20 Years of Gunda: Can We Finally Agree the Film is a Work of Art?

Bollywood

20 Years of Gunda: Can We Finally Agree the Film is a Work of Art?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

n his review for Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 film, The Room, critic Scott Foundas wrote that it “prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back”. A decade and a half later, The Disaster Artist, a film on the making of The Room, earned a nod for the Oscars and won its lead, James Franco a Golden Globe. The tide had suddenly changed: From being a film that almost everyone had ignored or had demolished, people were now inexplicably warming up to The Room’s eccentricities. And even acknowledging its appeal while fervently rewatching it – watching it with affection rather than disgust.

Closer home, a similar situation unfolded 20 years ago: India disregarded the release of one of its own oddities, Kanti Shah’s vigilante action and justice starrer Gunda. Over the years, Gunda’s over-the-top shenanigans have earned it the status of India’s The Room. Considering the appetite for excess that we now display in our popular culture, can we all agree that perhaps it’s time Gunda should also be considered a work of art?

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