Thoughts on Gurvinder Singh’s Bitter Chestnut(Khanaur)

Set in the beautiful valleys of Himachal, Bitter Chestnut follows Kishan, a 17-year-old. Director Gurvinder Singh intends to portray Kishan’s internal battle as he struggles to choose between moving to a happening city or staying in his calm village. But, this struggle is never translated onto the screen and passes Kishan’s clueless to the audience. Kishan lacks facial expression of what he feels, leave alone his state of mind. The village is peaceful, predictable and nothing much happens over there, same with the film. After introducing the gorgeous landscape and pure of heart people, the proceedings fell flat as I failed to identify the conflict or the drive of these characters.

The unadulterated representation of these people and their lives is really admirable. In this village, everyone knows and gets along with each other making it one big family. Monisha Mukundan, a lovely lonely woman who runs the hotel in which Kishan works, tells him to learn English and different things so it would help him build a career. Contradicting this, a person tries to convince Kishan how good his life will be in his village. At times when everything is about numbers, targets, growth and advancement, I liked how relaxed these people are. Also, just like Monisha, I don’t want Kishan to be a waiter his whole life, either. The film gives no resolution, and the unseen resolution will come from how you want to take your life forward. But as far the film is concerned, subtlety slowly turns expressionless.

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