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Guru Review

Guru
EDITOR RATING
6.0
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suggestions
Can watch again
NA
Good for kids
NA
Good for dates
NA
Wait to rent it
NA
How much you enjoy a film depends perhaps lesser on how well it is made, and more on what expectations you went inside with. Any movie that equals or exceeds your expectations is a good film. Mani Ratnam will perhaps forever be battling this functioning of the human mind. The expectations are always high, and what becomes a good film if someone else made it would be just standard or expected if Mani Ratnam makes it. He has to be exceptional each time.

Guru, however, is not a great film even without that prism on. It's not tender or about human emotions like Anjali, Amrutha or Geetanjali, and it is not a gripping entertainer like Dalapati, Nayakudu or Roja. It is a story set in a business milieu in India that you'd best not be reminded of - the pre-liberalization license-permit-quota raj. It's slow, it's not really slick or fleshed out well, and it doesn't show you the things that you really want to see. It's just an ordinarily narrated story of a successful businessman.

Mani Ratnam has been talking a lot about how his film is not inspired by the story of a certain businessman. Banish any such thought from your head - it is 100% inspired by him. And the counsel for the defence is the country's most respected filmmaker. Not that there is anything wrong with it, especially when the plaintiff is the government. It is just that this is not a film that focuses on what you want to know about him, what you want to learn from him.

Gurukant Desai (Abhishek Bachchan) is a school failure from Idhar village in Gujarat, who leaves for Turkey in 1951 to work, and learns the ropes of the petrol/textile business there as he works for a European company for 13 years. He then returns to India to start his own business, and for lack of capital, offers to marry his friend's sister Sujatha (Aishwarya Rai) without even seeing her, so he can get the dowry.

He tries to enter fabric trading, but finds that the reins to entry are held by some very rich people. With help from Manikdas Gupta (Mithun Chakravarthy), an honest newspaper editor who likes this enterprising youngster, he breaks into that quasi-oligarchy, and there's no turning back anymore.

He soon gets into production of the cloth that he is trading, starting Shakti Polyestor with money raised from the capital markets through public issues. The company grows at a phenomenal pace, and Gurubhai, as he's known now, becomes the most prominent businessman in India. The next logical step is entering petrochemical manufacturing, and sure enough, his vertical integration takes him there too. If the movie were a reel longer, we'd have been talking oil exploration too. Sure, all characters are fictitious.

However, his own mentor, Manikdas Gupta, starts hitting back at Gurubhai when he realizes that the latter is extremely unscrupulous in his dealings. A young journalist with Gupta, Shyam Saxena (Madhavan), dedicates himself to bringing Gurubhai down, and sees significant success with time as eventually Gurubhai's businesses are shut down. And when his 30 lakh hitherto hero-worshipping shareholders turn irate, Guru suffers a paralytic attack.

What you would want to see in the tale of a highly successful businessman is the genius that takes him there. Guru glosses over all that - the number of factories just multiplies in 10 seconds, and there is no reference to the hurdles, the risks, the people-handling skills, the thinking-on-the-feet, the ethical dilemmas that feature in the process. The film looks more like a wikipedia page on the character rather than an insight into what it takes to build an empire. And at no stage is it a page-turner.

If that is not the intended payoff, then it's hard to say what is. The relationships are all either rationed or forced in. It's a moot point just why Vidya Balan is in the film (she plays a handicapped girl). For most of the film, Aishwarya Rai is like the First Lady of a state - she's visible, but doing nothing significant.

Guru argues his case in the end to a judicial commission as that of a person stifled by a corrupt bureaucracy, a man who did what he had to do to be able to do business, to grow fast. If you've seen The Aviator, you can't avoid some comparison. The Aviator dealt with a brief period in the life of billionaire Howard Hughes, and ends similarly, but had much more depth in characterization.

At the end of 2 hours and 45 minutes of Guru, however, you don't feel much pathos for Gurukant Desai any which way - he's too blurred, and your sympathy for him doesn't go beyond what you feel naturally for the hero of any movie. Also, why does the commission let him go on the basis of a mere senti speech?

Abhishek Bachchan cannot bring much intensity to Guru - it's hard to say if that is his fault or that of the script. Maybe the emoting came out the way it was intended to, but, well, it doesn't do much in terms of being impactful.

Aishwarya is good in what she's needed to do. Mithun Chakravarthy is a pleasure to watch in roles befitting his age, and this is one. All other performances are good, as they always are in Mani Ratnam films. The music by A R Rahman is not run-of-the-mill, and we'll stop there. And the period look comes out fairly well in the film.

