A number of post-pandemic lockdown films of varying length and quality have emerged from around the world, buttressing the fact that the really creative will find a way to tell their stories: a smartphone and remote technical collaboration can make us forget that we are more vulnerable and alone than ever these days.
The Gone Game on Voot Select is an interesting experiment, a four-part series which cleverly utilises the onset and impact of the virus as a crucial plot point, leaving us staring at a puzzling scenario: what happens to a seriously ill Covid patient (Arjun Mathur) when he is taken to hospital? Is his wife, a social media addict (Shriya Pilgaonkar) as worried as she appears? Will there be an end to the dodgy ways of his businessman father (Sanjay Kapoor)? What hold does a scruffy fellow (Dibyendu Chatterjee) have on the dad? Will his loving sister (Shweta Tripathi) and her ex discover the truth?
Now that we are in that phase of the pandemic in which we are hearing much more herd immunity and the amazing ability of some of us to beat the virus, while the numbers of both the infected and the fatalities continue to gallop, The Gone Game feels like a timely fictional intervention. But it also shows up the limitation of the games people play in strict solo confinement. After a point, the spaces they inhabit start closing in on them, the situations start feeling repetitive, and the suspense contrived. Even the most able of actors, and this is a good lot, need wiggle-room, and this clearly doesn’t have enough.
The other interesting thing, a by-product of watching The Gone Game, is the realisation all over again, of just how much we are prisoners of our digital devices. We can see these characters as much as they see themselves, as they gather together on virtual meetings. We see how we have become even more incapable of experiencing a moment by ourselves: that moment, even as it is being lived, is being transferred on to a social platform, heavily hash-tagged.
Will we ever be capable of divesting ourselves of our devices, even momentarily? Will we still have a sense of the self in a changed world, once we can safely step out? The Gone Game promises an extension, and hopefully, some answers.
The Gone Game is streaming on Voot Select.
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