Endearing and subtle, Gamak Ghar explores the theme of displacement and the gradual breakdown it brings on it’s train.
Shot in three segments, Gamak Ghar is the story of an ancestral house and the neglect it faces due to the men of the house finding jobs in the city and shifting with their respective families.
In this film by Achal Mishra, the objects of the house take center stage instead of the residents of the house being the central characters. It is for the same reason that the film is shot mostly on wide shots with close ups reserved only for specific objects of the house like the windows, the chairs in the courtyard and the basil plant. The change in the three time periods is shown through the change in climate with the color palate change from a warm orangey hue to cold blue tones. Repetition is tactfully used to show the gradual change. The pacing of the film is unhurried and takes it’s own sweet time which is what I liked the most about the film.
There is a lot of familiarity used in terms of the imagery, suitcases on top of cupboards, food being cooked on the terrace of the house, the basil plant in the courtyard, men playing cards with their vests on, Gamak Ghar presents a true picture of a North Indian village. A lot of nostalgia inter woven with a deep love for the unadulterated village life is what the film looksl at the surface.
On a deeper level, the film questions the idea of progress and modernization not through long drawn monologues but through long cinematic silences and a subtle background score. The closing shot of the film defines the film for me and left me with a lump in my throat and made me realize that sometimes in our incessant lust for longing we forget where we belong.