Guru is worth a watch if you are a fan of anything with Mani Ratnam's minimum standards. It's certainly not his best, and it's hard to be as emphatic about the other extreme.
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GURU SNAPSHOT
Guru (hindi) reviews
USER RATING
8.1
188 USERS
RATE
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mithun Chakravarthy, Madhavan, Vidya Balan, Mallika Sherawat, Roshan Seth, Arya Babbar
    1 user says this is wrong.
  • Music
    A R Rahman
    1 user says this is wrong.
  • Director
    Mani Ratnam
    1 user says this is wrong.
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
    1 user says this is wrong.
GURU USER REVIEWS
1 - 15 OF 15 COMMENTS
POSITIVE  |  NEGATIVE |  NEWEST  |  OLDEST  |  MOST HELPFUL  |  LEAST HELPFUL
USER RATING
8.1
188 USERS
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait to rent it - NA
Annamayya Tallapaka on 2nd Feb 2007, 12:30am | Permalink
great movie
RATING
10
Meena on 20th Jan 2007, 3:34am | Permalink
This is the comment about you above comment. I am not a Hyderabadi.. and never was one. And so are many others. So these reviews are not just the the "Hyderabadis". Or , are you jusfying your site's url and saying anybody who visits this site is a hyderabadi..??
Not true.
RATING
2
S F on 20th Jan 2007, 3:19am | Permalink
Awsome Movie ! I have always been a fan of Mani and A.R. Abhishek should not loose the momentem now and never accept works that he did in D:2. Good Job Doen by Aby and to be honest each person in this movie have done a great job. Congratulations to the whole Unit and the Team for this Success.
RATING
8
Surendra Talari on 19th Jan 2007, 4:35pm | Permalink
The movie is so good.Abhishek has reached height in acting with this film
RATING
8
Sam Rat on 17th Jan 2007, 1:29pm | Permalink
I did not write this review!
RATING
10
Satya on 16th Jan 2007, 3:17am | Permalink
I would like to agree with almost everything that this reviewer has said about this movie. My only point of diagreement is.. well.. lol... Wikipedia has more information about DhiruBhai.. so plz dont insult it by comparing it to this pretty ordinary movie.

Well what hurts the most is the fact that.. why does somebody like Mani Rathnam settle with Mediocrity... I hoinestly felt fopr the first time that I a part time writer could have done more justice to the movie than what he did...

I would'nt blame AB or Rai (infact i think for the first time she was brilliant).. they did their roles well.. but the script was pathetic... the first 4 pages of Business Maharaja by Gita Parmal is a better script than what was put on show.

The reason behind the drunken song i will never know... all the whiole watching that song i was thinking i could use these 5-7 mins to show soo much more about Dhiru... oops i eman Guru Bhai.

More than a tad disaapointed.
RATING
4
Murali on 15th Jan 2007, 5:41pm | Permalink
Some of the points raised by reviewer were right like...there was no ncessity of vidya balan's role. and in the end based on his guru's lecture they let him free onmost charges...otherwise movie is good and first time we have seen abhishek as an actor..Good movie with less entertainment values
RATING
6
Aishwarya Mantha on 14th Jan 2007, 12:48am | Permalink
First,Why can't readers have the option of giving 0.5, 1.5,2.5,3.5 or 4.5 stars?

I would like to give it 3.5 stars. It is really nice movie. Ofcourse, some emphasis should've been placed on the struggle rather than the result. That would've been inspiring. But director chose to do it in a different way. See, that's the difference between Mani and otehr directors, I s'pose. While everyone wouldv'e emphasized on the struggle, his aim was to showcase the subtlities of relationships, I esp liked stepmother-son relationship and ofcourse, the husband-wife one as well. Some superb performances. What really put me off was the climax. It seemd to me that Abhi did a shoddy job. Could be that dialogues weren't well written. Failed to create an impact. See, that had all the potential to be one of the best scenes of Indian cinema, but ended up being a huge disappointment.
Other than that, there were a few technical flaws in the movie (will put it up on the discussion board soemtime soon).

Also, the reason why I liked the movie is because of the review. I trust fullhyd review to quite an extent and went with low expectations. And I was pleasantly surprised. So, thank you for that :) (same happened with RDB as well!)

Overall, the cinematography is awesome9will get an award). Music is fantastic (esp the background score, may not, Dhoom2 will get it. Wired beats pissed?). very good acting; Mithun da is superb (Do a wiki on him and you will like him more. He will definetly get best supporting actor. May be even National award for that) Ash looks pretty and acted well. Abhishek overacted in few scenes and in others reminded me of Sr Bachchan. Although this isn't his finest performance, it is very commendable, nonetheless (Nomination is there for sure). Vidya balan did the needful (again nominated for best supporting actress, political reasons I suppose). Madhavan looks yummy, esp after losing so much weight but was wasted! Good direction, but not the best. This movie will get a few awards, but certainly not for the direction.
RATING
6
Sri Hari on 13th Jan 2007, 10:26pm | Permalink
This reviewer is certainly biased against good cinema first it was RDB now its time for him to give a bad review for GURU, which i sincerely think is an astounding film both in terms direction and acting.I hope people won't get dissuaded from watching such a beautiful and well made cinema.As for the reviewer i have my own doubts ...........
RATING
8
Truman Burbank on 13th Jan 2007, 9:41pm | Permalink
I think the reviewer had a bad experience before going to the movie... may be had a quarrel with spouse or had to pay challan somewhere... the movie was perfect.. dont know whats his problem
RATING
8
Aamchi Hyd on 13th Jan 2007, 11:59am | Permalink
Almost all points made in the review are correct, except for the one criticizing Abhishek's performance. He came into his own in Yuva, then messed it up with over-confidence in Dhoom 2, but is back with a fairly decent performance again with Guru.
RATING
6
Wired Beats on 13th Jan 2007, 11:02am | Permalink
Who wrote this review?
RATING
8
Pedda Matham on 13th Jan 2007, 9:57am | Permalink
Very good review this was... liked it a lot. Che's!
RATING
6
Meena G on 13th Jan 2007, 3:35am | Permalink
I have not seen movie. But read your review and really liked it. Yes, I would have wanted to know what went on inside a man who built such a huge empire, how he overcame his moral, legal, beurocratic hurdles. If the movie does not show that.. then it would be dull. Very good review indeed.
RATING
6
Tarachand on 13th Jan 2007, 12:59am | Permalink
mani direction,abhi action,rajiv menon cinematography.
RATING
8
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