A Death in the Gunj
Plano: August 31st 2017 @ 7:15 - 10:00 pm
India / 2017 / 110 minutes / Hindi and Bengali with English subtitles
Set in 1979, A Death in the Gunj is a coming of age story, about a shy student Shyamal Chatterjee. He uses a family road trip to McCluskiegunj, an old Anglo-Indian town, as an escape from his failed semester. At the outset, the makings of a perfect family holiday are in place but something is amiss. In the week that follows, Shutu's quiet unraveling is overlooked by the family revellers, until the holiday ends with an implosion.
August 31st 2017 @ 7:15 - 10:00 pm
Angelika Film Center - Plano, TX
7205 Bishop Rd, Plano, Texas 75024
Konkona Sensharma is an award-winning actor from India. A Death in the Gunj is her first feature film as writer and director. She is the daughter of Aparna Sen, an award winning filmmaker herself, and granddaughter of Chidananda Dasgupta, a film historian and critic and one of the co-founders of the Calcutta Film Society along with Satyajit Ray.
Beginning her acting career at the age of 4, Konkona has acted in over 40 films in Hindi, Bengali and English. She has been felicitated with two National Awards and several industry awards.
Konkona Sensharma debuted as a director in 2006 at the Kala Ghoda Film Festival in Mumbai in 2006 with her short film ‘Naamkoron’ The script for A Death in the Gunj was one of the 9 scripts shortlisted by the National Film Development Corporation of India, for their Script Lab and was mentored by Marten Rabarts. ( Creative director.)Konkona was invited to be part of the jury at the Barcelona Film Festival in 2006. In 2013, she also served on the jury of the 15th Mumbai Film Festival. At the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture in Melbourne, Konkona gave a lecture on Arthouse vs. Mainstream. The lecture was organised in partnership with the Indian Film Festival (2014).
McCluskiegunj has always been a magical place for me. It is an isolated, sleepy town where we used to visit my grandparents in my childhood. It is a place where many stories were born, one such story is the birth of the Gunj.
The Anglo Indian community, most of whom never felt that they belonged in either India or England, were forever in search of home or ‘muluk’. That was how McCluskiegunj took birth with 300 Anglo Indian families in 1933. This Utopia began to fade soon after Indian Independence and by the late 70s, most of them had left in search of better economic prospects, leaving the town to its original tribal
While these two marginalized groups, the Anglo Indians and Adivasis, struggled to integrate with mainland India, Shutu, our protagonist too, finds himself increasingly alienated from his own world. The search for home and identity is reflected in Shutu who struggles to fit in and belong. This is the story of what happens when he doesn’t.
Perhaps it was an attempt to recreate for myself my childhood and my parent’s youth that made me set the film in 1979. Most of my crew were either not born then or too young to remember very much! Our main challenge during pre-production therefore was to re-create a forgotten era. My Cinematographer Sirsha Ray, Production Designer Siddharth Sirohi and I felt it was imperative that we shoot on real location. Even though no other films had been shot there and the infrastructure was so poor, the local residents made everything possible. On our recces, they opened up their hearts and homes to us. Soon we were taking copious notes and pictures and even carting off their furniture to dress our set! Thanks to them, our wonderful cast, Music Director Sagar Desai and the whole team, we were able to create an authentic time and place to tell our story.
Vikrant Massey as Shutu,
Ranvir Shorey as Vikram,
Kalki Koechlin as Mimi,
Tillotama Shome as Bonnie,
Gulshan Devaiah as Nandu,
Jim Sarbh as Brian,
Tanuja Mukherjee as Anupama,
Om Puri as OP Bakshi,
& Arya Sharma as Tani
Ashish Bhatnagar - Studioz IDrream
Raagii Bhatnagar - Studioz IDrream
Vijay Kumar R Swami - Studioz IDrream
Honey Trehan – MacGuffin Pictures
Abhishek Chaubey – MacGuffin Pictures
DOP - Sirsha Ray
Editors - Aarif Sheikh and Manas Mittal
Costume Designer - Rohit Chaturvedi
Sound Designer - Kunal Sharma
Production Design - Siddharth Sirohi
Music Composer - Sagar Desai
Director - Konkona Sensharma
Screenplay - Konkona Sensharma
Additional Screenplay - Disha Rindani
Script Supervisor - Disha Rindani
Adapted from – Mukul Sharma
FILM FESTIVALS ATTENDED
World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2016
Asian Premiere at Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) 2016
Indian Premiere and Opening Film at Mumbai Film Festival, MAMI
US Premiere and Opening Film at South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) 2016
Official Selection at International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) 2016
Director Konkona Sensharma received the 'MasterCard Best India
Female Filmmaker 2016 Award' at the 18th Mumbai Film Festival, MAMI.