Gundala (film)

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Gundala (2019) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoko Anwar
Produced bySukhdev Singh
Wicky V. Olindo
Bismarka Kurniawan
Written byJoko Anwar
Based onGundala
Comic series by Hasmi
StarringAbimana Aryasatya
Tara Basro
Bront Palarae
Ario Bayu
Rio Dewanto
Music byAghi Narotama
Bemby Gusti
Tony Merle
CinematographyIcal Tanjung
Edited byDinda Amanda
Bumilangit Studios
Legacy Pictures
Distributed byScreenplay Films
Release date
  • 28 August 2019 (2019-08-28)
Running time
123 minutes[1]
119 minutes[2] (TIFF)
BudgetRp30 billion[3]
($2.11 million)
Box officeRp60.65 billion[4]
($4.38 million)

Gundala is a 2019 Indonesian superhero film based on the comics character Gundala created by Harya “Hasmi” Suraminata in 1969, co-produced by Screenplay Films and BumiLangit Studios, and distributed by Legacy Pictures. It is the first installment in the BumiLangit Cinematic Universe (BCU).[5] The film is directed and written by Joko Anwar, and stars Abimana Aryasatya as Sancaka / Gundala, alongside Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Ario Bayu, Cecep Arif Rahman, Rio Dewanto, and Muzakki Ramdhan.[6] The first official news about the film was announced on April 4, 2018 on social media accounts of its director and production houses.[7] At Indonesia Comic Con on October 28, 2018, a press conference was held to introduce the main casts and the first look video of the film with a release date set around mid 2019.[8] Filming has been done in September throughout October 2018.[9] Gundala had its local premiere on August 28, 2019, and released in Indonesia on August 29, 2019.[10] It had its International premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2019.[2][11] The film received positive reviews from audience and critics with praise for Abimana's performance, Anwar's direction, visual effects, costume design and originality.


In an Indonesia where corruption and income inequality are even more rampant than in its real-life counterpart, Sancaka is the son of a Javanese impoverished factory worker struggling to make ends meet. The young Sancaka shows signs of brilliance in tinkering with electrical products but is terrified by lightning and thunder. Sancaka's father leads his fellow factory workers in a protest against the factory owners, demanding a raise. The group is met with armed guards hired by the owners and turns violent. In the second protest, Sancaka's father is betrayed and stabbed by his colleagues who have been bribed by the factory owners and dies in Sancaka's arms. In a rage, Sancaka inexplicably shatters multiple riot shields with lightning, then falls unconscious. One year later, Sancaka's mother leaves to another city to find work, promising to return the next day, but never returning.

This turn of events leaves Sancaka turning down food given by the traitor's wife and ultimately wandering alone on the streets of Jakarta, living off busking and fending off street bullies and thugs until he is saved by Awang, an older street kid. Sancaka lives with Awang for a period of time, being trained by Awang to defend himself and to not intervene with other people's business if he wants to stay alive on the streets. The pair plan to leave for Southeast Jakarta by freighthopping. When the train arrives, Awang manages to leap onto it, but Sancaka is unable to catch up, being left alone once again.

Many years later, and the now-adult Sancaka works as a security guard and part-time mechanic in a printing factory. The majority of the country's corrupt legislature is being controlled by the ruthless, physically deformed crime boss Pengkor, who commands an army of orphans who have been raised as assassins. Pengkor was severely burnt by the fire that killed his parents and was sent to his abusive uncle's orphanage, where the latter and his staff subjected the orphans to water torture. The orphans, led by Pengkor, rose up and murdered the uncle. Pengkor is met with resistance by legislator Ridwan Bahri.

Pengkor plots to poison the nation's massive rice supply with a serum that targets pregnant women, affecting the fetuses brains, making them unable to differentiate good and bad. Pengkor arranges for the act of poisoning to be video-recorded and released through the media. This causes mass hysteria among the people, demanding the legislative members to release an untested antidote formulated by a pharmaceutical company to the public. The debate splits the legislative into two factions: one is led by Bahri and his 'Rumah Perdamaian' colleagues who want to pass a bill to distribute the antidote en masse and the other is controlled by Pengkor and his allies, who are against distributing it.

