On first thought, anyone who watches Guna 369 won’t be able to say what exactly was wrong about the film.
However, it still just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t really make you feel anything in fact. The tedious two-and-half-hour watch just makes you crave for some real plotline to cling on to.
Guna (Karthikeya) is the apple of everyone’s eye. He hates conflict and believes in compromise. He is in love with Geeta (Anagha) and they both envision a life together.
The local goon (who is built up more than the hero even), Radha (Adithya Menon) is unforgiving except when it’s Guna asking.
Meanwhile, a gang of regular-seeming men are actually rapists who follow and trap unwitting couples and take videos of the gang rape.
The story takes so many turns that I am not sure if I should mention any more at the risk of spoiling an intended “twist”.
All these lives get entangled leading to Guna having to turn violent to prove his innocence in a murder case.
Right up until the interval “bang” you have no idea where anything is going.
You don’t know who you have to be invested in or which emotion of Guna you are supposed to pay attention to. The long-winding love story reaches its summit abruptly and rather inconsequentially.
Just when you start to think that the movie is finally going to actually start, it reaches a rather convenient climax.
The number of cliches in this film is just too many to count.
A token sidekick friend played by Mahesh, a younger sister (to show the hero’s sensitive side), the unnecessarily cute love interest, corrupt police, gangsters and rapists - almost every scene will make you feel like you’ve seen it a thousand times.
Guna 369 tries hard and fails miserably to be the fabled commercial film with all the “elements” making it a romantic-comedy-action-family-revenge-drama The purpose of these commercial “elements” is to evoke emotion - some emotion any emotion.
Despite the many routes that the film takes, not one of them is effective enough to come through to the audience.
Arjun Jandhyala did not leave any chance he might have gotten (or not) to make Karthikeya take his off shirt for the camera.
He certainly looks good in his ripped glory, but it’s just unnecessary. This will hopefully be the film where we all understand that objectifying men is just as disturbing and cringe-worthy as it is when done to women.
Karthikeya performs earnestly flitting from funny to romantic to apologetic to devastated to furious.
He shows potential to be a much better performer under a competent director.
Anagha manages to perform convincingly in the limited scope she is given in the film of a bubbly girl driving a Vespa. Adithya Menon is underused for a one-toned almost half-written role.
The music barely stays with you. Art direction, cinematography and perhaps the direction too feels outdated.
I mean, it’s a little too on the nose for the lead pair to meet for the first time against the backdrop of a flowering nursery.
May be under the rubble of the cliches there is a plotline that could have been interesting. Guna’s depletion from a person who believes in compromise and harmony to a person who goes full-throttle on a hunting spree could have stirred some intrigue. But, alas!
Film: Guna 369
Cast: Karthikeya Gummakonda, Anagha, Adithya Menon
Director: Arjun Jandhyala
Rating: 2 stars
(This story originally appeared on cinemaexpress.com)