Gunda tells the story of an honest man who becomes the target of a vicious gang lord, after inadvertently interfering in a mission. This leads to a cycle of retributive violence, as the young man seeks vengeance for death of father, sister and fiancee.
The movie opens with a scene where two corrupt politicians hire two different crime lords viz. Lambu Aatta and Bulla to kill each other. Lambu Aatta kills one of the accomplices of Bulla and initiates the war, later Bulla settles the score by killing Lambu Aata's brother. Lambu Aatta bounces back by raping and subsequently killing Bulla's sister. Bulla is ultimately able to kill Lambu Aatta and win the war. Now the undisputed leader of the underworld, Bulla is hired by a corrupt politician Bachubhai Bhigona (Deepak Shirke) to murder his rival. Bulla sends his right hand man Kala Shetty (Rami Reddy) to do the job. Shetty successfully commits the murder in front of several gawking policemen, but as soon as he is able to outrun the police he is caught and turned over to the authorities by Shankar (Mithun Chakraborty). Here we are introduced to the protagonist who works as a coolie in a shipyard, and sometimes at the airport. He lives in relative comfort with his policeman father, his sister, Geeta, and a pet monkey called Tinchu. Shankar also has a girlfriend named Ganga, who wants to get married to him as soon as possible but Shankar has bigger things to worry about.
Shankar further enrages Bulla by entering a fighting competition organized by Bulla at the shipyard. Shankar does not enter to win money or fame for himself, but only to win the money so that some other labourer can marry off his daughter. He manages to defeat Bulla's prize fighter. The animosity is raised further when Shankar's father is beaten up by Bulla's goons when his father tries to stop the goons from collecting money from shopkeepers. Shankar reaches the scene and beats Bulla's men.
As revenge, one of Bulla's henchmen, Natte (shortie), abducts Shankar's sister, and tries to molests her. However, she is saved by Gulshan, and she falls in love with Gulshan. But, this turns out to be a scheme by Bulla, as Gulshan marries Geeta and then hands her over to Chuttiya for his pleasure. Bulla gives Chuttiya 'Vitamin Sex' (a likely reference to Viagra, obtained from London, for him to overcome his impotency). However, Geeta dies while being raped by Chuttiya, and he disposes of the body in a jungle. Shankar's monkey, Tinchu sees this and leads Shankar to Bulla's bungalow. Shankar chases Chuttiya to Bulla's doorstep, where he is confronted by Bulla and his henchmen Ibu Hatela (Harish Patel), Pote (Mohan Joshi) and Inspector Kale. Shankar swears revenge on them and then goes his way.
When he learns of his daughter's death, Shankar's father goes mad with grief and threatens Inspector Kale who he blames for being a henchman for Bulla the gangster. After a brief struggle the inspector chokes the old man to death. Shankar meets Bulla and his henchmen and promises them that he will kill all of them in 10 days. On his way back, Shankar finds an abandoned baby girl child, and adopts despite his condition.
Shankar then goes on a rampage and starts killing all of Bulla's accomplices one by one, starting with Gulshan. Shankar finds Ibu Hatela attempting to rape a girl, and beheads him too. However, when he tries to assassinate the politician Bachubhai Bhigona, a sniper from another car kills Bhigona. Shankar is caught and charged for the murder, and is sentenced to a life term in prison. Shankar escapes prison the same night, and goes after Inspector Kale. Shankar is then ambushed by several Kung-fu trained goons with knives, submachine guns and grenades. Shankar thrashes them and kills Kale.
After this, Shankar goes after Chikna, who is employed by Bulla to lure village girls to the city and then force them into prostitution. Before killing Chikna, Shankar learns that the baby girl he adopted was in fact Bulla's illegitimate child.
