Kirana & The Black Box In ’24 Hours With Gaspar’ Explained: Is Kirana Dead Or Alive?


24 hours with Gaspar has a lot of moving parts in it. There’s the case of the titular character’s deteriorating heart problem. Agnes, who runs an underground fight club, wants to eat the rich and support his friend. There is a woman called Bu Tati who thinks her husband is dead, but he is very much alive, and he has been betrayed by a man called Wan Ali. Bu Tati’s son, Yadi, has been wronged by Wan Ali, so he wants revenge. Gaspar’s ex, Kik, and her present boyfriend, Njet, want to get away from the vapid landscape and build a life together. Fuel is a huge issue. Money is scarce. A plague has ramped up the illegal (or maybe it’s legal in a dystopia with hardly any morals or law) organ harvesting business. However, what keeps the film ticking is Gaspar’s quest to find his long-lost childhood friend, Kirana, and his obsession with a black box that Wan Ali possesses. So, let’s talk about it.

Gaspar described himself as an orphan who fell from the sky and was raised by an old man called Babaji. He used to tell him the stories of the villagers who lived on the foothills of the Govardhan mountain and how their lives were influenced by Indra and Krishna. Apparently, the villagers used to pray to Indra for rain, but that caused Indra to become arrogant. In order to teach Indra a lesson, Krishna told the villagers to stop praying to Indra and helped them move to Govardhan Hill because it was the source of all the rainwater. That obviously angered Indra, and he made it rain for seven days and seven nights. So, Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill and used it to shield the villagers from the torrential rain. On the fifth day, a farmer named Achal found a black box that had the power to grant any wish that one wanted. Babaji asked Gaspar what he would do if he found a black box like that, and he said that he’d ask for a friend. That’s where Kirana came into the picture.

Kirana lived in a posh house with her father, Wan Ali, and she befriended Gaspar. They talked about the detective stories Gaspar loved; they wandered around the neighborhood, watching dead bodies being dragged out of houses; and they even welcomed Kik into their group. One day, Gaspar had to go away to get his heart checked (which was on the right side of his body), and when he came back, Kirana was gone. From that day on, Gaspar seemingly dedicated every waking day of his life to searching for Kirana. The running theory was that Kirana was sold away to solve Wan Ali’s financial issues. Now, Gaspar believed that the black box in Wan Ali’s possession, which he had acquired from Bachtiar S. Abdillah (Bu Tati’s husband) after he learned that it gave its owner whatever they wanted, held the clue to Kirana’s whereabouts. So, Gaspar’s goal was to not only bankrupt Wan Ali but also to get hold of this black box and hopefully find Kirana. While 24 Hours with Gaspar was realistic for the most part, it became a little abstract when it came to the contents of the black box.

Essentially, at the end of 24 Hours with Gaspar, the titular character chopped off Wan Ali’s finger and used it to open a warehouse that was filled with children and the organs that had been harvested from the people Wan Ali and his “company” had killed. When he got to the black box and opened it, he saw a miniaturized version of Kirana sitting in it, looking up at Gaspar in a melancholic way. Bachtiar S. Abdillah said that the box had the ability to store one’s “most precious treasure.” So, if you look at it through the lens of magical realism, maybe Wan Ali asked the black box to imprison Kirana in it so that she would be protected from the world that was abducting girls her age and harvesting their organs. The black box fulfilled Wan Ali’s wish and trapped Kirana in it for 23 long years. However, given how we don’t see Gaspar taking out this miniaturized version of Kirana from the box or hear him ask the black box to reverse the curse that it had put on Kirana, I suppose I have to opt for the realistic option: Kirana is dead.

24 hours with Gaspar’s commentary was centered around the notion that if there’s no hope left in the world, people tend to lie to themselves to keep moving forward. Once they begin to believe the lie they are telling themselves, it doesn’t matter if any form of success is waiting for them at the end of their journey. It’s the hollow belief that keeps them alive. Gaspar’s will to live probably died the day Kirana went missing. Deep down, he knew that the despicable Wan Ali had killed his own daughter and sold her body parts, and the black box was merely a thing that fueled his superstitions like a lucky charm. But Gaspar convinced himself that Kirana was alive and that the black box had the key to solving the mystery surrounding her disappearance. When he actually opened the box, maybe what he really saw was an old picture of Kirana, or maybe there was nothing in it. Gaspar was clearly overwhelmed by what he saw, and it triggered his memories of spending time with Kirana, but it’s totally possible that the empty insides of the box made him realize that his quest had been a futile one all along.

That said, instead of simply accepting the truth about the meaningless nature of his journey, Gaspar decided to act on it and freed the girls who were imprisoned by Wan Ali. He was too young to do anything for Kirana. By the time he was old enough to make a difference, the opportunity to save Kirana was gone. But Gaspar realized that he could ensure that girls like his childhood friend wouldn’t have to go through the same ordeal, and he used his last moments to give them a second chance at life. Even though that sounds noble and all, that conclusion has a hint of bitterness to it because, at the end of the day, those girls are walking out into a dystopia. Yes, they have a chance to forge their own future. However, there’s a good chance that some other gang that partakes in organ harvesting will abduct them to another prison, thereby restarting their cycle of misery. Hence, in a roundabout way, 24 Hours with Gaspar sends the message that humans shouldn’t allow things to get so bad that the prospect of a solution becomes a distant reality. We shouldn’t lie to ourselves or resort to mythological stories to deal with the times. We should act in the moment so that kids like Gaspar and Kirana can have a normal and healthy childhood.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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