A Death in the Gunj is based on a short story by Mukul Sharma, which in turn was based on true events. It’s the winter of 1979. The narrative unfolds over one week of vacation in sleepy McCluskieganj. Family and friends have gathered. Old romances are rekindled, there is drinking and games and even a séance in which they try to summon passing spirits.
At the centre of the story is Shutu, a 23-year-old boy, who recently lost his father. Shutu, played by Vikrant Massey, is the type of sensitive young man. He can’t cope with the brash and selfish adults so he spends most of his time with his eight-year-old niece.
First-time director and writer Konkona Sen Sharma tells Shutu’s haunting story beautifully. She extracts super performance by an ensemble cast that includes Kalki Koechlin, Ranvir Shorey, Gulshan Devaiya, Tillotama Shome, Jim Sarbh, Tanuja and Om Puri.
The film, produced by Honey Trehan and Abhishek Chaubey, made it’s world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. It was also the opening film at the Mumbai Film Festival later that yeat. It got a theatrical release in India in 2017. Konkona Sen Sharma was awarded the best debut director at the Filmfare Awards.