For the fans of the late actor, the film is the perfect farewell because they get to experience and soak up Puneeth’s unembellished, innocent charm as he sheds his Powerstar image without any qualms.

Puneeth Rajkumar in Gandhada GudiYouTube screenshot
Flix Review Friday, October 28, 2022 - 12:42
Don't miss

When was the last time you watched a documentary in a packed cinema hall that was buzzing with cheer and optimism? For this reason alone, Amoghavarsha’s latest cinematic expedition Gandhada Gudi will go down in history as a special film because not only is it a glorious exploration of Karnataka’s vast and rich physical heritage, but also a shining example of the creative zest that Puneeth Rajkumar had within him. And for the fans of the late actor, the film is the perfect farewell because they get to experience and soak up Puneeth’s most unembellished, innocent charm as he sheds his Powerstar image without any qualms.

In Gandhada Gudi, Puneeth Rajkumar and wildlife documentary filmmaker/conservationist Amoghavarsha embark on a journey through Karnataka’s rich biodiversity and unravel the vibrancy through a set of riveting first-hand experiences. There’s an old jeep at their disposal, a rough route map on their minds, and abundant curiosity to help them navigate the lush land and waterscapes. Tagging along is the camera crew led by cinematographer Pratheek Shetty who chooses to rest his device on the two travellers as much as possible and allow for the wonder in their eyes to be captured beautifully, while the sound team picks up the clarity of the candour in their voices.

It is in these moments of leisure, of pure solitude that Gandhada Gudi stands out as a documentary because it provides ample room for conversations and anecdotes amid the intense journeying. While Puneeth and Amoghavarsha wait patiently for nature to take its course, they chat away about life, the surrounding natural beauty and everything in between. And when the two do go about their excursion, the camera sweeps over the majestic panorama, flies over mountains, and plunges into deep oceans along with them to capture the flora and fauna of the rarest kind as B Ajaneesh Loknath’s eclectic soundtrack adds energy and fun to the celebration.

Puneeth Rajkumar, or Appu, also goes on a journey of his own in the film and encounters a whole gamut of emotions within him along the way. He gets to live the dream of camping in the open wilderness, swimming in and diving merrily into vast waters, riding a not-so-sturdy motorcycle through the jungle, and most importantly, making valiant attempts to overcome his morbid fear of snakes. The superstar actor and producer bares his heart throughout, often looking into the camera and speaking away his thoughts and gently showing us how the whole experience changed him from within. And to make things even more endearing, one finds him often breaking into his quintessential smile and slipping in a cute little remark to diffuse the danger weighing on his mind.

And that’s exactly why Gandhada Gudi, as a visual experience, becomes a bitter-sweet pill to swallow. On one hand, the film is a journey like no other as it traverses many unexplored territories but on the other, it is also a sombre reminder that Puneeth Rajkumar lived life to the brim and looked forward to experiencing everything new with childlike astonishment. His presence is such that one might almost forget that he is not around anymore but in those touching moments, when he speaks of embracing life and carrying these memories into his future, one is sure to find a lump in their throat.

Gandhada Gudi, a title that refers to the 1973 Kannada film of the same name (starring Dr Rajkumar and Dr Vishnuvardhan), is a sincere ode to the land of Karnataka and as much a celebration of the person that was Puneeth Rajkumar. It’s not fan service by any means, and nor does it carry any unnecessary frills related to his stardom, but is an honest exploration of the ethereal beauty that we live amid. There are breathtaking visuals for our eyes to feast on, a spunky soundtrack to set the mood, and a lucid narrative that chooses its own pace and energy. To add to all this, it has the Powerstar himself leading the way and living and sharing his experiences with great gusto. Appu might not be around in person anymore but his ethos shall remain captured forever in this beautiful Gandhada Gudi.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.