (Nandu)
  • Tanuja as Anupama Bakshi, Nandu's mother
  • Om Puri as O.P Bakshi, Nandu's father
  • Jim Sarbh as Brian McKenzie
  • Arya Sharma as Tania Bakshi, Nandu's daughter (Tani)
  • Aparna Sen as Shutu's mother
  • Virginia Vacho as Mrs Curney
  • Canteen Majid as Mr Curney
  • Promila Pradhan as Purnima Chaudhary, Vikram's wife
  • Ashok Pathak as Mania, Bakshi's servant
  • Saraswati Devi Vishwakarma as Manjari, Bakshi's maid servant
  • Shimanti Kumari as Manjari's friend
  • Chandram Bhagat as Maniya's friend
  • Nina Sharma as Mrs McKenzie
  • Kitty Texeira as Kitty
  • Uttam Mishra as Post Office clerk

Soundtrack[edit]

A Death in the Gunj
Soundtrack album by Sagar Desai
Released 9 February 2018 (2018-February-09)[8]
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 28:36
Label Sony Music India

The background score is given by Sagar Desai. The soundtrack which includes three folk songs was released by Sony Music.

Track listing
No.TitleSinger(s)Length
1."Into the Gunj" 2:42
2."Toothe Gachhe Bhoot Nache (Traditional)"Simanthi Kumari & Chandram Bhagat2:06
3."Jiri Jiri"Promila Pradhan3:55
4."The Sweater" 1:31
5."Planchette" 1:09
6."Shutu Mimi" 2:21
7."Raiyo Raiyo"Simanthi Kumari0:42
8."Kabaddi" 1:44
9."Shutu's Pain" 1:56
10."Shutu's Dilemma and the Sister's Letter" 1:55
11."A Death in the Gunj" 7:09
12."Toothe Gachhe Bhoot Nache"Simanthi Kumari1:26

Release[edit]

A Death in the Gunj was launched by Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj at a press conference on 13 January 2016.[9] The film's World premiere took place at the 21st annual 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on 10 September 2016. Its Asian premiere was held at the 21st Busan International Film Festival on 7 October 2016. It was chosen as the Opening Film for the 18th Mumbai Film Festival where it was screened on 21 October 2016 and where director Konkona Sensharma received the 'MasterCard Best India Female Filmmaker 2016 Award'. A Death in the Gunj also had its US premiere as the Opening Film of its 13th South Asian International Film Festival on the night of 30 November 2016.[10] The film released in Indian theatres on June 2, 2017.[11][12][13] [14]

Box office[edit]

A Death in the Gunj released in India on a meagre 100 screens and had an average opening. It collected a total of 5.2 million in its opening week. With a limited theatrical release, the film earned around 10 million during its entire run at the box-office.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator website RottenTomatoes, A Death in the Gunj has an approval score of 86% based on 7 reviews with an average rating of 6.5 out of 10.[16] Nihit Bhave of The Times of India gave the film a rating of 3.5 out of 5 and said that, "A Death In The Gunj will make you drop your jaw several times, except for the one time you'd really want it to: the climax."[17] Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 and said that, "Konkona Sen Sharma’s film is a successful experiment despite loopholes. And it is brave."[18] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV said that A Death in the Gunj is "a sensitive, profoundly moving portrait of an angst-ridden young man derailed by a world bereft of empathy." The critic gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 and concluded his review by saying that, "A Death In The Gunj is a chiselled gem of a film - as resplendent as it is sobering."[19]

Rajeev Masand gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 and said that, "A Death in the Gunj benefits from Konkona Sen Sharma’s perceptive, assured direction. It’s one of the best films of the year, and one that you’ll find hard to shake off in a hurry."[20] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave the film a rating of 3.5 out of 5 saying that, "Konkona Sensharma’s assured directorial debut, unpacks a complex sentiment with feeling, and gives us a layered film with memorable characters about the games people play, and how, sometimes, that can have terrible consequences."[21] Aseem Chhabra of Rediff gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 and said that, "A Death in the Gunj is not a happy film at all times, but it is very entertaining -- not in a loud way, but in the sense that watching it is a very satisfying experience."[22] Namrata Joshi of The Hindu said that, "Konkona Sen Sharma’s debut is a marvellously measured film, where each element of filmmaking is staggeringly synchronous with the other."[23] Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter said that "A Death in the Gunj is an assured debut feature that leaves a haunting air of melancholy in its wake."[24]

Film festivals[edit]

