Mukesh Rishi Felt Ashamed During Gunda's Filming


When Gunda, a Kanti Shah film, first released in 1998, it was quick to fade away. But the internet wasn’t going to let such a gem [not really] slip away. More than a decade after its release, the film gained a surprising amount of cult popularity, thanks to several adulatory video reviews and fan pages that have emerged. On his recent visit to Delhi, we caught up with Mukesh Rishi aka Bulla from Gunda about the newfound cult popularity of the 1998 crime thriller.

“I felt ashamed while saying Bulla’s dialogues! There was a mixed feeling of shame and guilt, and I constantly questioned myself why I was doing this in the first place,” said Rishi.

He added, “I was working with actors like Shakti Kapoor and Mithun da, who were already at the peak of their careers. So one such movie wouldn’t have changed their image. But I was fairly new and didn’t want to be taken lightly. I didn’t want people to stop working with me because they thought that this was the kind of content I was capable of.”

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Rishi shared that he is surprised that the movie bounced back the way it did. “I never expected that to happen. The movie wasn’t to well received for its content back then. So the sudden adulation was surprising. But that’s what they say about the internet — nothing really dies [here]. And soon I saw my young fans, especially girls, saying those dialogues like they were something good. That is something I never truly understood,” he said.

“But if anyone has to take credit for it, I’d give it all to the one who wrote the dialogues. Who envisioned them not only surviving that phase of cinema but somehow knew that these lines would stay. It was very intuitive of them.”

Villainy is something Rishi is mostly associated with, and if you ask him his favourite role, he doesn’t think twice before telling us that it is his role as Billa Jilani in Gardish (1993). “That character (Billa) had purpose. He wasn’t the usual villain that just wanted to wreak havoc or do wrong deeds just for the heck of it. He wanted something and wouldn’t let anything get in the way. If you didn’t interfere in his plan, he’d stay away,” said Rishi.

He added that he wasn’t too impressed with the decline of the villains in Bollywood but sees a change now. “Villains are as important as the hero. Without the right villain, the hero isn’t heroic enough. We, at one point, had such great villains with shades of grey and a compelling story around them. But Bollywood did see a decline when villains were nothing but aimless goons who had no real purpose to them. Things are changing again, and we’ve had some great villains now. That makes me really happy.”

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