Focus: A Death In The Gunj.

SPOILER ALERT (Almost).Was lucky to catch this film on IFFK 2016. Had high hopes to see an Indie after seeing the trailer that released for TIFF. But the movie was more than what i asked for, starting as a slice of life family reunion set in 1979 the movie touches genres such as drama, comedy, horror,romance and mystery in it’s 105 minute run time. The ending creeps into you and after it’s hangover i thought more about it and felt it was worth an analysis. Waited for the official release but unfortunately it didn’t have one in my city.  Anyway decided to do one from whatever i still remember. Especially after noticing the production company’s name . Macguffin Picture. Macguffin- an object or device in a film or a book which serves merely as a trigger for the plot. From the first frame the movie flings Macguffins, puzzling you with the story’s direction and drum rolling to the final crack-up.

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The movie focuses on a vacation in a picturesque McCluskiegunj .  The cold weather and dense forrest gives you warmth in the day and grows eerie at night. The contrast it depicts reflects on the characters.

We explore the characters and location through Shutu who is a newbie to the place. He is still dwelling in his dad’s demise which affects him academically and mentally. His dismay to let go off his dad is reflected through the moth’s corpse that he preserves . The death taking over the notebook (a visual metaphor for the death affecting his education).

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He tries to act normal and to fit into the gang, he wants to grow up, leave the adolescence and becoming a man for himself and the people around him, especially after the night when they try to call the spirits.

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But he keeps standing out as a misfit  among the gang and the only solace  he finds is with Tani . We as audience can feel that he is safe with this little girl than he is with the grown-ups.

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He is split between his want to grow and his innocence.

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A kabadi game in which he is picked last as they underestimate his potential,  Shutu reveals his true potential surprising the gang but the match turns into a duel as the male ego of Shutu and Vikram face each other.

Shutu is scarred and we never see him going back to his delicate self.

He acquires a new path as his romance with Mimi sparks for a brief period and this completely pulls him away from Tani and his innocence. But Mimi is just using him in a way just like Bonnie and Nandu using him like a babysitter and Vikram using him for occasional laughs.

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Soon Tani goes missing and as they move around to find her, Shutu gets trapped in a pit( made to trap fox). Tani is found but Shutu stays there helpless. A metaphor for getting trapped in his virility. As he stays there a fox come by. They share a moment staring into each other’s eyes and it leaves.(Does the fox connect with him?) He is latter found by the servant.

The movie takes a distress turn from here and the tension increases.

CHEKHOV’S GUN

“If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” From Gurlyand’s Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov.

We are shown the gun in the beginning and different instances of the film.

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No attention is called to it but as said by Chekhov the gun gains importance in the end and completes the movie.

It’s been six months and the movie still linker in me. An Exalted Directorial Debut. Kudos Konkona sen sharma.

 

 

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