A Death In The Gunj
In McCluskieganj, an old Anglo-Indian town in 1979, two men, Nandu and Brian, stare at a dead body inside the trunk of their car. They discuss what to do with it. They then drive away from front of a morgue.The film then flashes back to one week earlier. Nandu, his wife, Bonnie, their daughter, Tani, Bonnie’s friend, Mimi, and his cousin, Shyamal “Shutu,” arrive at Nandu’s parents’ house in McCluskiegunj from Calcutta. Later, Nandu’s friends, Vikram and Brian, arrive. Shutu, who the movie focuses on, is shown to be extremely sensitive and gentle, which often makes him the butt of the jokes and pranks played by his family and friends. He just failed his exams and misses his father greatly, who had died when Shutu was seven. His closest companion in the family is Tani.
As the week goes by, Shutu begins to feel more and more alienated. He is injured in a game of Kabaddi by the aggressive and hot-headed Vikram. He also becomes attracted to Mimi and the two sleep together. Shutu begins to like Mimi, but she isn’t interested in him for anything besides sex, as she is attracted to Vikram. Shutu takes Mimi for a ride on the motorcycle and when they come back, they discover that Tani has run away after Shutu chose spending time with Mimi over her. Shutu is visibly upset by Tani’s disappearance and feels guilty. He and Nandu go to search for her but Shutu accidentally falls into a deep ditch and Nandu leaves without him. Nandu arrives home and sees that Vikram had found Tani safe and sound. The whole family is relieved and for a long time no one notices that Shutu is missing. The servant eventually finds him but Shutu is upset that no one was worried about him. Tani also refuses to talk to him which upsets him further.
The following day Shutu buys a train ticket for home. He tells Mimi that he will be back in Calcutta soon and will surely meet her. She brushes him off and rudely tells him that he should concentrate on his studies. Shutu goes outside where he sees everyone happy in each other’s company. O.P., Nandu’s father, shows him the proper way to shoot a rifle with his very old and rustic rifle while Shutu watches Mimi flirt with Vikram and everyone else looking happy. Feeling invisible, unwanted, and unloved, after a week of quiet unraveling, Shutu forcefully takes the rifle from O.P. and tries to kills himself. It seems as if Shutu has killed himself, however later we see Shutu, Nandu and Brian going somewhere in a car, which could mean the gun misfired and killed someone else (either Vikram or the Servant). However, the director clarifies in an interview that Shutu did kill himself, and that his presence in the backseat is “a ghost or an emotional presence or a memory”.
The movie ends with the beginning scene in which Nandu and Brian drive away with Shutu’s dead body in the trunk and the ghost of Shutu in the backseat. The closing credits show the road behind the moving car from this ghost’s perspective.