Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Santhana Bharathi|
|Produced by||Alamelu Subramaniam|
|Written by||Sab John|
|Edited by||B. Lenin|
V. T. Vijayan
Swathi Chithra International
|Distributed by||Raaj Kamal Films International|
Gunaa is a 1991 Indian Tamil-language psychological romance film directed by Santhana Bharathi and written by Sab John. The film stars Kamal Haasan, Rekha and Roshini. It revolves around a recently released psychiatric patient (Haasan) who kidnaps a rich woman (Roshini) to make her fall in love with him. He believes she is the avatar of Goddess Abhirami and it is his destiny to marry her.
Gunaa was released on 5 November 1991, Diwali day. It was critically acclaimed for its unique theme and performances, but had an average run at the box office. The film later acquired cult status in Tamil cinema and inspired similar films about mentally obsessed lovers.
Gunaa is a mentally-ill person and receives treatment in a mental hospital in Hyderabad. He does not like his father, and his mother Manonmani is a moll in the house that they live. He assumes a fictitious character named Abhirami (also the name of an Indian goddess) and registers in his mind that she is an angel who is going to marry him on a full moon day. After coming out of the asylum, he believes the story to be true and believes that his Abirami is somewhere around.
A bunch of hooligans led by Guna's uncle trick Guna into robbing a temple of Abirami, an Indian goddess. He happens to see a rich girl Rohini in there, right after his uncle tells him that "Abirami will come". He assumes that she is the one, and in the confusion following the robbery, he takes her with him to a lonely, damaged house situated at the top of a hill in Kodaikanal. Police start an investigation regarding the robbery and the disappearance of Rohini. Initially, Rohini hates him for his weird nature and for holding her captive. Guna comes to know that her parents were killed in an accident and was brought up under a guardian Suresh Kumar aka SK. At one point, she breaks the chains Guna ties her up with and sets out to escape. Here, SK arrives with the help of Guna's uncle and the local goon. SK attempts to kill her to swindle her wealth, but Guna saves her by killing the local goon set by SK.
Thereafter to get away from all these people, Guna takes her to a perilous cave in a remote area, where she is moved by his deep love and is attracted to him. Sequentially, police predict that Guna is a culprit and starts to search for him. She understands Guna's innocent love and accepts his marriage proposal. She convinces him and marries him before the full moon day, but contracts a fever in addition to a broken leg caused by SK. Guna goes out to bring Dr. Ganesh, who recognises him and calls the police.
Meanwhile, Ramaiah, the CBI officer investigating Rohini's kidnapping, also reaches the scene with Guna's family. In the end, Rohini is shot by SK to hide his crimes, and SK is killed by Guna in revenge. Rohini succumbs before she can inform the police about the truth. In his grief, Guna jumps off the cliff with her while proclaiming his eternal love for her through the dialogue, "Manithar unarndhu kolla idhu manitha kadhal alla" (This is not a human love for humans to understand). The film ends with a shot of the full moon conveying that they were killed on a full moon day.
- Kamal Haasan as Gunaa
- Rekha as Rosy
- Roshini as Rohini (Abhirami)
- Janagaraj as Gunaa's uncle
- S. P. Balasubrahmanyam as CBI Officer Ramaiah
- Girish Karnad as Dr. Ganesh
- Sharat Saxena as Suresh Kumar (SK)
- Pradeep Shakthi as Ismail
- Ananthu as Gunaa's cellmate
- Sethu Vinayagam as the doctor
- Ajay Rathnam as Inspector Moovendhar
- S. Varalakshmi as Manonmani
- Kaka Radhakrishnan
- R. S. Shivaji as the barber (uncredited)
The director Sibi Malayil, cinematographer Venu and actor Kamal Haasan had planned to make a film set in Sri Lanka during a time of insurgency, written by Sab John. The trio met Cho Ramaswamy to learn more about the various issues in the country, but he criticised their decision to tell such a story, resulting in the project being dropped. John later told Haasan about a person nicknamed "Pottan" (Fool) who he knew in his childhood. This led to the development of the screenplay of a film titled Mathikettan Solai, with the protagonist named Guna, based partly on Pottan. By this time, Sibi Malayil was no longer available, resulting in Santhana Bharathi replacing him. The film was produced by Alamelu Subramaniam under Swathi Chithra International, and the dialogues were written by Balakumaran. Venu remained cinematographer, and editing was handled by B. Lenin and V. T. Vijayan. The film was later retitled Gunaa after its protagonist due to commercial reasons and belief that the original title will give negative impact to the film.
