Cast: Abhinav Jha, Mira Jha
Immediately after the feature, ticket holders can enjoy a pre-recorded bonus Q&A with director Achal Mishra!
New Voices in India Cinema Award, 2019 Mumbai International Film Festival
Best Director, 2020 New York Indian Film Festival
“One may live anywhere, but the village is where the roots are,” considers one member of the family depicted in GAMAK GHAR, Achal Mishra’s debut feature set in a patriarch’s village home in East India. This rumination opens the second of three acts: a sunny 1998, a cloudy 2010, and a foggy 2019. In the sun, roots grow strong: the film opens with the extended family gathering to celebrate the birth of a child. Over the course of a generation, the children that once knew one another so well have children of their own, and these children grow up far from their ancestral home and family. Time and floods and emptiness transform the house into a ruin. Far away, the nation changes, too, but this change is only felt through absence.
The central family drama is that moving around is difficult, but staying in one place is impossible in these times of mobility and urbanization. Still, if no one stays in the house, the house will fall into disrepair or be abandoned, and if there’s no house, the family can’t gather together. But for all the irreversible closure, GAMAK GHAR is a glorious, dreamlike tribute to a house and a home. The film’s narrative arc is but an ambient backbeat to more meditative and melancholic observations of memories, meals, festivals, fireworks, and songs, a tuning fork that allows the viewer to immerse themselves in the sensory realm that’s being lost. Slowly, mementos of the family patriarch are carried away: novels, journals, photographs, until no memory of the family remains in its origin.