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 co-written by Sab John. The film stars Kamal Haasan, Rekha and newcomer 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.
Haasan and John initially planned to make a film set in Sri Lanka during a time of insurgency, but the project was dropped over story concerns. John later developed a new story Mathikettan Solai (which would be renamed Gunaa), inspired partly by a mentally-ill person he knew. The dialogues were written by Balakumaran, cinematography was handled by Venu and editing by B. Lenin and V. T. Vijayan. The film was mostly shot around Kodaikanal.
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 won a Tamil Nadu State Film Award, a Filmfare Award, and two Cinema Express Awards. It acquired cult status in Tamil cinema and inspired similar films about mentally obsessed lovers.
Gunaa is an asylum inmate. His cellmate tells him a story, whose protagonist Abhirami gets registered in Gunaa's mind; he believes and dreams that she is an avatar of goddess Abhirami who would marry him on a full moon day. After his psychiatrist Ganesh sanctions his release, Gunaa keeps searching for Abhirami. His mother Manonmani runs a brothel for a living after his father deserted her. Her brother-in-law, addressed as "Chitappa", is her aide. Rosy, one of the brothel girls, loves and desires to marry Gunaa, but he keeps looking for Abhirami.
Gunaa is an expert at breaking open locks, and Chitappa regularly takes his assistance for stealing. Chitappa decides to break open a hundi at a nearby temple to pay Manonmani's overdue rent. When he takes Gunaa for a rehearsal, Gunaa spots a wealthy woman in the temple. Since her physical attributes match those of Abhirami as imagined by Gunaa, he approaches her and she smilingly gives him some sweets; her pleasant disposition convinces him that she is Abhirami.
On the scheduled day of heist, Chitappa, Gunaa and their men arrive at the temple. Gunaa opens the lock of the safe room and lets Chitappa's men inside. Seeing "Abhirami" again, he goes after her, accidentally locking Chitappa's men inside. They are caught by officials but manage to escape with some jewels and flee with Gunaa via car. One of them dies when the car crashes, the other seizes "Abhirami"'s car and starts driving it, with Gunaa also joining.
The wounded man succumbs to his wound, and the car falls into the sea. Ramaiah, a CBI officer, investigates "Abhirami"'s disappearance, and informs her guardian Suresh Kumar (SK). Having saved "Abhirami" and the jewels from drowning, Gunaa takes them to his house. Landlord Ismail's goons assume "Abhirami" to be a new prostitute brought in without paying their usual bribe and fight with Gunaa. To save her, Gunaa drives her to a dilapidated church on a hilltop.
"Abhirami" hates Gunaa for his weird nature and tries to escape, but fails every time. With Chitappa's help, SK and Ismail reach the church; SK coerces "Abhirami" to sign blank papers so he can control all her wealth. She does so to avoid being killed, but SK tries to kill her anyway. Gunaa intervenes, kills Ismail, knocks SK out and takes "Abhirami" to a cave for safety. "Abhirami", who first hated Gunaa, understands his deep love. She reveals her real name is Rohini, and accepts Gunaa's marriage proposal. Though Gunaa is adamant on marrying on a full moon day, Rohini convinces him it is that day and marries him.
The next morning, Gunaa realises that Rohini has contracted fever; he approaches a doctor to treat her. The doctor's assistant, having seen Gunaa on a newspaper, informs Inspector Moovendhar. When Moovendhar arrives, Gunaa forcibly takes the doctor to get Rohini treated. Near the cave, both men are surrounded by numerous policemen led by Moovendhar; with a stolen gun, Gunaa accidentally shoots a policeman before retreating the cave where the doctor treats Rohini. Moovendhar seeks more forces and issues a shoot-at-sight order against Gunaa.
Gunaa's kin including Ganesh, Manonmani, Rosy and Ramaiah reach the spot and tell Moovendhar not to kill Gunaa. Rosy enters the cave and requests Gunaa to return the gun which he does. Moovendhar then orders Gunaa to surrender. Rohini informs Moovendhar that they are fine and coming out. SK overhears this and, to prevent Rohini from telling the police about his crimes, shoots her. Infuriated, Gunaa kills him. When Gunaa returns, Rohini succumbs in his arms. Gunaa then angrily tells his kin they will not understand his love for Abhirami, and jumps off the cliff with Rohini's corpse.
