The humble beginnings of Ibu Hatela - Image copied without permission (sorry) from http://illegalbriefs.wordpress.com
Well, not all of them actually. My poor nose missed out, as films don't have provisions for smell-substitution. But nonetheless, I saw a film that is very likely to remain with me, in that corner of my heart where lie Holmes and Moriarty and Prometheus and Mimir the Giant, till the end of my days. :)
The film in question was Gunda by Kanti Shah. Like the avatars of Vishnu, even in Bollywood, every now and then comes a director and a film which delivers us poor cine-goers from the evils of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Yash Chopra and Karan Johar. Gunda by Kanti Shah is doubtlessly at the top of the avatar-list.
In fact, I am not exaggerating when I compare Gunda with Mahabharat. Just as Mahabharat was comprised of Shlokas, Gunda's beauty lies in its limerick-y dialogues. Just like that epic, this one is also a battle between good and evil. Not only the good of Shankar versus the evil of Bulla and company, but also the good, nay, the awesome of Kanti versus the despicably mediocre evil of Karan and Yash.
Kanti Shah has been described by movie reviewers as a lot of things: realist, existentialist, the ultimate post-modern maverick and so on. To me, it is simple: He is to films what Bradman was to cricket. Or Casanova was to love-making. GOD. Henceforth, Kanti Shah will be referred to as "God" in this review.
God displays his super-human abilities from the second scene itself, when the villains are introduced one by one in a manner that would have made Shakespeare proud. When Bulla says he always keeps it "khulla", it very likely shows his economic and perhaps political leanings. Bulla is the ultimate liberal capitalist. Open minded. Hence, "Rakhta hoon khulla!" Even his indulgence of his homosexual/hermaphrodite brother tells you the same thing... What a stunning way to portray the depth of the central negative character in one line itself! Subhan Allah!
Ibu Hatela asks the viewer "Khaayega kela?" While he might be unnecessarily pointing towards his penis, the deeper meaning is different. Ibu Hatela is promoting vegetarianism and healthy diet. Can you think of any better way than films to instill healthy habit in people? Even in the moments right before his death he tries to promote vegetarianism by asking his to-be murderer if he would like a banana. Gandhiji must have been wiping tears of joy from beyond the grave. Hats off, God. Hats off.
And then there is Shankar. Trying to live an honest, dignified life in a place and era where murders are a public sport and rape, a national pastime. His fight for survival is a metaphor for what the likes of God suffer against the cartels of the Chopras or Johars. What a way to bring out your internal pain! Simply fantabulous!
Well, yes, there is also a story, but tell me, after reading all this, do you really need it? GO WATCH GUNDA INSTEAD OF READING THIS REVIEW!