One day, Sancaka helps his neighbour Wulan fend off some thugs who are harassing her. The thugs retaliate by attacking him at night after his shift at the factory and appear to have killed him after tossing him off the roof. Instead, a bolt of lightning strikes his unconscious body, reviving Sancaka and giving him superhuman powers.

Wulan leads a group of insurgent market vendors against the harassing thugs. During one attack, Sancaka happens to be in the vicinity and ends up fighting and defeating all of them with his powers. Wulan implores Sancaka to join her group to defend the market, but Sancaka refuses, not yet convinced that he is the hero that they needed.

The thugs retaliate by burning down the market. Seeing the misery and hopelessness of the market vendors convinces Sancaka to rise up to defend them. With the help of Wulan, Tedy (Wulan's little brother), and Pak Agung (Sancaka's fellow security guard), Sancaka learns to control his powers and creates a makeshift costume to harness the lightning powers inside him. With that, Sancaka starts fighting and defeating the thugs, inspiring the people as a symbol of hope to rise up and stand together to defend themselves from the thugs' attacks.

One of the thugs defects and informed Sancaka and Wulan that they have witnessed famous violinist Adi Sulaiman in the market the night of the burning, suspecting him as the one who started the fire. Sancaka approaches Sulaiman to demand the reason why he burned down the market, but the seemingly weak Sulaiman turnes hysterically violent and attackes Sancaka with his violin bow, revealing himself to be one of Pengkor's orphan assassins. While evading Sancaka's attacks, Sulaiman is struck and killed by a passing bus.

Sancaka's heroics and Sulaiman death alerts Pengkor and his associate. Pengkor unleashes his orphan assassins who turn out to be sleeper agents in many positions across the nation, including the hysterical Desti Nikita, the supermodel Mutiara Jenar, the nurse Cantika, the strongman Tanto Ginanjar, the powerful hypnotist Kamal, and the traditional dancer Swarabatin, among others. The assassins manage to kill a number of Rumah Perdamaian members, but when Swarabatin attacks Ridwan, Sancaka appears and defeated him.

The legislature passes the bill on the antidote much to the delight of the people. However, test results from Rumah Perdamaian's lab reach Bahri and he is shocked to discover that Pengkor has been setting them up all along. The serum was non-lethal; it was the antidote that is poisonous, with the pharmaceutical company revealed to be owned by Pengkor. Bahri tried to reach Sancaka to ask him to stop the distribution, but Pengkor and his assassins attack Sancaka in the factory before he manages to do so.

The battle with the assassins reaches the rooftop of the factory, where Pengkor seizes Pak Agung, Wulan, and Tedy with the intent of killing them in front of Sancaka, who is hypnotized by Kamal. Wulan's cries snaps Sancaka out of the hypnotism, and he manages to unleash his lightning powers from within, defeating most of the assassins, saving Wulan and Tedy. However, Pak Agung is killed by one of the assassins. As Pengkor is about to strike Sancaka from behind, Bahri arrived and shoots Pengkor. With his dying breath, the deviant Pengkor declares that he was the only one who managed to unite the people and the legislative.

Sancaka rushes to stop the distribution of the antidote. Sancaka catches up up with the distribution convoy and tried to stop them but is shot by one of the drivers. The convoy is supernaturally stopped by a mysterious woman, and while holding the bottles of the antidote, Sancaka uses his lightning powers to break all the antidote bottles in the city.

Meanwhile, Pengkor’s partner breaks open an ancient tomb buried inside the walls of the city's museum and the seal of a container containing an old severed head using the blood of Sancaka he took earlier from one of the fights. He combines the body and the head, resurrecting Ki Wilawuk, a powerful evil from ancient times. The assistant reveales himself as Ghazul and told Ki Wilawuk of Sancaka, calling him 'Gundala' (lit. 'Thunder' in ancient Javanese). Ki Wilawuk orders Ghazul to gather his army, for a great war is coming.

