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Guna

Movie : Guna
Starring : Kamal Hassan, Roshini, Rekha, S.P.Balasubramaniam, Janagaraj, Girish Karnad , Sharad Saxena
Music : Ilaiyaraja
Story, Screenplay, Dialogue, Direction : Santhanabharathi
Release Year : 1992


There is a big risk in experimenting something in cinema about which the people are not matured enough or aware of or they lack the knowledge of appreciating it. Also when movies of two superstars of same industry hits the screen on the same day and if one is such an experimentation without any commercialism then the fate of the movie is obvious a clean sweep in box office. The same is the fate of the movie called “Guna” which was released on the same day of release of an all time classic commercial film “Thalapathy” starring superstar Rajini and directed by Maniratnam. But know when people watches “Guna” in TV channels they all appreciate the movie for its new kind of story, screenplay and characterization with lot of experiments.

Plot in brief

Guna is a mentally affected person and gets treatment in a mental asylum and there another mentally affected person tells him the story of fictious character “Abirami” and registers in his mind that “She is an angel and she is going to marry you on a full moon day”. After coming out of the hospital, he believes the story to be true and searches for his “Abirami”. One day he mistakes a rich girl in a temple as Abirami and kidnaps her and takes to a lonely damaged house situated at the top of the hill resort called Kodaikanal. Though the girl at first hates him for his rustic and strange attitude towards her, she later understands the deep, divine love of Guna and accepts his love and marries him. Meanwhile, police and the girl’s uncle are searching for her. But finally after a lot of logical twists and turns in the screenplay her uncle kills “Abirami” for her property and Guna also commit suicide with her.

The whole movie is a package Magnum Opus from Main Cast and Crew involved

Kamal Haasan: Kamalhaasan is 100% Guna in that movie. You can’t find even a small trace of real Kamal in that movie. When the movie ends, the character stays in your heart and will disturb your sleep. There lies the success of Kamalhaasan’s performance. You will really cry when Guna hugs the dead body of Abirami and says “Illai” means “No” repeatedly and cries for her death immediately after marrying her. And in the scenes when he bears all the physical tortures given by Abirami and takes it easily, which reveals his madly love on her. Their marriage sequence and his face expressions in that scene are simply divine. His performance often evokes laughter in some scenes. The scene in which he continuously deliver a dialogue with the doctor in a single shot with camera rotating along with him inside the room. Excellent performance in that scene too.

Story and Screenplay: Actually I don’t remember the name of the writer and I am sure it is not Kamalhaasan. Being a simple and a meaningless story it all depends on the logical screenplay, which has to make it believable. The screenplay is excellent. Each and every scene is handled with utmost care to maintain logic. Each and every frame is important if you seriously look out for logic. But one has to compromise the fact that Kamalhaasan will survive at any cause, they have tried to convince us by saying that he is such a strong person who will survive after any kind of disaster. You have logic for everything, which will confuse you like why he loves a imaginary character “Abirami” to this extent, how he kidnaps her, from where he gets all the money, how he gets a car etc.,The screenplay is top notch especially the climax in which they have conveyed “Marriage will be held on a full moon day” visually by showing a full moon after their death. Even though they got married while living they really couple only after their death. The death is the marriage procession of this divine love.

Background Score and Songs: Illayaraja

The background is the one of the best of all times. The background with temple bells, veena, tablas etc., perfectly sounds the emotions of the characters in the movie. The bg score are extraordinary in the following scenes
1) Their marriage sequence
2) When Abirami takes bath in a small water stream
3) The climax when the full moon appears on the top of the house
4) When Guna goes to purchase on the streets of Kodaikanal

And can any one forget the master piece song “Kanmani anbodu” for its unique concept of a Lady love writing a love letter to herself dictated by her lover. The best thing is that, Kamal dictates it like a normal letter but she reads the letter like a song. The normal lines seems to be poetic with this new format of transformation. Excellent singing by Kamal himself and S.Janaki. The orchestration in the first interlude is out of world and the guitar is best used. Even all the other songs are great and jells well with the screenplay. Vaali has written a great lyrics for this song. “Manithar unarndhu kolla ithu manitha kadhal alla’’”which means ’’This is not a human love for humans to understand and it is something far beyond humans knowledge and understanding”.

Balakumaran (Dialogue writer): The veteran writer Balakumaran often pens dialogue for movies. And I would the best of him till date is “Guna” after “Nayagan”. Each and every word Kamal utters has some in-depth meaning and needs analysis to understand. Final scene when he comes to take revenge on Abirami’s uncle and his final word looking at the people and his family members standing over there is “Thu, Manushangala” which means “Shit Human beings”. And also the conversation between Guna and Abirami before their marriage about “who is mad in this world” and madness is what the movie tries to convey is sharp and brilliant.

Venu (Cinematographer): The hill resort Kodiakanal, the lonely house at the top the hill, the cave the second half are nothing but another important characters of the movie. Kodaikanal has never been so beautiful. Excellent picturisation all the way. It is still a wonder how they shot at the dangerous places like Devil’s kitchen, which is now officially renamed as “Guna Cave” after the release of this movie. The lighting, the pattern inside the cave makes the visual realistic without much of any face-hitting colors. The dense forests, mountains, rock caves, greenery all are well captured to please our eyes. And each and every frame in the temple scene is divine visually.

All the other casts have done their job well. S.P.Balasubramaniam, Rekha, Janagaraj are worth a mention.

Why it flopped?

~ Overdetailing kamal’s character through visuals rather than straight forward dialogues
~ Only after watching twice you can understand the logic behind the scenes and the concept of the movie
~ Roshini as “Abirami” doesn’t fit the character and she laks nativity.
~ Though it has all masala elements like songs, action, comdey all are woven well with a raw screenplay.
~ The character is far from reality and unbelievable at the time of its release.
~ At many places, dialogues are like puzzles.
~ The audience lack of maturity to accept such bold attempts.




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