CINÉMONDAYS WITH HARDIK
Dir. Konkana Sen Sharma
Winter of 1978, Shutu comes to McCluskieganj with his relatives and family friends. Their house in McCluskieganj stands somewhere in the middle of nowhere. One night after a bit of drinking, all youngsters, Shutu’s cousins play a prank on him. A séance ensues. His reticent nature is tested. The cousins do not stop––they are having a careless fun. As is promised in the title, someone dies.
A Death in the Gunj marks Bollywood actress Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial and writing (along with Disha Rindani) debut, and how! (Brava!) The details, the personality, the engagement… only towards the conclusion it occurred to me, “someone dies.” Whistles for that.
Shutu, whom we recognize as living in us, has stayed with Konkana all her life. She has heard the story from her parents over and over again. A Death in the Gunj is based on that story, that story which is inspired by true events: Konkana’s parents were once vacationing with the one-and-a-half-year-old her and their friends in McCluskieganj. They all were staying at Mukul’s (Konkana’s father) house. Mukul friends were pranksters. One friend Chris Tripthorpe, however, was an introvert and hence everyone’s target. One night the friends pulled a prank on him, in way of séance. “Who’s going to die first?” one asked the spirits, Mukul moved the planchette. When the question came to the end of the table, dictating Tripthorpe’s fate, Mukul remained mum. Tripthorpe was scared, so, he ran away to his assigned bedroom. Their vacation concludes in the death from the title. Shutu is Tripthorpe. Konkana choses to make Tripthorpe her protagonist. From the story that she has heard over and over again, Tripthorpe stays with her.
Shutu stays with me.
~ Hardik Yadav