Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Pulp Figures The Mad Guru

The Guru has reestablished the Thuggee, a murder cult that had been suppressed 50 years previously.

Eduardo Ciannelli portrays the Guru in the film Gunga Din (1939) as a dignified, intelligent, though murderous defender of the Indian people. Ciannelli was an Italian baritone and character actor with a long career in American films, mostly playing gangsters and criminals. The contrasts between the characters of the Guru, Gunga Din, and the Sergeants Three are a whole dissertation on the state of the British Raj - but that is a discussion for another day.

Eduardo Ciannelli as the Guru: "You seem to think warfare an English invention. Have you never heard of Chandragupta Maurya? He slaughtered all the armies left in India by Alexander the Great. India was a mighty nation then while Englishmen still dwelt in caves and painted themselves blue."

The dignity that Ciannelli brings to the role and his monologues about India and the future are in stark contrast to the disciplinary headaches and shortsightedness of the Sergeants Three, and an extent Gunga Din. But every good buddy adventure film needs a villain, and the Guru fits the bill perfectly. For In Her Majesty's Name I am using the profile for Jera, High Priest of Kal that is found in the supplement Sleeping Dragon, Rising Sun.

 "Mad? Mad. Hannibal was mad, Caesar was mad, and Napoleon surely was the maddest of the lot. Ever since time began, they've called mad all the great soldiers in this world. Mad? We shall see what wisdom lies within my madness. For this is but the spring that precedes the flood. From here we roll on. From village to town. From town to mighty city. Ever mounting, ever widening, until at last my wave engulfs all India!"

Pulp Figures pack PBT 24 The Mad Guru perfectly reproduces the atmosphere of this classic character and associates. In addition to the guru there is also a idol of Kali, a body guard, a loyal adherent (sculpted to look like the Guru's son Chota played by Abner Biberman) and a cobra!!! in a basket.

The Kali idol. Unfortunately I managed to get static grass all over it before I sprayed it with a clear flat enamel. Oh well. Still looks great as an accessory to a game.

Chota and a great python in a basket! For Chota I will use the profile of a Thuggee leader (Naib Subedar) from Sleeping Dragon, Rising Sun.

  The menacing bodyguard; also can be used as an excellent leader figure. His profile will be that of the deadly warrior Sardi from Sleeping Dragon, Rising Sun.

I added an old GW Lizard man shield to his back. With his arms crossed, it conveniently covers any straps he uses to carry it on the back - plus it looks menacing!


Next: Pulp Figure Thuggees!


  1. Excellent. Recently rewatched Gunga Din on TCM. Great film and looks like you'll have a campaign already mapped out.

    1. Thanks. We are really looking forward to the game.