Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guru - Movie Review

Like all Mani Ratnams earlier movies, GURU created a big wave of expectation right from the day of its conception.

The expectations grew wider when the rumour mills churned that the story line of GURU is drawing a parallel with the life of industrial Guru Dhirubai Ambani.

Ambani, the industrial mogul who started off as a polyester merchant selling 'saadis', grew his business from a few thousand rupees outfit to a multi-billion dollar empire. Baring, the bad publicity over the 'methods' he used, he was a true champion, the likes of whom helped shape industrial India.

That being said, was GURU just a biographical depiction? No. not at all.
You could call the 'Aviator' a biographical depiction of Hughes. Not GURU.

Manis one-liner for the story could have been 'A poor villager, who grew up and became a big industrialist, like Ambani'.

Abhishek Bachan has turned out to be a true star and GURU will be a milestone in his career, just like how Nayagan was for Kamal Hasan.

Abhishek does the job well. Be it the young Guru who rocks with Mallika in a Turkey club, or the married Guru who romanticizes with Ash in a Bombay apartment, or even the aged Guru bai who is confronted by Mithun about his business ethics. Abhishek gives a stellar performance.
It is a joy to watch him perform Guru bai.

Aishwarya Rai's magic is missing in this movie. She is not suitable to act in an old-age role, yet.
Mani should have fed her well and made her a little plump before shooting the old aged scenes.
Mani may have missed the boat on this one.

Cinematography (Rajiv Menon) was spotless in every frame - Aishwaryas rain dance in a village among the paddy fields and the song celeberating the twins arrival was nicely done.
Mani has a keen eye for song picturisation and with Rajiv as his wing man, GURUs songs were very delightfully done.

Some of the choreography wasn't fresh and not catchy as it should have been.

Enough has been said about A.R.Rahmans scores for GURU. Yes, the songs were brilliant and the backround score was apt. 'Guru bai Guru bai' chant through out the film adds the tempo of the film.
Hariharans 'Eh Hairathe ashiqui' (Gazal type) sprinkled as a background score on many occassions was a good one. Tere Bina (with a cute dhamthana dhamthana chime in the lines of a sufi love song) was a new style song.

Madhavan does his part, but in front of Abhishek's performance he fades away.

Mithun is a very good addition, as Nanaji.

Some supporting actors were amateurish in certain scenes shot in Turkey and some shots in the final moments of the film.

The 2 3/4 hours movie has no 'dull lag'. But, at the same time the details of Guru bai's business growth and all the accusations thrown at him were very cinematic.
It looks like Mani wasn't keen on showing the business nuances of Guru bai to his audiences. Who wants those things anyway?

The final moments where Guru bai defends his motives against harsh allegations with a 4+ minutes dialogue contains the essence of the movie.

Dialogues like 'I am the public' and Guru bais speech, about how he helps the middleclass, to own and grow with his business empire, leaves one with a positive allure towards the man.

GURU will stand out from the crowd and is a mass entertainer.
Is this Manis best ever? arguably, No.
The best is probably yet to come.

What is your take on the movie (if you have watched it)?


Anonymous said...

Nicely written. Did you watch the Hindi or other regional versions?

SurveySan said...

I saw the Hindi version. Regional ones hasnt been released in my part of the world yet.

SurveySan said...

chakpak guys, thanks for the spam.

but, the slide show is neat and I have included it.
Hope you wont inject any advertisement frames in the slide show.

Anonymous said...

No mention about Mallika Sherawats number?

SurveySan said...


What can one say about Mallika Sherwats item number?

She did what she was supposed to do :)

No wonder people are after her with 75 lakhs to get a 30 minutes shake from her. Long live Ma.She.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written.
I have written about the Guru in hindi here

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In his famous story, "How Much Land Does a Man Need?," Tolstoy tells
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of land, finally heard of a wonderful deal in a far-off country. He
travelled to the land of the Bashkirs and negotiated with the village
elder, who seemed a fool. The elder told Pakhom that he could have all
the land he wanted for a thousand rubles a day.