A Death in the Gunj opened to positive response at various film festivals. It started its' festival run by being invited to screen at 2016 Toronto International Film Festival by festival programmer and film critic, Cameron Bailey. There on, ADITG has been screened at over 30 film festivals, domestic as well as internationally. ADITG has received 7 nominations in various film festivals and received 5 awards.[25]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Date of Ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
2016 18th Jio MAMI Film Festival MasterCard Best Indian (Female) Konkona Sen Sharma Won
2017 New York Indian Film Festival Best Director Konkona Sen Sharma Won
Best Film A Death In The Gunj Nominated
Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival Best Fiction Film A Death In The Gunj Won
Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Best Director Konkona Sen Sharma Nominated
Best Indie Film A Death In The Gunj Nominated
Caleidoscope Indian Film Festival Best Performance by a Male Actor Vikrant Massey Won
Ranvir Shorey Nominated
Best Performance by a Female Actor Kalki Koechlin Nominated
Best Audience Choice A Death In The Gunj Won
Best Director Konkona Sen Sharma Nominated
Best Feature Film A Death In The Gunj Nominated
Best Technical Excellence A Death In The Gunj Nominated
16 January 2018 Films of India Online Awards Best Feature Film A Death In The Gunj Won [26]
Best Direction Konkona Sen Sharma Won
Best Actor In A Leading Role Vikrant Massey Nominated
Best Actress In A Supporting Role Kalki Koechlin Nominated
Tillotama Shome Nominated
Best Performance By An Ensemble Cast A Death In The Gunj Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Disha Rindani, Konkona Sen Sharma Won
Best Background Score Sagar Desai Won
Best Cinematography Sirsha Ray Won
Best Editing Arif Sheikh & Manas Mittal Nominated
Best Sound Design Kunal Sharma Nominated
Best Production Design Siddharth Sirohi Nominated
Best Costume Design Rohit Chaturvedi Nominated
Best Make-Up & Hair Styling Kaushal D'souza, Prashant Doiphode Nominated
20 January 2018 Filmfare Awards Best Debut Director Konkona Sen Sharma Won
Best Cinematography Sirsha Ray Won
Best Costume Design Rohit Chaturvedi Won
Best Film (Critics) A Death In The Gunj Nominated [27]
Best Actor (Critics) Vikrant Massey Nominated [28]
Best Supporting Actress Tillotama Shome Nominated
Best Background Score Sagar Desai Nominated
Best Production Design Siddharth Sirohi Nominated
Best Editing Aarif Sheikh, Manas Mittal Nominated
6 March 2018 Bollywood Film Journalists Awards Best Director Konkona Sen Sharma Won [29]
Best Story (Adapted) A Death In The Gunj Won
Best Editing Aarif Sheikh, Manas Mittal Won
Best Costume Design Rohit Chaturvedi Won
20 March 2018 News18 Reel Movie Awards Best Cinematography Sirsha Ray Won [30]
Best Film A Death In The Gunj Nominated [31]
Best Director Konkona Sen Sharma Nominated
Best Actor Vikrant Massey Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ranvir Shorey Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kalki Koechlin Nominated
Tillotama Shome Nominated
Best Art / Production Design Siddharth Sirohi Nominated [32]
Best Editing Aarif Sheikh, Manas Mittal Nominated
Best Screenplay Disha Rindani, Konkona Sen Sharma Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anjuri Nayar Singh (12 Jan 2016). "Behind the camera: Tales of actors turning directors". 
  2. ^ Kamal Kaur (24 December 2015). "Kenya: Konoka Dons Her Director Hat for New Movie". 
  3. ^ IANS (3 January 2016). "Tillotama Shome, Gulshan Devaiah to play couple in Konkona Sen Sharma's directorial 'A Death In The Gunj'". 
  4. ^ "Konkona Sen Sharma: Passionate About Making a Film". 30 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Bolly-Freak (5 January 2016). "First Look: 'A Death in The Gunj' by Konkana Sen Sharma". PinkVilla. 
  6. ^ "Bollywood Celebs at Launch film 'A Death In The Gunj'". Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "It's a wrap for Konkona Sensharma's directorial debut". Deccan Chronicle. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "A Death in the Gunj (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. 
  9. ^ "Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj launch Konkana's directorial debut 'A Death in the Gunj'". 6 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Konkona's A Death in the Gunj premieres at 18th Mumbai Film Fest". Hindustan Times. 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2016-10-23. 
  11. ^ "Konkona Sen's A Death In The Gunj to release on June 2". Hindustan Times. 2017-05-13. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  12. ^ "A Death In The Gunj Movie Review: A Beautiful Tragedy". Movie Talkies. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "A Death In The Gunj movie review: Experimental, surreal and successful". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Review: Expect the Unexpected from 'A Death In The Gunj'". The Quint. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "A Death In The Gunj". Box Office India. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  16. ^ "A Death in the Gunj - 2016 - Tomatometer". Rotten Tomatoes. 6.5/10 stars
  17. ^ "A Death In The Gunj Movie Review". The Times of India. 3.5/5 stars
  18. ^ "A Death In The Gunj movie review: Konkona Sensharma makes a brilliant debut". Hindustan Times. 3/5 stars
  19. ^ "A Death In The Gunj Review: Konkona Sen Sharma Crafts A Chiselled Gem". NDTV. 4/5 stars
  20. ^ "About a Boy". Rajeev Masand. 4/5 stars
  21. ^ "A Death In The Gunj movie review: Konkana Sensharma's debut film plays to its strengths". The Indian Express. 3.5/5 stars
  22. ^ "Review: Go, watch A Death in the Gunj". Rediff. 4/5 stars
  23. ^ "A Death In The Gunj: a discordant calm". The Hindu. 
  24. ^ "A Death in the Gunj: Film Review - An imperfect but engrossing debut feature". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  25. ^ Ramasubramanian, Uma (16 February 2017). "Exclusive: When Konkona found no backers for her debut A Death in the Gunj". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  26. ^ "Winners & Nominations: 3rd FOI Online Awards, 2018". FOI Online Awards. 
  27. ^ "Critics Best Film 2017 Nominees | Filmfare Awards". filmfare.com. Retrieved 2018-01-20. 
  28. ^ "Critics Best Actor in Leading Role Male 2017 Nominees | Filmfare Awards". filmfare.com. Retrieved 2018-01-20. 
  29. ^ "List of Power Brands Bollywood Award Winners". Power Brands 360. 
  30. ^ "'Newton' & 'Mukti Bhawan' Win Big at the REEL Movie Awards". The Quint. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 
  31. ^ "Reel Movie On Screen Awards 2018 | Best Film, Actor, Actress, Director and More". News18. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 
  32. ^ "Reel Movie Behind The Scenes Awards 2018 |Best Cinematography, Sound, Art / Production Design, Editing, Music, Screenplay, Dialogues". News18. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 

External links[edit]