14 January 2007

Guru : tale of a dreamer

Yesterday I saw Mani Ratnam’s Guru at Urvashi with Ajay and Manish(on vacation, doing MS in US). When the movie released I wasn’t sure that I would be able to see the movie in first weekend, but thanks to Ajaysimha for materializing the same.

Guru is a cinematic tale of ‘Gurukanth Desai’[Abhishek Bachchan] who is a ‘villager, visionary, dreamer’, dares to turn his grand dreams into reality. On the other side he is a ‘manipulator’, who uses morally questionable means to achieve his goals.

The story that starts in 1950s and ends in 1990s is more or less based on the life of late industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani and similarities can’t be dismissed as 'coincidence'(as mentioned in disclaimer). After flunking in school exams teenager Gurukanth goes to Turkey to work in an oil company (Shell). Side by side he learns about commodity business. Impressed by his work company promotes him but he turns down the offer and returns to India. He plans to start his own business against his father’s wishes. He chooses his bride ‘Sujatha’[Aishwarya Rai] after weighing the dowry she’ll fetch. Using money received in the dowry as investment he enters into textile market. He starts his own factory Shakthi polyester by rasing capital through public issue. Later, the venture turns into ‘Shakthi Corporation’ as Gurukanth enters into businesses such as petroleum.

In the process of turning dreams into reality Gurukanth faces many obstacles. One of them is Manik Dasgupta (or Nanaji), a Gandhian, a media baron, played Mithun Chakravarthy. Intially he was guide to Guru and helps his voice to reach the public through his newpaper, later he turns his enemy as Guru treads the path of honesty to materialize his dreams. Sharad Saxena[Madhavan] the editor of Manik’s newspaper tries all possible means to unmask the deeds of Guru, the manipulator.

Like many Mani Ratnam’s movie in which other than central plot there is a love story. Sujatha, the wife of Gurukanth Desai, becomes the greatest strength of her husband after initial hiccups in the marriage. She stands by him in times of failure, and despair. He knows even if the whole world turns against him, Sujatha will be there by his side.

Coming to the performaces, Abhishek has played the role of protagonist with sincerity. This role definitely will be his ‘showcase role’ and his best performance so far. The character Sujatha played by Aishwarya is very different from irritating Sunehri (a daredevil thief and a mole in a tight leather suit) in Dhoom:2. After seeing Aishwarya’s performance in Guru, it can be safely said here that she’s truly a director's actress[3]. Mithun and Madhavan have done justice to their role. Vidya Balan's character Meenu doesn't have much impact in the narrative. Apart from smooching sequence, she is just a spectator in many sequences. Roshan Seth (who has played role of Nehru in many serials) makes an impact, as the head of enquiry commision.

From opening credits to end roll there is some uniqueness in the movie. All departments blend together seamlessly and no one department stands out from among the others[3]. It would be unfair to mention about some departments, but I can’t resist myself by mentioning about Vijay Krishna Acharya's dialogues.
- "Jab log tumhare khilaaf bolne lage samaj lo taraqqi kar rahe ho".
- "Ladna hai to Gurukant Desai banke lado magar guru kant desai to ek hi hai!!"
- "Main ek baniya hoon .. is time ke liye awaz bacah ke rakhi thi."
- "5 minute diya tha, saade 4 mein khatam kar diya. 30 second ka munafa".

AR Rehman’s versatile music is good and Mani Ratnam’s uses it skillfully to be part of the narrative, whether its Mallika Sherawat's ballet ‘Maiyya Maiyya’ set in Turkey, or Aishwarya's introduction number ‘Barso Re’. Rajiv Menon’s cinematography is other plus point of the movie. He has captured four decades in an imaginative way. The places around Bagalkot are looking so good on the screen. It is definitely a boost to tourism in North Karnataka region.

Of all the scenes, the climax monologue of Abhishek in front of enquiry commission stands out. The scenes reminds me Di Caprio’s monologue in Martin Scorsese’s Aviator. This one is made more superior with excellent camerawork and dialogues, which enhances the intensity of the sequence. In theatre many people were clapping when lines were delivered by paralytic Gurukanth.

Guru is unlike Mani Ratnam’s last two Hindi movies ‘Yuva’ and ‘Dil Se’, which being technically perfect, failed to connect to the audience. This movie awakens our inner conscience. After seeing the movie many of us will be motivated be an entrepreneur. If determined everyone can achieve their goal in spite of obstacles.

1. Wikipedia: Guru (2007 film)
2. India FM - Taran Adarsh: The review - Guru : 4 stars.
3. CNN-IBN: Masand's Vedict : 4 stars : How many times have you felt that a film hasn't worked for you, but the camerawork really impressed you? Or the music stood out? The thing about Guru and about most films by Mani Ratnam is the consistency in its technical quality.
4. Deccan Herald: Movie Review - Guru : No Rating.
5. Andhra Cafe: Guru - Hindi Movie Review : 3 and 1/2 stars.
6. Zee News: Guru: Ratnam excels again :


  1. Anonymous6:23 PM

    Guru is really a good movie which has brought out the best acting from Abhishek.....
    Abhi's and Ash's chemistry is too good in this movie.....The climax is also very good.....but Vidya balan's role has nothing to do in this movie and a waste in my opinion.....

  2. Hi Sandeep,

    This is the most comprehensive review of the movie by you so far.

    And why dont you start your own ratings? :)

  3. i am not sure if u can enjoy the movie/place if u r a critic

  4. Hey Chandeaux (French for shande),

    I must say it wouldn't be long before the movie producers will call you for the premier ! Nice review, you've got an eye for detail and this reflects in your blogs. In future archaeological sites Shande's Blogs will definitely stand out :-)

    Regarding the comparison to Ambani, did he too have a beau such as Aishwarya Rai as his wife ? He had Aishwarya (wealth) for sure !

    "Comments are free but facts are sacred"