Consider a scene in Gone Kesh wherein the girl protagonist first realizes that she is suffering from a severe case of hair loss. While attending a Geography lecture at school she suddenly makes the dreadful discovery. Seeing a bare patch of skin at the back of her head a classmate teases her by referring to the patch as a “brown island”. When she comes home and complains to her parents about her condition the father is quick to come up with a solution. He uses a black sketch pen to blacken that area on the scalp so that the patch couldn’t be spotted from a distance. The scene certainly makes us see the lighter side but it also serve as a reminder of our basic tendency to look for temporary and easy solutions for complex problems.
Gone Kesh is essentially the story of Enakshi Dasgupta, a Siligudi-based girl suffering from alopecia. But it is also the story of her parents’ struggle to find a cure for their daughter’s condition. They take her from one doctor to another in the hope of finding a cure. They worry that no one would be interested in marrying a bald girl and their worry isn’t unfounded given how our patriarchal society has certain benchmarks for feminine beauty. The match maker is forced to work twice as hard to find suitors for Enakshi. But despite his best efforts he is able to find either widowers or people who want to marry her for money. The father who has spent years saving money so that one day he can take his wife to see the Taj Mahal at once agrees to pay the money as dowry. But Enakshi refuses to marry someone who is more interested in money than her. In that moment of dejection she makes a difficult choice that will forever change the course of her life.
Gone Kesh is beautiful film that reminds us that no obstacle is big enough to stop us from living a life of dignity. Often in our lives we spent a lot of time fearing how others would judge us for our imperfections when in reality the real fear lies within. Once we are ready to deal with it, the world spreads its arms wide to embrace us. After all, it’s our imperfections that make us who we are. Shweta Tripathi deserves a special mention for her brutally honest portrayal of a girl suffering from alopecia. Kudos to writer-director Qasim Khallow for choosing to make such an empowering film about an issue that most people would consider commercially unviable! Gone Kesh suffers from several flaws that one generally associates with small budget films but it more than makes up for it thanks to its honest storytelling and spirited performances.