Pakhom did not understand. "What kind of rate is that - a day?" he
asked. "How many acres could that be?"
"We don't reckon your way. We sell by the day. However much you can
walk around in one day will be yours."

When Pakhon expressed that a man can walk around much land in one
day, the elder burst out laughing. "And all of it will be yours!" he
replied. But there was one condition: If Pakhom didn't return to the
starting point by sundown, the money would be forfeited.

Ecstatic, Pakhom spent a sleepless night. Rising at dawn, he went
with the villagers to the top of a hill where the elder put down his
hat. After placing his thousand rubles on top, Pakhom began walking,
digging holes along the way to mark his land. The going was easy and
he thought,"I'll do another three miles and then turn left. The land's
so beautiful here, it would be a pity to miss any."

Pakhom hurried throughout the morning, going out of his way to add
more land. But at noon when he looked back at the hill where he had
began, it was difficult to see the people. Maybe I have gone too far,
he worried, and decided he must begin to make shorter sides. As the
afternoon wore on, the heat was exhausting. By now his bare feet were
cut and bruished, and his legs weakened. He wanted to rest, but it was
out of question.

Pakhom struggled on, walking faster, then running. He worried that he
had been too greedy and his fear made him breathless. On he ran, his
shirt soaked and his throat parched. His lungs were working like a
blacksmith's bellows, his heart beat like a hammer. He was terrified.

All these strain will be the death of me.

Although Pakhom feared death, he couldn't stop. They'd call me an
idiot, he thought. When he was close enough to hear the Bashkirs
cheering, he summoned his last ounce of strength and kept running. As
he finally reached the hill, everything suddenly became dark - the sun
had set. Pakhom groaned. He wanted to stop, but heard the Bashkirs
still cheering him on. He realized that from where he was at the
bottom of the hill, the sun had set - but not for those on top. Pakhom
took a deep breath and rushed up the hill. Reaching the top, he saw
the elder sitting by the hat, laughing his head off. Pakhom's legs
gave way, and he fell forward grasping the cap.

"Oh well done," exclaimed the elder.

"That's a lot of land you've
earned yourself!"

Pakhom's worker ran up and tried to lift his master, but Pakhom was
dead. The worker picked up Pakhom's spade, dug a grave, and buried him
- six feet from head to heel, exactly the amount of land a man needs.


In a modern setting, Pakhom would fit in nicely on Wall Street. Or
Main Street. Perhaps he even stares at us each morning from our
bathroom mirrors. By asking post-mortem questions about Pakhom, let's
see if we can't catch a glimpse of what is wrong with our own lives. And our dreams, which films like Guru shows us.

Pakhom most likely died from a heart attack or a heat stroke brought
on by overexertion. But on another level, did he die of running? Does
this mean that running is bad for you? Of course not. Running is good
for you. Unless, of course, it is too much running. Too much running
can be bad. It can be even fatal.

Did Pakhom die of ambition? Does this mean that wanting land is
unhealthy? No, unless it is too much land. That, too, apparently can kill.

It is not wrong to run, to have ambition, to want a farm, to expand
the farm, to dig holes. Still, Pakhom died. Stone, cold dead. He died
from overload.

Overload is that point when our limits are exceeded. Tolstoy's story (written more than a century before Maniratnam made a movie to glorify a thug who almost bagged the Bharat Ratna)
is a powerful illustration of the reality of limits and the health
implications of exceeding them. The Bashkirs knew that Pakhom's body
had limits - but his greed did not.

In the same way, today many are harming themselves through the
temptation to do more than their limits will allow. Walking, running
and ambition are not necessarily unhealthy. Too much, however, is
universally unhealthy.
Overload is like that. The problem is not with load. The problem is
with over.

Generally speaking loads are a good thing. We would be hopelessly
bored without them. As a matter of fact, even though this is an
anti-overload post, I am a pro-load person. Load is not the enemy.
Overload is.

So if you are enchanted by watching Guru, don't get overloaded ;)

ஹாரி said...

Great movie indeed.

The introduction scene of Madhavan is brilliant. Silent Storm.

Anonymous said...

I just saw this Guru movie today, if you can believe it!!!

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