Banners: Eros International, Dhirendra Nath Ghosh Films, Platoon One Films
Producer: Dhiraj Ghosh
Director: Qasim Khallow
Cast: Shweta Tripathi, Jeetu, Vipin Sharma, Deepika Amin, Brijendra Kala
Writer: Qasim Khallow
Music: Kanish Sharma, Bishakh Jyoti, Bharat-Hitarth
We associate beauty with fair skin, a petite figure and Rapunzel’s cascading hair. If a woman lacks either of these prerequisites, she becomes an object of ridicule and a victim of double standards. Qasim Khallow’s debut directorial Gone Kesh sheds light on a young girl’s lack of self-worth and deals with the burden that vanity brings and society’s definition of beauty.
Set in Siliguri, a small city nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Gone Kesh is the story of Enakshi Dasgupta, a girl who leads a normal life until is diagnosed with alopecia. She starts losing hair and her world comes crashing down. She is derided by her schoolmates who call her ‘Gone Kesh’. Utterly dejected, she decides to let go of her dream of dancing. The disease takes a toll on her happy-go-lucky spirit and she ends up isolating herself.
When she grows up, she starts working as a salesperson at a cosmetics store in a local shopping mall. Prospective grooms reject her when they realise she is hairless and wears a wig. One day, she bumps into an advertisement for a dance competition. How does she deal with the stigma of being bald and whether she is able to live her dream, is what the film details.
Cinematographer Abhi Dange beautifully captures the small-town vibe with its simple homes and quiet lanes. The humble Dasgupta home surrounded by a small garden with colourful flowers perfectly conveys the family’s economic status.
One of the strongest assets of the film is that no time is wasted establishing her past life and the characters. Her tormenting times at school are shown through flashbacks. Right from the first frame, the film dives quickly and focuses on what it set out to convey. The one thing, however, that hampers the pace is the build-up to the climax. Packed with a song and laced with slow-motion effect, the sequence seems a tad long and renders a television soap-like feel. Some songs could have been done away with.
But what works for Gone Kesh is that is not a social commentary on moral and social righteousness; it does not design a path of virtue for us to follow. It remains an honest and personal tale of a girl and the events in her life that perturb her. Khallow skillfully weaves a story revolving around a girl who is robbed of her vanity but it narrowly escapes becoming overly sentimental in the second half. The film does not promise you a remarkable treat. But the story is unpretentious and novel and that is where its beauty lies.
Shweta Tripathi ably carries the film on her shoulders. As a dejected, vulnerable and yet ambitious girl, she proves her mettle. It is a delight to watch her portraying Enakshi’s pain with poise and dignity. Vipin Sharma as her father delivers an impressive act. Deepika Amin as her mother holds her own and plays her character with extraordinary ease. Debutant actor Jeetu, who plays Srijoy, Enakshi’s love interest, is earnest and looks promising. Brijendra Kala in a cameo is decent.
Verdict: A decent product but lacks commercial potential.