‘I feel my dog Gunda sent me this script’

‘I feel my dog Gunda sent me this script’

Samyukta Hornad on why her new film ‘Naanu Matthu Gunda’ brings back memories of her pet dog

The actor spent most of her time playing with the dogs when not shooting.

The most important relationship that I have had shared is with my dog Gunda. He passed away a while ago. I had to put him to sleep and that, to me, was the most painful moment.

It was around that time that I got the script of ‘Naanu Matthu Gunda.’ The director said that he was doing a story about the relationship between dogs and human beings and the impact animals have on human beings. Around the same time, I had posted about Gunda on social media. So I thought the script coming to me just then was rather unusual.

In a week’s time, the director came home and narrated the script and when he said the title was ‘Naanu Matthu Gunda’, I didn’t ask him another word and instantly agreed to it. I thought it was a godsend and somewhere, I believed that Gunda sent this for me.

My greatest weakness and my strength is Gunda. I will blindly agree to scripts that have a story written around animals, especially those that are sensitive towards them and make us better human beings.

I must clarify here that this film is not about my story. My character is of someone who hates dogs and how those emotions change is the crux of the story. I had to portray contradictory emotions in the film. I play a girl who doesn’t like dogs. There are scenes in the film where I am screaming at the dogs and asking them to get out of the house. I do everything I can to express my disgust towards them. Portraying these emotions were funny because before giving the shot, I would be sitting with the dogs, feeding them and playing with them and the next minute (during the shot) I would be yelling at them.

Scolding the dogs and behaving rudely with them in one scene and running and hugging them in another, left them confused. The transformation of my character from a dog hater to someone who begins to love them is truly touching. Here, the emotions came naturally to me. It brought back memories of my time spent with Gunda.

The movie also talks about Shivaraju, an auto driver’s relationship with dog Gunda. It shows how animals can bring about remarkable changes in the lives of human beings.

This film also brought two of my passions together — acting and animals. It is an attempt to bring people closer to animals and make them more sensitive towards them. Elsewhere in the world, animals, especially dogs, are treated with a lot of respect. They are used at rehabilitation centres to treat people with mental disorders because they show the kind of love that most humans cannot.

People don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on solving issues related to mental health. All that they need to do is just spend time with animals and they will feel the difference.

Samyukta Hornad