A Death In The Gunj
Category: Feature Films | Duration: 110 min | Language: English, Bengali with English ST
This coming-of-age film, set in 1979, is about shy student Shyamal Chatterjee, known as Shutu. He uses the family trip to McCluskie Gunj, an old Anglo-Indian city, as an escape from dropping out of university.
At the beginning everything goes well, but soon it becomes clear that something bad is happening. In the following weeks the situation becomes considerably worse, until one day Shutu has a break down – only for nobody to take him seriously – and the holiday ends in a fiasco.
The recently-deceased Indian veteran actor Om Puri, known for his commercially-successful Indian, British and Hollywood films, as well as several independent productions, features in his last role as Unkle O. P. Bakshi.
The film takes places in McKluskie Gunj, the Anglo-Indian settlement that was started in the 1930s with 300 Anglo-Indian families. In the late 70s only 30 were still there, as the majority had moved to the bigger cities. Eventually the city was left to the families of the tribes who originally lived there, but the tribes, just like the diminishing group of Anglo-Indians and Adivasi-Native People before them, have difficulties integrating into the larger parts of Indian society. They seem to not truly belong anywhere in what seems to be an alien world. ‘A Death in the Gunj’ is the first film that was filmed entirely in The Gunj.
Vijay Kumar Swami