In a mid-credits scene, Gundala meets Bahri on a rooftop and thanked him for an upgraded, more advanced costume, to which Bahri said that the new costume is 'from the people'. From afar, the mysterious woman who stopped the convoy earlier observed them, and is revealed to be the superhero Sri Asih.[12][13]


  • Abimana Aryasatya as Sancaka/Gundala [id]: A security guard who was struck by lightning, giving him superhuman powers and turning him into the superhero Gundala. Muzakki Ramdhan portrays Young Sancaka.
  • Tara Basro as Wulan/Merpati: Sancaka's neighbour and love interest. She would eventually become the superheroine Merpati.
  • Bront Palarae as Pengkor: A disfigured mafia boss controlling the city's underworld. Pengkor was disfigured when he was a child after his father's plantation workers burned down their house, leaving him bitter and vowing revenge on the world.
  • Ario Bayu as Ghazul: Ghazul appeared to be Pengkor's partner and confidant at first, but was bent on world domination himself. The character remained nameless for most of the film, only revealing his name to Ki Wilawuk at the end of the movie. Ghazul is one of Gundala's most famous nemesis from the comics.
  • Lukman Sardi as Ridwan Bahri: A politician allied to Sancaka and the leader of Rumah Perdamaian.
  • Fariz Fajar as Young Awang: Sancaka's fellow street kid who taught him how to fight. Awang would grow up to become the superhero Godam, to be portrayed by Chicco Jericho in Future movies.
  • Aqi Singgih as Ganda Hamdan: Pengkor and Ghazul's subordinate in the legislature.

Rio Dewanto and Marissa Anita portray Sancaka's father and mother respectively. Hannah Al Rashid portrays Cantika/Camar, Daniel Adnan portrays Tanto Ginanjar, Cornelio Sunny portrays The Painter, Asmara Abigail portrays Desti Nikita, and Kelly Tandiono portrays Mutiara Jenar/Bidadari Mata Elang, all of which are members of Pengkor's orphan assassins. Some of these characters would have bigger roles in future Bumilangit Universe movies.

Additionally, Zidni Hakim portrays Dirga Utama, a young legislative member opposing Pengkor, while long-time Indonesian choreographer Arie Tulang portrays Kamal Atmaja, a powerful hypnotist allied to Pengkor. Indonesian comedian Aming portrays Sam Buadi, another of Pengkor's assassins, a carver. Donny Alamsyah portrays Fadli Aziz, one of the leading thugs. Indonesian presenter and radio personality Dimas Danang plays Hasbi, Ridwan's assistant, while martial artist and fight choreographer Cecep Arif Rahman portrays Swarabatin, one of Pengkor's main assassins.

A couple of cameos appeared near the end of the movie with Pevita Pearce portraying the superheroine Sri Asih, while legendary Indonesian musician, actor, and artist Sudjiwo Tedjo portrays Ki Wilawuk, who appears set to be the universe's main villain.


In 1981, the popularity of the Gundala comics in Indonesia reached the big screen. By purchasing a license from the author, PT. Cancer Mas Film visualizes the comic to a film titled Gundala Putra Petir ("Gundala the Son of Lightning"), directed by Lilik Sudjio. The actor who was appointed as Ir. Sancaka or Gundala is Teddy Purba who was famous as one of the Indonesian action stars at that time. His mortal enemy, Ghazul was played by the character actor W. D. Mochtar, while Sancaka's lovers, Minarti played by Anna Tairas. Other actors and actresses involved in the film include Ami Priyono, August Melasz, Pitrajaya Burnama, H.I.M. Damsyik, Gordon Subandono, A. Hamid Arief, Rini Ratih, Dewanti, and Ratno Timoer. Even though the setting was changed from the setting on the comics, the film remained faithful to storytelling based on comics written by Hasmi. It was told that an engineer named Sancaka managed to find the anti-lightning formula. Unfortunately this discovery resulted in Sancaka having to break up with her lover Minarti due to forgetting to attend her birthday. In the midst of sadness and heavy rain, Sancaka was struck by lightning and carried over to the world of Emperor Kronz. There, he was given the power and costume that turned him into Gundala. Meanwhile, the circulation of narcotics by a group of organizations led by Ghazul began to run rampant. That is when the battle between good against evil began.[14][15]

