An Alternate Course


Making this film has been a cathartic process for Sengupta, who says she turned to art so that she could channelise her anger towards the abuse her mother, and sometimes she, suffered, in the right direction. The curious title derives from the Marathi slang for vermilion — kunkoo. Reema Sengupta’s Counterfeit Kunkoo raises these questions as it follows Smita in her struggle to find a roof over her head in Mumbai. “She was the one who made it possible to shoot in all these locations. But she soon finds that financial independence isn’t enough and that the ghost of her abusive husband follows her in the form of social prejudices. The small business brings her enough money to support herself and pay rent. “This particular script is deeply personal and this year I decided to focus on it,” says the 27-year-old. Counterfeit Kunkoo is the story of a woman in her early thirties, who makes imitation jewellery. “The discussion on domestic abuse has been in the mainstream for a while but what happens when a woman, fed up of abuse and marital rape, leaves that life behind? She adds that the similarities between Smita’s character, essayed by Kani Kusruti, and her mother end here. Sengupta, however, says that the setting is neither a gimmick nor a privileged view of the ground reality. Also, the concept of the film borrows from her mother’s story who left her abusive husband at the age of 45 but couldn’t find a place to move into along with her young daughter. It will feature in the “International Narrative Shorts” competition section of the festival that will be held in January next year. “She was financially self-sufficient and a mother of a grown daughter. Yet she couldn’t find a house because she didn’t have a ‘husband’,” she recounts. “More than me, Smita’s character has helped my mother understand the complexities of her own emotions… In order to survive and make the best of what she had, she probably didn’t get the chance to process it all,” she says. This film literally wouldn’t have happened without her,”
says Sengupta. “I grew up in the same setting and reality that Smita comes from. But does taking the convention-defying move liberate her? Earlier this year, she returned to the “passion project”. The 15-minute fiction project is an official — and India’s only — selection at Sundance Film Festival 2018. For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App My parents were into real estate and they know brokers and real estate agents. Can economical independence alone set her free in a society that looks down upon single women? Sengupta, the founder of the production house CATNIP — a prominent name in visual content creation within the Indian indie music space — had the script for the film for three years. The film has been shot over four days across real locations in Mumbai’s slums and low-income housing, the claustrophobic spaces perhaps becoming a metaphor for the character’s state of mind. Sengupta, the writer-director of the film, points out that her film begins where the issue of domestic abuse in her protagonist’s life ends. 2017-12-12T00:51:07+00:00″>
Published: December 12, 2017 12:51 am

A still from Counterfeit Kunkoo

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