While Shankar hunts for Pote, Chuttiya and Bulla on the other hand kill his girlfriend Ganga. After killing Pote, Shankar goes to kill Chuttiya. Chuttiya then informs Shankar that he is an impotent & it was his elder brother Bulla who gave him vitamin sex which put him into a frenzy & made him violently rape Shankar's sister. Thus, to take revenge, Shankar castrates Chuttiya & says that this is what he deserves.
In the climatic scene, Bulla and Shankar have a showdown in the shipyard-airport complex. Bulla is backed up by several dozen auto-rickshaws that run helter-skelter and attack Shankar. Shankar takes out a rocket-propelled grenade launcher from the boot of his car and takes down the auto-rickshaws.
The action quickly switches to a coal mine, where Bulla tries to use the adopted baby which he thinks is Shankar's daughter to gain leverage in the fight. Soon Bulla realizes that the baby is his own, he still uses the baby as a shield. Shankar rescues the girl with the help of his monkey, Tinchu. Again the scene switches to airport where Kala Shetty comes with a helicopter to save Bulla. With a brief fight Shankar kills Kala Shetty and finally Bulla.Mithun Chakraborty as Shankar
Mukesh Rishi as Bulla
Ishrat Ali as Lambu Atta
Shakti Kapoor as Chuttiya
Razak Khan as Lucky Chikna
Rami Reddy as Kala Shetty
Harish Patel as Ibu Hatela
Mohan Joshi as Pote
Deepak Shirke as politician Bachubhai Bhigona
Varna Raj as Ganga
Gulshan Rana as Gulshan
Vinod Tripathi as Kundan
- "Tum Bin Jeena Raas Na Aaye" - Sadhana Sargam, Udit Narayan
- "Nasha Nasha Karta Hai" - Anand Raj Anand, Poonam Bhatia
- "Aaj Parayi Hokar Behna Jaye" - Shabbir Kumar
- "Kholi Mere Dil Ki Khali Hai Tu" - Poonam Bhatia, Abhijeet Bhattacharya
- "Teri Aankhon Ka Chal Gaya Jadu" - Kavita Krishnamurthy, Kumar Sanu
Ravi Balakrishnan of The Economic Times states "The Mithun Chakarborthy-starrer has gained a surprising amount of cult popularity over the last year and a half or so, with several adulatory reviews and even fan-sites cropping up. But when we first saw Gunda, back in 2005, a full seven years after its unheralded release in 1998, it was the first any of us had heard of the film or its prolific director, Kanti Shah." Mayank Shekhar of the Mumbai Mirror says that "Gladwell hasn’t seen Gunda (probably, neither have you). He must. He’d be glad. In my living memory, I have yet to notice a more startling revelation of the mysterious ‘tipping point’ anywhere of my social circle. Over the past few months, about four unrelated sources from three parts of the world have asked me if I’d seen Kanti Shah’s Gunda." "Watch Gunda, so that you can say to your grandkids that you were part of the generation that saw it first" says Kamayani Sharma of The ILIKE Times.
According to the latest reports the gross box collections for the movie are estimated to be around Rs. 3.06 crore (30.6 million).
On its release in 1998, the film had to be withdrawn from theaters due to complaints received by the Central Board of Film Certification from college girls who were appalled by the excessive violence, sex and obscenity in the film. The film had earlier been rejected by the Central Board for Film Certification due to use of filthy language and obscenity, it was later passed with an A certificate after the film makers made changes to the film. It was alleged that the version running in theaters prior to the withdrawal was the unedited print.The cases filed from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore have since been withdrawn and the movie has also been cleared
The movie came in highlights after writer and columnist Chetan Bhagat in his Times of India column claimed that contemporary movies have better content than films like Gunda. This drew protests typically on blogs and Twitter amongst Gunda fans. One of the flaws in Bhagat's column as pointed out by a blogger was that Gunda was released in 1998 whereas Chetan Bhagat quoted it to be a movie of the 80's. Gunda fans have strongly reacted against Bhagat's comments, asking him to leave writing books, in the style of a clichéd Hindi movie script.