The Gone Game: Season 1
Director: Nikhil Bhat
Genre: Crime. Thriller
Release Date: 20th August 2020 (India)
Streaming Platform: Voot
Star Cast: Sanjay Kapoor, Arjun Mathur, Shweta Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rukhsar Rehman, Lubna Salim, Indraneil Sengupta, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Milind Adhikari, Nikhil Agarwal
Plot: Amid the global pandemic, The Gone Game opens. The story of the Gujral family - the head of the family Rajeev (Sanjay Kapoor) is based in Delhi, Suneeta (Rukhsar Rehman) his wife stuck in Lucknow, his daughter Amara (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) is in Bengaluru, whose boyfriend Prateek Jindal (Indraneil Sengupta) is in Mumbai. While his son Sahil Gujral (Arjun Mathur) lives in Mumbai with his wife Suhani (Shriya Pilgaonkar).
It is when COVID-19 was gaining traction in India during March 2020, Sahil Gujral (Arjun Mathur) who had returned from Bangkok recently mysteriously disappears and began developing COVID-19 symptoms. After testing positive, he was admitted to the intensive care unit. Much to the shock of the Gujarals, Sahil soon succumbs to the virus.
However, an unintended phone call makes Amara (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) and the rest of the family wonder if Sahil is still alive. Did he fall prey to the virus? Or is it something else, is what forms the rest of the story.
Review: Director Nikhil Bhat’s four-episode web-series ‘The Gone Game’ stands apart from regular mystery thrillers for two reasons - firstly, due to ‘COVID-19 pandemic’ itself becoming an important cast member although the show has a big line-up of actors. And secondly, it is shot completely indoors, while following the lockdown rules. All the actors have shot it themselves in their respective houses with the help of their family members.
There are only two characters in the same house, and rest everyone else is stranded alone as the lockdown was announced by the government with just four hours of notice, hence the cast spends a major chunk of their scenes interacting through video calls.
When it comes to performances, they have given quality output. Shweta Tripathi Sharma impresses as the curious and smart Amara and gets the maximum screen time. Whereas, Arjun Mathur appears at ease while portraying different emotions and is convincing as a COVID-19 patient.
Even Shriya Pilgaonkar through her expressions and body movements succeeds in being a mysterious woman, and Indraneil Sengupta’s doesn’t disappoint either. Though his role appears ordinary initially, it has more depth. Similarly, Sanjay Kapoor, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Rukhsar Rahman, and others too offer good support. Their emotions of being so helpless that they can’t be together in such tragic times were showcased with perfection.
Since it was shot during the time when the lockdown was stringent, most of the scenes were understandably through video calls. Though some creative camera angles managed to give the feeling of a normal film. But, a lot of emphasis was given to the pandemic itself rather than the actual plot revolving around Sahil’s mysterious death. Therefore, the screenplay certainly could have used another couple of passes.
Overall, the film ‘The Gone Game’ features a unique idea - an effective attempt at the experimental cinema and has succeeded in delivering the intended impact!