Guna opens with a nighttime sequence shot over 2 minutes, which reviews a brothel in Hyderabad starting from the surrounding streets and past the balconies and windows open and ends on the roof where Kamal Hassan is balanced on a leg in a posture of greeting to the full moon. This virtuoso sequence as little sees in Indian cinema generally not adept technical feats, is only one of several elements that makes Guna a single film.
Guna is mentally retarded a little psycho, but also very obsessive, which believes to be God. He grew up in the red light district of Hyderabad, and hates that. One of his companions asylum, told him long ago that the Goddess Abirami would one day find the full moon, to marry and leave her misfortunes by washing of sins. Since then, he relentlessly seek and has that word in his mouth: Abirami, Abirami, Abirami ...
Despite his mental state, he has a talent: he can open any lock or trunk. Exploiting this gift, his uncle used in dubious schemes. During an expedition that was to rob a wealthy temple, he sees the beautiful Rohini, and let all in plan. It is the revelation: he found his Abirami. Without waiting he takes with him, pursued by the police and his uncle, who does not want to let slip his goose that lays golden eggs.
The whole film is centered on its title character, and throws a cynical look on his fate and even more about the world around unhealthy.
In this environment, Guna is immediately likeable character. It is naive, somewhat spoiled by nature - even his gift is a poisoned chalice - but profoundly good. The film describes the character, analysis, casting a look outside almost detached. While inspiring compassion, the protagonist is never mélodramatisé beyond some extent, much less glorified. The first third of the film presents the second recounts his mare with Rohini / Abirami culminating in an abandoned church atop a hill, and the final third is a camera in a cave. The film follows a trend increasingly introspective. It normally starts and the mare allows characters to be discovered, and finally when they become locked into the cave, the characters reveal themselves. Meanwhile, tensions rise and police research is indicating it feels draw a necessarily fatal.
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A film of great mythological symbolism
The scenario is one such model, both for its innovative psychological and symbolic depth, but also consistent with what is expected of a Tamil drama. The religious symbolism is very present, with the full moon, the postures taken by Guna, and multiple references to mythology. There is also of course the fact that AC is precisely in a temple he meets that he believes Abirami in an abandoned church he found refuge in a cave and, as a return to the origins of the Man, he found some peace. Guna wants atone for his sins by uniting with Abirami goddess, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, and even dreams of lingam , symbol of Shiva (who is also the husband of Parvati).
In fact, the only weak point is the character Rohini / Abirami. When she finds herself locked up with Guna, she succumbs too easily. Although the naivety and sincerity of the latter are more attractive than the cynicism and venality of the world she has also suffered, everything is a little too fast to be brought fully credible. Apart from this point of detail, Roshini actress in this role is excellent. It has the beauty of a lunar goddess appearing on the full moon, and his nuanced game is impeccable. But it is obviously Kamal Hassan in the title role, which carries the film on his broad shoulders. It is perfect in mentally retarded, with his gaze lost but determined, and his eyes light up when he thinks he has found Abirami ... His performance is extraordinary, at the height of his character.
Technically the film is among the most successful of the 90s we saw with the clip opening, the realization is the highest level. This control is reflected in the staging in general, but technically speaking expresses in this sequence. The rest adopts a more sober tone in the study of the character. The film, however, is studded with rich visual ideas: the sequence of 'breaking' of the temple, the little Portuguese church atop a hill, the cave and the forest that surrounds it, the full moon, with its orange headband Guna decorated with bright Aum red, are all images and passages that mark provided that the provision of Kamal Hassan. Photography there is probably not unrelated. It is tinged with warm colors (Kamal Hassan has never looked tanned) and dark shades are especially effective in the passages of the cave.
If at the time Guna has not met with great public success, it probably was too innovative for its time. Its depth has baffled the public, especially since it came out at about the same time as Thalapaty . Ambitious and unclassifiable, this is a film at the crossroads of genres that blend psychological drama, thriller and mythological references. Complex work requiring multiple viewings to deliver all its secrets, Guna is undoubtedly one of the best Tamil films of the 90s, and one of the most impressive performances of Kamal Hassan.
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