A DEATH IN THE GUNJ- AS AN ANXIOUS CALM

P.S :- Spoilers included.

THE COINAGE OF THE WORD “SEANCE” DIRECTLY COMES FROM THE FRENCH WORD FOR “SEAT”, WHICH GENERALLY IN FRENCH HAD A MEANING “TO SIT” OR TO HAVE A “SESSION”. HOWEVER IN ENGLISH THE MEANING GOT A LITTLE DEFLECTED AND CAME OUT TO BE A SESSION TO CALL UPON SPIRITS OR GHOSTS. THE MYSTERY OF THE AFTERLIFE OR THE MYSTERY BEHIND DEATH IS WIDESPREAD YET UNSOLVED.

KONKONA SEN SHARMA, USUALLY KNOWN AS AN ACTOR, UNFURLS INTO HER DIRECTORIAL DEBUT, A DEATH IN THE GUNJ IS TAKEN AND INSPIRED FROM THE STORY “A DEATH IN THE McKLAUSKIEGUNJ’ BY MUKUL SHARMA.IT IS AN UNCONVENTIONAL PIECE OF WATCH FOR ITS INTIMATE CONNECTION WITH THE HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND BEHAVIORAL TRANSITION. THE TITLE STRONGLY HOLDS A HINT OF A MURDER MYSTERY BUT AS THE STORY UNFOLDS IT RARELY STANDS UP TO IT.

THE DEATH AND WHAT LEADS TO THE CATASTROPHE IS AN UTMOST CONFUSION. KONKONA LEAVES A PERFECT EXAMPLE BEHIND IN DEALING WITH DEATH IN THE CALMEST WAY POSSIBLE. SHYAMAL OR AS HE IS COMMONLY KNOWN, SHUTU (VIKRANT MASSEY) PLAYS A SILENT PRONOUNCER OF THE DYNAMIC RAPTUROUS OF THE SITUATIONS THAT ARE PRECEDING. THE MOVIE IS FILLED WITH SYMBOLS OF DEATH. THE DEAD FATHER’S SWEATER WHICH HE PUTS ON, EMBRACES THE POSSIBILITY OF DEATH AND DISMAY ON SHUTU’S LIFE.THIS SHOWS HIS INTERNAL HE IS THE FEARFUL KID STILL TO BE A ‘MAN’, CONSTANTLY CHASED BY THE ANXIETY OF LOSS AND FAILURE. HE ACTS AS A PUNCHING BAG OF THE ENTIRE FAMILY, KEEPS ON TAKING ALL DIFFERENT COMMANDS OF DIFFERENT DEMANDS UNTIL HE DOES REVOLTS. HE IS DEFENSELESS AND VULNERABLE AND PLAYS THE PREY OF OTHERS. WE ALL MUST HAVE GONE THROUGH THAT CERTAIN PERIOD OF OUR LIVES WHERE WE HAVE FELT ALONE AND UNIMPORTANT. SHUTU IS THE BRILLIANT PORTRAYAL OF THIS, THUS BINDING HIMSELF IN THE SHACKLES OF CHILDISHLY THINGS AND INVOLVING HIMSELF IN THE ACTIVITIES OF TAANI. HE IS A SHY, INTROVERT BOY FEELING ALIENATED AND UNWELCOMED IN HIS FAMILY.

AMONG ALL THE PROMINENT ELEMENTS DEATH IS A CERTAIN AND MAJOR ONE IN THE MOVIE. THE VIEWERS ARE IN A CONSTANT ANTICIPATION OF AN EVENTUAL LOSS OF ONE OF THE CHARACTERS. INTERESTINGLY THE MOOD IS CALM AND EVEN IN THE IN MOMENTS OF AGITATION THE CALMNESS PRICKS IN AN UNEASY WAY THAT IT RENDERS THE MOOD OF EERIE.

