A Death in the Gunj: A Haunting Tale of Masculinity and Violence
A Death in the Gunj is a 2016 Indian drama film directed by Konkona Sen Sharma, based on a story by her father Mukul Sharma. The film stars Vikrant Massey, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Ranvir Shorey and others as a group of friends and family who spend a week in a remote town in northeast India in the 1970s. The film explores the themes of patriarchy, repression, identity and trauma through the eyes of Shutu (Massey), a shy and sensitive young man who is constantly bullied and humiliated by his cousins and their friends.
The film begins with a corpse being loaded into a car trunk, setting the tone for a dark and disturbing story. As the film unfolds, we witness how Shutu is tormented for his perceived lack of masculinity: he is mocked for his hobbies of reading and drawing, he is excluded from games and activities, he is forced to participate in a fake sÃance and left alone in a forest full of wolves. He finds some solace in his bond with his niece Tani (Arya Sharma) and his affair with Mimi (Koechlin), but these relationships also prove to be fragile and fraught with complications. Shutu's mental state deteriorates as he struggles to cope with his grief over his father's death, his academic failure and his alienation from his family.
The film culminates in a tragic climax that reveals the identity of the corpse and the circumstances that led to its death. The film does not offer any easy answers or resolutions, but rather exposes the ugly consequences of toxic masculinity and violence. The film also critiques the colonial legacy and the class privilege of the characters, who are oblivious to the realities of the local people and the history of the place they are visiting. The film is a haunting portrait of a broken society and a broken individual, who are both victims and perpetrators of their own demise.The film has received critical acclaim for its direction, screenplay, cinematography, music and performances. The film won several awards, including the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards at the New York Indian Film Festival, the Best Film award at the South Asian International Film Festival, and the Best Debut Director award at the Filmfare Awards. The film also received positive reviews from international critics, such as The New Yorker, Variety and The Guardian.
The film is a rare example of a horror film that does not rely on cheap thrills or gore, but rather on psychological tension and emotional depth. The film also challenges the stereotypes and norms of Indian society, especially regarding gender roles and expectations. The film shows how Shutu's identity is shaped by his family's expectations, his own insecurities and his desire for love and acceptance. The film also exposes how violence can be normalized and justified in the name of masculinity and tradition. The film is a powerful and poignant commentary on the human condition and the consequences of oppression. ec8f644aee