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Konkona Sen Sharma – Directing and Acting the Text

Piu Sur

Death In The Gunj. Konkona Sen Sharma’s directing Debut won not only the hearts of the viewers but also won her an award. An ordinary story written by Mukul Sharma, her father and senior journalist, was turned into an unique cinematic experience. That she was loved by the audience as an actress and as a director was evident when Renu Roy welcomed her on stage at the Victoria Memorial Grounds.

The place was packed with the audience as they listened to her talk about her directorial adventures and about the film. Her simplicity and candid stories about her family visits to McCluskieganj made all listen in awe. The four page story written by Mukul Sharma also a senior journalist was made into a feature film that spoke about the family dynamics in a very subtle manner.

Renu Roy also remembered the times she was invited by Aparna Sen, Konkona’s mother to visit their house in McCluskieganj. In their conversation they both brought out the beauty of the quiet hilly place close to Ranchi in Jharkhand. Their recollection of the family visits kept the audience drawn to the shared moments.

According to Konkona the place had not changed even after all these years as she could recognise the buildings from the photographs and research done prior to the film. During the thread of the conversation she explained how she had wanted to make the film connect with the audiences by allowing the viewer to make the finer connections. The treatment of the film and the success of the film made many hands rise during the question answer session but there was very little time to answer them all.

When asked which character she would choose to act is given a choice she replied very quickly “shontu”. She also explained which she did not think of casting her mother in the film. Answering the questions very  intelligently she made it very clear that all throughout the development of the script she had already decided on the actors and actress who would be best for the roles she had chosen.

She spoke about the ease with which she detailed every element of filmmaking with the narrative and the town in the 70’s. The end of the film was interesting and when asked about why she ended the film the way she did, Konkona went on to explain that was what she wanted the viewers to feel. It was so clear that what it meant to bully or be bullied as she explained how she herself in her younger days was bullied. The film had made Shontu so real.

There was one thing for sure that one wanted to do after listening to both Renu Roy and Konkona Sen Sharma that day, it was to visit McCluskieganj.