Kanti Shah’s Gunda is a masterpiece when it comes to cheap thrills and mindless cinema. I can assure you of the fact that you have never seen or for that matter heard of anything like this. The film is a huge pile of unrelated and chaotic situations which constantly keep running into one another. It is an assembling of such a varied range of characters that by the time the film ends you will easily lose track of who’s who. It is a collection of some of the most mindless and yet interesting action sequences ever to have graced the silver screen.
Imagine Mithun Chakraborty’s Shankar trying to assassinate a minister and in turns getting sprayed with bullets and takes cover behind a bicycle. The bullets never find their mar and hit the slim structure of the bicycle instead.
Imagine Rami Reddy’s Kala Shetty killing a minister right in front of the secretariat and starts running with the whole police force after him and in the next cut is shown running on the runway of an airport where he is finally knocked out by Shankar.
Imagine Shankar’s father being killed and him carrying his father’s dead body to the villain’s house and holding him on his shoulders as he has a prolonged argument with the baddies and leaves the premise without harming them.
Imagine an action sequence atop hanging cots in a brothel where people are consummating in a gigantic hall with cots hanging by ropes from the rooftop and no one tells us these people got up on the cots in the first place.
Imagine a medicine called “Vitamin Sex”. Never knew there was a Vitamin sex too. However that what Mukesh Rishi’s Bulla gives his brother Chutiya (Shakti Kapoor) so that he can become a real “mard” and rape Shankar’s sister to death.
Every scene of this atrocious film gives you one reason after the other to marvel at the sheer scale of the blunders that the director has committed by scripting the sort of absurdity that is on display. The characters don’t speak they recite. You read it right. Each of the characters recite lines which are in rhyme with each other and mouth some of the most profane and funny word that you will hear in one sentence. Even their names have drama associated with it. “Bulla always keeps change”…”Pote cannot be trusted”…”Ibu Hatela is the son of a witch and a devil and offers a bite at his banana”. Need I say more?
On its release in 1998, the film had to be withdrawn from theaters due to complaints received by the Central Board of Film Certification from college girls who were appalled by the excessive violence, sex and obscenity in the film. The film had earlier been rejected by the Central Board for Film Certification due to use of filthy language and obscenity, it was later passed with an A certificate after the film makers made changes to the film. It was alleged that the version running in theaters prior to the withdrawal was the unedited print. The cases filed from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore have since been withdrawn and the movie has also been cleared.
It’s pointless to discuss the film’s plot points or for that matter the performances. Suffice is to say that this is not that type of a film where you get a chance to judge the screenplay or the performances. It is that kind where you will find it difficult to understand what the hell is going on and just when you think you have, there will be a new surprise in terms of action or out of the world melodrama hurled at you which will leave you bewildered. Mayank Shekhar of the Mumbai Mirror says that “Gladwell hasn’t seen Gunda (probably, neither have you). He must. He’d be glad. In my living memory, I have yet to notice a more startling revelation of the mysterious ‘tipping point’ anywhere of my social circle. Over the past few months, about four unrelated sources from three parts of the world have asked me if I’d seen Kanti Shah’s Gunda”.
These words clearly demarcate the reach of this film which was upon its release almost unknown. However over the years, the film has attained a cult following and has dedicated blogs and fan clubs to its credit. What is it about the film which has garnered the film such widespread acclaim? I guess you will have to take a dip into Gunda to find for yourselves some answers. It won’t be easy but I believe you will be glad that you tried.