- Kamal Haasan as Gunaa
- Rekha as Rosy
- Roshini as Rohini (Abhirami)
- Janagaraj as Chitappa
- S. P. Balasubrahmanyam as Ramaiah
- Girish Karnad as 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
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 Gunaa, 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 rehearsing. The dilapidated church where Gunaa initially keeps Rohini captive was a set designed at a forest named Mathikettan Solai. 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 has been compared to films like Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), First Blood (1982) and Rain Man (1988). Haasan said the tracking shots in the early portions of the film were inspired from films directed by the German filmmaker Max Ophüls. He also said that he had written a scene where he fights with police and his gun goes off which was meant to be a tribute to his favourite actor Dilip Kumar's 1961 film Gunga Jumna. Hari Narayan of The Hindu compared Guna to Moondram Pirai (1982), saying that in both films the protagonist's image of an ideal dreamgirl animate his antics.
The music composed by Ilaiyaraaja, and the lyrics were written by Vaali. While releasing the audio cassette of Guna in 1991, Haasan 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 Haasan had expanded the boundaries of his acting and had achieved a landmark success in this film, concluding that only Haasan 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."
|Tamil Nadu State Film Awards||Best Film – Third prize||Gunaa|||
|39th Filmfare Awards South||Best Actor – Tamil||Kamal Haasan|||
|12th Cinema Express Awards||Best Actor (Special)||Kamal Haasan|||
|Best Dialogue Writer||Balakumaran|
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
Gunaa was parodied many times in various films. In a comedy scene from Ullam Kollai Poguthae (2001), Arivu (Vivek) imitates Haasan's style of rounding from Gunaa revealing the difficulties he faced due to water, he utters "Sivagami" in the same way which Gunaa utters "Abhirami". In Arul (2004), the title character's friend (Vaiyapuri) sings "Kanmani Anbodu" which results in him getting whacked by Kanmani (Jyothika). In Thaamirabharani (2007), Meena (Aarthi) mistakes Bharani (Vishal) as Gunaa. In the 2015 Malayalam film Premam, Shambu (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.
- Prasad, Ayyappa. "On location with Kamal's 'Guna'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
- Rangan, Baradwaj (17 June 2019). "Remembering Girish Karnad the director, the actor". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "பிரபல வில்லன் நடிகர்பிரதீப் சக்தி மரணம்". Dinamalar. 21 February 2016. Archived from the original on 13 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- 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.
- K Balakumar [@kbalakumar] (9 August 2019). "One ofcthe [sic] reasons why the Tamil version looks infinitely better is the agreeable hamminess of Sethu Vinayagam in this scene. He was a hoot as the doctor in Gunaa, too" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 146.
- ராம்ஜி, வி. (6 June 2018). "குணா - அப்பவே அப்படி கதை". Kamadenu. Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
- 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.
- "'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.
- Krishnaswamy, N. (8 November 1991). "Gunaa". The Indian Express. p. 7.
- "Kamal discovers Kuchipudi". The Hindu. 19 September 2014. Archived from the original on 5 September 2020. 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. Archived from the original on 5 September 2020. 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. Archived from the original on 5 September 2020. 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.
- Dave, Kajol (20 July 2013). "Filmfare trivia: Kamal Haasan". Filmfare. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "'Chinnathambhi' bags Cinema Express award". The Indian Express. 25 February 1992. p. 3.
- "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. Archived from the original on 5 September 2020. 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.
- Ullam Kollai Poguthae (motion picture) (in Tamil). Lakshmi Movie Makers. 2001.
- Arul (motion picture) (in Tamil). Lakshmi Productions. 2004.
- Thaamirabharani (motion picture) (in Tamil). Vijaya Productions. 2007.
- Maithutty, Fahir (29 May 2020). "5 years of 'Premam': How Alphonse Puthren's clever filmmaking made the film stand out". The News Minute. 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)