In portraying the title character, Haasan went on a diet and lost a substantial amount of weight, besides applying makeup to darken his complexion. Newcomer Roshini was selected as the female lead Rohini / Abhirami, and Gunaa was the only film she ever acted in. Her voice was dubbed by actress Saritha.
The pre-credit scene where Gunaa walks around in circles in an asylum with the camera following him was a shot in a single take after a day of rehersing. The caves which the film was shot in were then called Devil's Kitchen, Kodaikanal. It was here that the song "Kanmani Anbodu" was shot. Sathy who worked as production controller for the film revealed that "the cave was about 500 to 600 deep [..] we tied ropes with pulleys and transferred all the production equipments in and out of the 500 feet cave". According to Santhana Bharathi, Haasan insisted to have a dummy used for climax portions similar to his face and physique.
Gunaa was inspired from the Spanish film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990). The title character Gunaa is mentally affected who assumes fictional character which would marry him. Behindwoods wrote that "though it is steeped in madness, obsession and tragedy, there is one fascinating aspect to the love story here, his love is close to worship, as though she were a goddess".
Kamal said that tracking shots in the early portions of the film was inspired from films directed by the German filmmaker Max Ophüls. He also said that he had written a scene where he fights with his cops, his gun goes off which was meant to be a tribute to his favourite actor Dilip Kumar's film Gunga Jumna.
The music composed by Ilaiyaraaja, and the lyrics were written by Vaali. While releasing the audio cassette of Guna in 1991, Kamal included some audio recording sessions with Ilaiyaraaja. The song "Kanmani Anbodu" remains one of the famous songs from the film. The song "Paartha Vizhi" is set in Pavani raga.
|Film score by|
|2.||"Unnai Naan"||Vaali||S. Janaki, Ustad Sultan Khan||7:05|
|3.||"Paartha Vizhi"||Abirami Pattar||K. J. Yesudas||2:33|
|4.||"Kanmani Anbodu"||Vaali||Kamal Haasan, S. Janaki||5:27|
|5.||"Unnai Naan (Bit)"||Vaali||S. Varalakshmi||0:38|
|7.||"Nayaki Nayakan"||Abirami Pattar||Chorus|
All lyrics are written by Vennelakanti.
|1.||"Pichi Brahma"||Madhavapeddi Ramesh||4:39|
|2.||"Unna Nekorake"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. P. Sailaja||4:08|
|3.||"Sambhavi"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam & Chorus||4:43|
|4.||"Kammani Ee Premalekhani"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. P. Sailaja||5:27|
|5.||"Koilalo"||Swarnalatha & Chorus||1:49|
|6.||"Pelli Pelli" (Reprised Tamil old song – Kalyanam aaha kalyanam...)|
Gunaa was released on 5 November 1991, that year's Diwali day, and faced heavy competition from another Diwali release, Thalapathi. Despite receiving critical acclaim, it was above average at the box office due to its experimental nature.
On 24 November 1991, Ananda Vikatan appreciated the film and mentioned that Kamal had expanded the boundaries of his acting and had achieved a landmark success in this film, concluding that only Kamal could play this role effortlessly. The Indian Express wrote "One comes out with the impression that Kamal Haasan of the film is such a curious blend of Sylvester Stallone, Raj Kapoor and Dustin Hoffman."
Gunaa acquired cult status in Tamil cinema, and inspired similar films about mentally obsessed lovers such as Kaadhal Kondein (2003), Chinna (2005), and Kadhalil Vizhunthen (2008). Actor Karthik Kumar revealed that he had watched Gunaa several times. Santhana Bharathi listed it as one of the favourite films he has directed. Malayalam director Sathyan Anthikad said that female character Kanmani from his directorial Rasathanthram (2006) was inspired from the song "Kanmani Anbodu". Siddharth's de-glamorised look from Enakkul Oruvan (2015) is said to be inspired from Kamal's look from Guna. Malathi Rangarajan in her review of Deiva Thirumagal (2011) says that the "film remind you of Kamal's Guna." The Devil's Kitchen became a tourist spot after the film's release and it later became known as "Guna Caves".
In popular culture
Guna was parodied many times in various films. In the comedy scene from Ullam Kollai Poguthae (2001), Vivek imitates Kamal's style of rounding from the film revealing the difficulties he faced due to water, he utters "Sivagami" in a same way which Kamal utters "Abirami". In Arul (2004), Vaiyapuri sings "Kanmani Anbodu" which resulting in him getting whacked by Kanmani (Jyothika). In Thaamirabharani (2007), Aarthi mistakes Vishal as Kamal's character from the film. In the 2015 Malayalam film Premam, Shabareesh Varma sings 'Kanmani anbodu..' as his friend George (Nivin Pauly) express his silent love interest for Malar, (Sai Pallavi).
- Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 502.
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 145.
- Rangan, Baradwaj (17 June 2019). "Remembering Girish Karnad the director, the actor". Film Companion. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "பிரபல வில்லன் நடிகர்பிரதீப் சக்தி மரணம்". Dinamalar. 21 February 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 146.
- Film Companion (6 November 2017). "Kamal Haasan has a tremendous experience of cinematic life" - Sab John | Guna | Kamal Haasan". Retrieved 11 July 2019 – via YouTube.
- Mithran, V (1 June 2020). "Writer of Kamal Haasan's Chanakyan emerges from obscurity with online screenplay class". Manorama Online. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 144.
- "கமல் நடிப்பில் உருவான துரோகி, டாப் டக்கர் படங்கள் என்ன ஆனது என தெரியுமா?" [Do you know what happened of Drohi and Top Tucker, in which Kamal acted?]. Ananda Vikatan. 19 September 2016. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "An interview with director Santhana Bharathi". Chennai Best. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Maya, Raj (July 2010). "Style Sutra: Kamal Haasan". South Scope. p. 53.
- குமார், ந வினோத் (4 November 2016). "குணா 25 ஆண்டுகள்: அதீத அன்பில் பிறழ்ந்த வாழ்க்கை!". Hindu Tamil Thisai (in Tamil). Archived from the original on 4 March 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
- ராம்ஜி, வி. (6 June 2018). "குணா - அப்பவே அப்படி கதை". Kamadenu. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
- Rajendar, Gopinath (14 June 2018). "Santhana Bharathi talks about going in circles for 'Guna'". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "'கமல்' காதல் கடிதம் தீட்டிய குணா குகை விரைவில் திறப்பு". Puthiya Thalaimurai. 13 November 2017. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "Production Controller Sathy speaks about his experience working in the production field". Behindwoods. 10 December 2013. Archived from the original on 14 September 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "சுட்ட படம்!" [Stolen film!]. Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 19 August 2016. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "From Kollywood, with love". Behindwoods. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "Kamal discovers Kuchipudi". The Hindu. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Jha, Subhash K. (11 December 2012). "Kamal Haasan pays tribute to Dilip Kumar". Rediff.com. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Narayan, Hari (17 February 2014). "La Belle Dame sans Merci". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 15 December 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "Guna". Gaana.com. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Subramanian, Karthik; Lakshmi, K. (24 October 2014). "Jigarthanda follows Kamal's path". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- ராமானுஜன், டாக்டர் ஆர். (7 September 2018). "ராகயாத்திரை 21: ஆனந்த ராகம் கேட்கும் காலம்". Hindu Tamil Thisai. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "Why I like... Guna". The Hindu. 13 March 2009. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "அபிராமி... அபிராமி... அபிராமி...! லவ் யூ குணா #25YearsOfGuna". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 5 November 2016. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Srivatsan; November 8 (5 November 2016). "25 Years of Gunaa: Why Kamal Haasan's classic didn't make the cut". India Today. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "குணா". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 24 November 1991.
- Krishnaswamy, N. (8 November 1991). "Gunaa". The Indian Express. p. 7.
- Dave, Kajol (20 July 2013). "Filmfare trivia: Kamal Haasan". Filmfare. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "Actors and their most shocking roles". The Times of India. 7 September 2015. Archived from the original on 16 April 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
- Rangarajan, Malathi (11 July 2003). ""Kadhal Kondain"". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2 September 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "Chinna". Sify. 17 July 2005. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "Kamal predicts 100 days". Behindwoods. 13 July 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "This character artist's first love is direction". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 March 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- Nagarajan, Saraswathy (6 May 2010). "Hero of the common man". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Kumar, Hemanth. "Siddharth's de-glam look surprises many". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Rangarajan, Malathi (16 July 2011). "Deiva Thirumagal: a sensitive poem on celluloid". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Brahma, Sonali (23 April 2018). "Everything You Need To Know About Guna Caves in Kodaikanal". Sterling Holidays. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- CinemaJunction (5 May 2013). "ULLAM KOLLAI POGUTHAE Tamil) comedy scene 11" – via YouTube.
- Arul (DVD)
- Thaamirabharani DVD
- "5 years of 'Premam': How Alphonse Puthren's clever filmmaking made the film stand out". The News Minute. 29 May 2020. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Dhananjayan, G. (2011). The Best of Tamil Cinema, 1931 to 2010: 1977–2010. Galatta Media. ISBN 978-81-921043-0-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul, eds. (1998) . Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (PDF). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563579-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)