Atmaram In ‘Guns & Gulaabs,’ Explained: Is Gulshan Devaiah’s Character Immortal?


Guns and Gulaabs is filled with characters. There’s Ganchi Senior, Ganchi Junior, AKA Jugnu, Mahendar, Arjun, Madhu, Jyotsna, Babu Tiger, Tipu Paana, Suneel (and his two similar-looking brothers), Nabeed, Sukanto, Chandralekha, Nannu, Gangu, Ikhlaq, Yamini, SP Mishra, and the list goes on and on. And all of them factor into the plot in one way or another, which is largely about the opium business that goes on in Gulaabganj. Ganchi undertakes the task of delivering a massive amount of that opium to Sukanto within a time span of one month. But things go sideways when he gets grievously injured after taking a tumble down the staircase. So, Jugnu is forced to take over the business, and he tries to include the government’s quota of opium in the amount he’s supposed to send to Sukanto. When that goes nowhere, he tries to join hands with his father’s archenemy, Nabeed. While all this is going on, Arjun tries to get all that opium for himself, sell it to Sukanto, and pay off Prateek because Prateek has some old beef with Arjun and he’ll ruin Arjun’s life if he doesn’t get the money. However, the one person who is having a lot of fun being the middleman between some of these characters is Atmaram.

Spoilers Alert

Atmaram enters the world of Guns and Gulaabs with a bang by killing Babu Tiger and going on the hunt for Tipu. Why? Because that’s what he has been hired to do by Nabeed. While trying to kill Tipu, he ends up killing his friend Suneel. He doesn’t flinch and continues with his attempts to get to Tipu. When he feels that Nabeed is controlling him too much, he kills him too. After enjoying a brief moment of unemployment, he is hired by Prateek’s henchman to kidnap Arjun’s daughter until he gives up the truck full of opium that Arjun intends to give over to Sukanto. That whole thing goes sideways as Nannu, Gangu, Chandralekha, Arjun, and Bunty get involved. But the rest of the characters, as well as the truck full of opium, don’t really matter because Atmaram’s enmity is with Tipu. He is the one who has come closest to killing Atmaram by shooting at his gonads. So, Atmaram wants to ensure that Tipu bites the dust, and Tipu wants to kill Atmaram because he wants to avenge his father as well as Suneel. Despite being hit by Tipu’s truck, Atmaram survives. He goes onto corner Tipu and cuts him up thrice. Before he can land his fourth strike, Tipu pulls out his dad’s gun (which was with Gangu all this time) and shoots down Atmaram.

We learn about Atmaram only in bits and pieces. For example, Mahendar says that Atmaram doesn’t just kill people; he performs a four-step soul separation by slicing the throat (to cleanse the mind), the underarm (to forgive their sins), the belly (to liberate them from the allures of the world), and then stabs them in the gut to send them across the river of souls. He apparently has seven lives (the exact number keeps fluctuating, to be honest), which means that every time someone legitimately tries to kill him, he loses one life and lives on. I am not sure what Raj, D.K., and Suman Kumar are referring to here with Atmaram. My best guess is that he’s the literal incarnation of the seven or eight immortals AKA “Astha Chiranjeevi.” The word “Chiranjeevi” literally translates to those who live long lives. According to ancient Indian literature, Mahabharat, and even the Ramayana, there were seven deities or gods who represented various aspects of mankind: Vyasa, Hanuman, Parashurama, Vibhishana, Ashwatthama, Mahabali, and Kripa. There can be an eighth avatar in the form of Maha Rishi Markandeya. So, that corresponds with Atmaram’s whole seven-lives shtick. As for the soul stuff, “atmaram” is believed to be a piece of bone near the rib cage that doesn’t burn during cremation, and it’s where the “soul” resides. That’s probably why Atmaram sees murder as a process of carrying souls from the realm of the living to the dead instead of a simple contractual kill.

During the penultimate episode of Guns & Gulaabs, Atmaram’s minions ask him point blank about his gimmick, and he does talk about a seer who told him that his seven lives had been pardoned. You can see the markings on his fingers that denote how many lives he has lost and how many he has left. But since it’s limited and he is in the business of getting killed, he keeps revisiting a streetside trickster who sells him different kinds of trinkets that’ll apparently help him avoid death. Technically speaking, they do work because Atmaram keeps averting death. It can also be a case of sheer luck and coincidence, which Atmaram attributes to his “seven lives” and the power of charms that he gets from the trickster. However, since Atmaram is such a superstitious and busy individual, he doesn’t have the time to differentiate between the truth and the lies he has created around himself. I mean, he doesn’t even consider the fact that the people he has gone up against are not that good at fighting back. They miss the vital organs. Some of them are too terrified to even make a move. So, there’s a good possibility that he isn’t immortal, and he’s just going up against the worst professionals in this world of crime. As a side note, I have to point out that Atmaram reveals that he can speak Telugu, which means he has lived a life in Andhra Pradesh, and there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Talking about “eyes,” there’s something supernatural about Atmaram. When he meets that streetside trickster for the first time, his eyes either reflect something red in the background or they literally emanate the color red. The color of Atmaram’s eyes is jet black, as in, you cannot differentiate between the iris and the pupil. If you have seen Gulshan Devaiah in real life or in the movies and shows that he has done, his eyes are a dark shade of brown, but they aren’t black. So he’s either wearing a lens here or they’ve been digitally manipulated. Why? To highlight Atmaram’s sinister nature. He also seems to be wearing prosthetic teeth. But the biggest giveaway is his speed. I had to rewind the moments where he showcased his powers during the hospital shootout.

However, in the final episode, he was running so fast that his movements weren’t visible to the human eye. Nobody else in Guns & Gulaabs does that. There are no explicit hints that the show exists in a supernatural world. It’s just Atmaram who does all this nonsense so that he sticks out, and we can sit here and theorize what’s actually going on with him. Well, since we are guessing, he is Death personified, but he’s not really aware of it or has forgotten about it. If he is unaware, that means Death changes bodies, and this guy is the latest vessel. If he has forgotten that he is Death, it means that he has lived so long that he doesn’t remember his origins. That’s why he thinks he is mortal and has to keep extending his lifeline.

Do I want to know more about Atmaram in the second season of Guns & Gulaabs, especially because he is clearly alive after being shot through the chest or stomach? No, not really. Everything doesn’t need to be explained. Some things should stay mysterious and vague. I want to keep guessing what the true nature of Atmaram is. I want him to be beaten up and brutalized in the most hilarious ways imaginable, and then I want to watch him walk away from it all to live another day. He can be the Kenny (from South Park) of this show. Everything else can be as realistic as possible, except for our friend, Atmaram. What are your thoughts on the character and his adventures in the show? Please watch Guns & Gulaabs on Netflix and share your thoughts with us.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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