In 2010, there was a hoax perpetrated by Iskandar Salim, a photographer and graphic designer who created promotional material for a movie that was not being made about Gundala. Salim noticed that there had never been a movie featuring an Indonesian superhero and wished to start a public debate on the subject. He created an official website, a Facebook page, posters, and staged photographs that allegedly showed the movie being made. As a result of the attention generated by the hoax, Gundala's creator, Hasmi became involved in negotiations to produce a real film based on the character.[16]



BumiLangit Studios as the owner of Gundala Intellectual Property has been developing the idea of making Gundala movie since 2014. The search for the right director and scriptwriter for Gundala film was not easy, and took BumiLangit years to finally found the perfect match. Then in 4 April 2018, Joko Anwar was announced to be the writer and the director for the film. He is one of Indonesia's most prolific and celebrated film directors.

Joko Anwar admitted that the scriptwriting process of Gundala film was the hardest work during his career. He usually spent 1–2 months on a scriptwriting process, but eventually spent 7 months for this project. Reinterpreting the original origin from its 1969 comic, he reworked the story in a way that could attract millennials and centennials. Hasmi's comics and notes about Gundala helped him to write the script.[17]


Joko Anwar felt that Abimana Aryasatya is the perfect actor to portray Sancaka / Gundala due to both of his vulnerable and strong aura. After several attempts, Joko finally convinced Abimana and he finally accepted the offer.[18]

Gundala costume was a teamwork effort between Iwan Nazif (Bumilangit Creative Engine) and Chris Lie (Caravan Studio). The production was handled by Quantum Creations FX based in Los Angeles, known for their works in Daredevil, Watchmen, Supergirl, The Hunger Games, Star Trek, and Iron Man.[19][20]


The filming process for Gundala took 53 days in 70 locations, including Jakarta, Cilegon and Purwakarta, involving 1,500 extras and 300 film crew. Principal photography began in Purwakarta on September 1, 2018, with Ical Tanjung serving as director of photography. Filming wrapped on October 31, 2018.[21]


Post-production began in November 2018 and was completed around June 2019. Gundala film involved many of the best film workers in Indonesia, one of them being Khikmawan Santosa who often won the Best Sound Designer award at the prestigious Indonesian Film Festival. Gundala was one of his last projects before he passed away on May 11, 2019.[22]


One of the soundtrack complementing this film was the 1962 song "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis. The production team agreed that the lyrics represent the main theme of the film; when many people in a country do not upheld justice, they will head on towards the "end of the world".[12]


A first look video of Gundala film was shown at Indonesia Comic Con on October 28, 2018.[8] The first teaser released on the official YouTube channel of Screenplay Films on April 12, 2019. A month later, the official poster revealed on May 28, 2019.[20][21]

In order to raise public awareness regarding Gundala film, M&C! and Koloni publisher will publish two types of Gundala comics, remastering version of Gundala classic comics (published in July 2019) and Gundala comics adaptation from the story conveyed in the film (published in August 2019). The remastering version is targeting the original Gundala comics’ fans back in 1970s–1980s and collector of Indonesian old school comics, while the adaptation version is targeting Indonesian millennials who were not aware of Gundala character before.[23] Gundala comics will also be available in a digital form on Line Webtoon, targeting Indonesian teenagers who frequently accessed the platform.[24] Koloni, along with Gramedia and BumiLangit, will also hold several roadshows around Indonesia. The Gundala film roadshow began on June 15, 2019 in Jakarta.[25]


Gundala had its local premiere on August 28, 2019, and released in Indonesia on August 29, 2019.[21] It had its International premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2019.[2][11]


