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‘Being a visual person helped me’

Konkona Sensharma’s directorial debut film A Death In The Gunj has been travelling to many film festivals and making a mark on the global platform. The film, which hit the Indian screens last week, has impressed the audience as well. Here Gulshan Devaiah in a freewheeling chat with Rohini Nag Madnani, about the film, the director and more

On The Brief

Lots of visuals were shown and it was not like one meeting or being given a brief. We had one meeting where she explained the part to me and gave me the script. Before that, we had a meeting where we discussed the film and she wanted to show me a lot of visual references and research material. We generally discussed the time and era in which the film would be based in.

On His Role

I was a year old when this story actually happened but I could relate to it because my dad is from that era. He would have been the same age that I played in that time. So I could relate to all this on a personal level. Once I came on board, we worked on the relationship that my character has within the ensemble. Like my character and the wife… we discover we are college sweethearts and that Ranvir and Kalki’s characters were our classmates. Once we all came on board, we had seven to 10 days of workshops, where we got to know our characters some more.

On Challenge

Primarily, there were two challenges. First we had to wake up really early in the morning, at around 4:30 am, and it was 6 degrees outside. We were staying in Ranchi and we had to travel two hours in the morning and two hours to return to the hotel from the location. Moreover, we didn’t have many facilities in McCluskieganj, like hot water or electricity or the internet.

The second, most challenging thing throughout the film was driving that car. Nobody on the sets had a clue to how that car ran. I don’t think even the car knew how it ran. Sometimes it moved on its own and sometimes it refused to move at all! I didn’t have many challenges with my role, as I am a very visual person and I already had many visual references for my part.

On Konkona Sensharma

After speaking with Konkona, I had a clearer idea of how she was going to make the film. She had a very detailed idea on how she was going to tell the story.

On Co-Stars

What comes across is that these are real people and the relationships seem real. These are surely not the most challenging parts that we played but these were close to reality. The believability to keep that illusion going, that these people know each other, was easy to achieve because we had wonderful actors. They are so giving as actors and it was so easy to work with them.

Audience Response

I didn’t expect people to write raving reviews about my performance. I had a very realistic opinion about what was to happen, I knew that after Shutu, Vikrant’s part would stand out more. Some people have noticed that I can pull off parts like these.

What’s Next?

I have completed the shoot for Eros’ web series titled Smoke. I have finished shooting and dubbing for a bilingual film which is in Hindi and Marathi. I think it is going to release first in Marathi with the title Daav and then in Hindi as Hadsa.

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