IN THE BEGINNING WE ARE CERTAIN THAT THE DEATH HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE, AS A BODY IS BEING TRIED TO PUT IN A FOETAL POSITION. AS WE PROCEED IN THE MOOD WE WOULD NATURALLY FEEL A KIND OF AMBIANCE WHICH IS NOT SO HORRIFYING, BUT SHUTU’S OCCASIONAL PROJECTION OF HIS “OVER SENSITIVE” SIDE KEEPS US REMINDED ABOUT THE FACT THAT APART FROM BEING A TAG-ALONG IN THE VACATION HE PLAYS A MERE CARE TAKER OF THE CHILD.

KONKONA’S BRILLIANCE IS EVIDENT BY THE FACT THAT SHE DOES NOT PAY HEED UPON USING MUCH WORDS INTO AN ACTION; WHEREAS IT SHOWS THAT SUBTLE EXPRESSIONS AND PRECISED DIALOGUES HEIGHTEN THE UNDERLYING MEANING AND HELPS TO RESURFACE SUBTEXTS. MIMI (KALKI KOECHLIN) IS THE WOMAN WHO USES HER SEXUALITY AS A WEAPON BECAUSE DEEP DOWN SHE IS A VULNERABLE SOUL WHO JUST SEEKS UNDIVIDED ATTENTION AND IS NOW TORN APART BETWEEN HER INTEGRITY AND HER FORMER LOVER. AS A RESULT SHE THROWS HERSELF TO ANOTHER VULNERABLE THAT IS SHUTU, AND DECEIVES HIM BY GIVING HIM A FALSE HOPE OF A FUTURE WHICH IS NEVER TO BE THERE.

THE SÉANCE TAKES PLACE AS MERE INVOLVEMENT IN THE REMOTE RURAL STATE WHERE THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO BE ENGAGED WITH AND TURNS OUT TO BE A PRACTICAL JOKE AGAINST SHUTU. IN ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE IT IS A VITAL SYMBOL OF DEATH. SHUT IS BEING BULLIED AGAIN AND BEING TOLD THAT HE WILL BE THE ONE TO DIE FIRST.THEY KILLED AN ALREADY DOOMED SPIRIT ALL OVER AGAIN. AS A RESULT SHUTU DREAMS OF A MAN WHO KILLS HIM IN HIS SLEEP WITH A GUN, WHILE THE SCENE IS TENSED WITH A TRIBAL SONG IN THE BACKGROUND. THE SLICE OF FRUIT CAKE IS ANOTHER PORTEND TO THE DEATH. IN THE CLIMAX WHEN SHUTU FALL INSIDE THE PIT AND EVERYONE FORGETS ABOUT HIM IS SYMBOLIC OF HIS OWN PREDICAMENT. IN THE MEANWHILE THE CALMNESS CONTINUES TO BUILD UP AND THE VIEWERS ARE LEFT UNSETTLED AND ANXIOUS.

SHUTU’S SECRET IS REVEALED IN FRONT OF ALL AND HIS IMPORTANCES EBBS DOWN TO A CERTAIN POINT WHERE HE IS TOLD TO GO BACK TO HIS MOTHER. THE SHY BOY, AFRAID OF RESPONCIBILITIES AND PRESSURED BY EXPECTATIONS, GETS SHATTERED. FINALY THE TONE OF CALMNESS BREAKS WHEN SHUTU IS LET DOWN BY MIMI AND GATHERS A HORRIFYING TRANQUILITY. AFTER THE GUNSHOT, I THINK MOST OF US ARE CONFUSED WITH THE NEXT SCENE. YES, IT WAS SHUTU WHO KILLED HIMSELF TO PAINT HIS BLOOD ON THE FAMILY TREE. BUT FIGURE AT THE BACKSEAT IS THE MOST AMAZING SYMBOL WHICH HAS TO BE DECIPHERED. EVEN AFTER HIS DEATH SHUTU IS NON-EXISTING, LIKE HIS BODY HIS MEMORIES ARE ALSO TUCKED INSIDE THE TRUNK AND WILL NEVER BE OPENED AGAIN. THIS MOVIE HAS A MOTIF WHICH HAS TO BE THOUROUGHLY STUDIED AND REVISED.

AN AMAZING WORK OF ART.

Article by :- Srobona Choudhury.

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