  1. ^ "Gundala". Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  2. ^ a b c Kuplowsky, Peter. "Gundala". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  3. ^ Chua, Monica (2019-08-21). "Film 'Gundala' Habiskan Dana hingga Rp 30 Miliar" ['Gundala' film spent up to Rp30 billion]. CNBC Indonesia (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  4. ^ "Data Penonton | 2019" [Moviegoers Data | 2019]. (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-09-15.
  5. ^ Wira, Ni Nyoman (2019-07-24). "Three fun facts about Joko Anwar's 'Gundala'". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  6. ^ "Official poster of Joko Anwar's 'Gundala' released". The Jakarta Post. 2019-05-30. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  7. ^ Barus, Ramadani (2018-04-04). "Joko Anwar akan Menggarap Film 'Gundala' – Pahlawan Super Indonesia" [Joko Anwar will work on 'Gundala' film – Indonesian superhero]. IDN Times (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  8. ^ a b "Pemeran Utama Film 'Gundala' Diperkenalkan di Indonesia Comic Con" [Main cast of the film 'Gundala' introduced in Indonesia Comic Con]. Liputan 6 (in Indonesian). 2018-10-28. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  9. ^ Pangerang, Andi Muttya Keteng (2018-06-11). "Ini Dia Aktor yang Akan Terlibat dalam Film 'Gundala'" [These are some casts who will be involved in 'Gundala' film]. Kompas (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  10. ^ Scott, Mathew (2019-07-19). "Indonesia's Screenplay Bumilangit Plans 'Gundala' Superhero Franchise (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  11. ^ a b Lang, Brent (2019-08-08). "Toronto Film Festival Unveils Documentary, Midnight, Discovery Lineups". Variety. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  12. ^ a b Riantrisnanto, Ruly (2019-06-17). "Makna Lagu "The End of The World" di Film 'Gundala'" [The meaning of the song "The End of the World" in 'Gundala' film]. Liputan 6 (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  13. ^ Mack, Andrew (2019-07-20). "GUNDALA: Official Trailer for Joko Anwar's Indonesian Superhero Flick". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  14. ^ "Gundala Putra Petir (1981)" [Gundala The Son of Lightning (1981)]. (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  15. ^ "Gundala Baru yang Mengejutkan" [New Surprising Gundala]. Viva (in Indonesian). 2018-10-30. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  16. ^ Veal, Sara (2010-06-06). "Holding on for a superhero". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  17. ^ Setiawan, Tri Susanto (2019-06-17). "Joko Anwar Ramu Cerita 'Gundala' Lewat Catatan Pribadi Mendiang Hasmi" [Joko Anwar wrote the 'Gundala' story through the personal notes of the late Hasmi]. Kompas (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  18. ^ "Sempat Tolak Tawaran Main Film Gundala, Abimana Aryasatya Dapat 'Teror'" [Had Rejected the Offer to Play the Gundala Film, Abimana Aryasatya Got 'Terror']. Liputan 6 (in Indonesian). 2018-10-29. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  19. ^ Paramaesti, Chitra (2019-05-29). "'Gundala' Director Joko Anwar Talks about the Superhero's Costume". Tempo. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  20. ^ a b "Official poster of Joko Anwar's 'Gundala' released". The Jakarta Post. 2019-05-30. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  21. ^ a b c "'Gundala' Tayang di Bioskop 29 Agustus 2019" ['Gundala' to be released in cinema on 29 August 2019]. CNN Indonesia (in Indonesian). 2019-05-28. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  22. ^ Octaviany, Devy (2019-05-11). "'Gundala' Jadi Salah Satu Proyek Film Terakhir Khikmawan Santosa" ['Gundala' Becomes One of Khikmawan Santosa's Last Film Projects]. (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  23. ^ "Remastered 'Gundala' comic books launched in Bandung". The Jakarta Post. 2019-07-16. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  24. ^ "'Gundala Putra Petir' comic now available on Line Webtoon". The Jakarta Post. 2019-05-19. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  25. ^ Yuniar, Nanien (2019-08-10). "Menanti sambaran Gundala si Putra Petir" [Awaiting the strike of 'Gundala the Son of Lightning']. Antara News (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019-08-13.

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