The film Gandhada Gudi has a special place in Kannada cinema history. Released in 1973, the movie created a new trend and is considered as a milestone in Sandalwood.
Directed by Vijay produced by MP Shankar, Gandhada Gudi is the only film where two stalwarts Dr Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan acted together (rather opposite each other). This was Dr Rajkumar’s 150th movie, and it also gave a turn to Vishnuvardhan’s film career.
Gandhada Gudi is a commercial film about the need to save forests and animals. Of course, there is a family drama woven into the main plot of the film. Rajkumar played the lead role of an efficient and honest forest officer Kumar, who is ready to give his life to put an end to smuggling inside the forest. The honest officer loses his child but still gives his heart and soul to the protection of the forest.
Vishnuvardhan plays the villain by name Anand, who is also the brother of Kumar. But unaware of the fact, as Anand was kidnapped by Raja Venkappanayaka to take revenge against Kumar’s family, both brothers fight each other. Anand grows up in the shadow of Nayaka, who teaches him the trade of smuggling.
However, the film ends on a happy note with the death of villains Anand and Nayaka.
The movie has melodious songs including Naavaduva Nudiye Kannada Nudi which is popularly sound by children of this generation too. The music is composed by the famous Rajan-Nagendra duo. The movie was produced by MP Shankar under the banner Bharani Chitra. Kalpana played the lead female of the movie.
This film was later remade in Telugu as Adavi Ramudu in 1977 and in Hindi as Kartavya in 1979.
The film not only made a sound at the box office but created a permanent divide between the two stalwarts of Kannada cinema- Dr Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan. In an incident similar to Coolie in Hindi, where Amitabh Bachchan was hit by Puneet Issar, here in this movie, in a fight scene, Vishnuvardhan and Rajkumar had to shoot each other. By mistake, Vishnuvardhan was handling a real gun instead of a dummy one. Though this mistake was caused by the assistant who gave the gun to Vushnuvardhan, the rumour spread that he did it on purpose.
Thus this became the last movie where the two actors shared screen space. This even became the reason for a permanent rift between the fans of the two actors. Even to this day, fans of the both the actors, despite the fact that Rajkumar died on 12 April 2006 and Vishnuvardhan on 30 December 2009, still are at loggerheads.
In Photo: Launch of the film Gandhada Gudi. From left: Fight master Shivaiah, Dr Rajkumar, Ramachandra Shastri, Vishnuvardhan, Narasimharaju, director Vijay, producer Veeraswamy Gangappa, assistant director Bengaluru Nagesh.
Photo credit: Pragathi Ashwath Narayana