Though Konkona Sen Sharma claims her main source of inspiration to be Peter Weir’s 1975 Australian film Picinic At Hanging Rock for the eerie and intangible feeling of dread in her directorial debut A Death In The Gunj, Konkona’s mother’s influence on her first film is quite prominent.
Not many have noticed the uncanny resemblance in mood between Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut A Death In The Gunj andAparna Sen’s legendary directorial debut in 36 Chowringhee Lane. In both the protagonists are lonely persecuted desolate and exploited individuals. In fact if Konkona’s Shotu(Vikram Massey) lived to become old he would probably lead a reclusive lonely life like AparnaSen’s Violet Stoneheim(Jennifer Kapoor) in 36 Chowringhee Lane.
Aparna opines, “Both Konkona’s protagonist and mine in 36Chowringhee Lane are lonely individuals.However Violet in my film has more-or-less accepted her state of loneliness. Shutu is much more vulnerable.”
In 36 Chowringhee Lane and in Konkona’s A Death In The Gunj the protagonist’s loneliness ends in tragedy.
Says Aparna, “Violet accepts her exploitation with much more grace whereas Shutu reacts violently to his condition of desolation.Their destinies are different because Konkona and I very dissimilar as directors.”