In the halls of cinematic ineptitude, where legends of atrocious filmmaking whisper through the ages, Gunda stands out as a cacophonous siren song, luring unsuspecting viewers into a quagmire of absurdity, disbelief, and involuntary cringes. Directed by Kanti Shah and starring the iconic Mithun Chakraborty, this film's artistic ambitions seem to have taken a leave of absence, leaving behind a celluloid catastrophe that defies both reason and redemption, 25 years since its release.
Gunda is a film that spits a mouthful of gutka in the face of conventional standards of storytelling, acting, and production; making it simultaneously cringe-worthy and strangely endearing. Often touted as a prime example of a movie that is "so bad, it's good", Gunda promises a cinematic experience like no other.
Golden letter day in history of mankind. This day 25 years back the cult classic was released pic.twitter.com/HURl7iT0eK— iMac_too (@iMac_too) September 4, 2023
Set in a dystopian wasteland devoid of coherent storytelling, the film boldly claims to be an action-packed melodrama. However, it's more akin to a fever dream of a deranged scriptwriter who binged on B-movies and questionable substances.
To say that Gunda has a convoluted plot would be an understatement. The narrative is a chaotic labyrinth of vengeance, bizarre character names, and surreal events. Shankar, portrayed by the ever-versatile Mithun Chakraborty, embarks on a mission to avenge his family's honour against Bulla and his gang of outlandishly named henchmen.
It's a plot so outrageously exaggerated that it transcends the boundaries of good and bad storytelling, landing squarely in the realm of absurdity. The storyline meanders through a series of loosely connected scenes that involve bizarre dialogues, improbable scenarios, and ridiculous violence; that leaves us questioning the sanity of the filmmakers.
Gunda is a goldmine of over-the-top performances, and Chakraborty leads the pack. His portrayal of Shankar is a masterclass in hamming it up. From his exaggerated expressions to his melodramatic dialogue delivery, Chakraborty embraces the absurdity of the film with gusto.
The supporting cast, including some stupid villains, doesn't hold back either. They relish their roles as evil masterminds, spouting nonsensical threats and engaging in cringe-worthy fight sequences.
The film's dialogues, a symphony of linguistic absurdity, oscillate between grandiose verbosity and street-side vulgarity. A bunch of buffoons with monikers like "Bulla" and "Chutiya" (indeed) spew ludicrous catchphrases while indulging in grotesque acts that verge on farce.
Memorable lines like "Mera naam hai Bulla, rakhta hoon khulla" have become Internet memes celebrated for being utterly devoid of subtlety, and have somehow managed to endear themselves to a cult following of fans who revel in their absurdity.
Gunda is the epitome of unsubtle storytelling. It wallows in gratuitous violence, misogyny, and absurdity with such unapologetic glee that it transcends mere bad taste and becomes a form of performance art. Scenes of violence are executed with the finesse of a toddler wielding a sledgehammer (or Chakraborty using a cycle as cover), emphasising the film's deliberate detachment from reality.
The technical aspects of the film are just as atrocious. Cinematography appears to have been an afterthought, and the editing resembles a chaotic jigsaw puzzle assembled in the dark by someone with a vendetta against coherence. From laughably unrealistic explosions to comically exaggerated blood splatters, the visual effects in the film are a testament to the film's budgetary constraints and creative choices.
Gunda is a phenomenon that has created a unique subculture of fans who bask in the glory of its quirks and flaws. I find myself torn between recognising its raunch and acknowledging the inexplicable allure it holds for a dedicated fan base.
Depending on your lens, max cringe or top tier pop trash. Kanti Shah's Gunda is stuff of legend. They say best bad art inspires love and admiration. We couldn't make another Gunda if we tried with all we got.— Love of Cinema (@loveofcinemasf8) September 4, 2023
Tonight, raise a toast to Shankar, Ibu Hatela and gang. Happy 25th! pic.twitter.com/wdwcNatprL
Mithun-da's association with this cinematic travesty remains an enigma that may never be solved. To watch this film is to embark on a perilous journey fraught with gross eccentricities - an adventure best reserved for the bravest souls with a penchant for masochism.
In a world of polished, formulaic blockbusters, Gunda stands as a defiant, unapologetic anomaly - a cinematic monstrosity that continues to defy easy classification and continues to entertain, perplex, and horrify audiences across generations. Even 25 years later.