Film Review: Guru

Film: Guru

Director: Mani Ratnam

Cast: Mithun Chakaborty, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, R Madhavan, Vidya Balan

Rating: 4/5

This is the week you are just glad to have the option of watching a movie that does not bore you or kill you. Guru has released all over. There is film and there is cinema, Guru is the latter. A cinema that has truly raised the bar of what Bollywood cinemas should aim to be.

Guru set in the 50’s till the 90’s orbits around the life of Gurukant Desai (Abhishek Bachchan) a middle class man with the dream of making it big in life, a dream of being better than the best.

In the beginning Gurukant Desai approaches his father to tell him that he has decided to start his own business in the textile industry. But with a refusal from his father he decides to go ahead with his plan and thinks of an ingenious way to amass the money needed to set up his business. He decides to marry Sujata (the flawless and gorgeous Aishwarya Rai), as she would bring with her a dowry of Rs 25,000, which would be sufficient to make a small beginning. Convincing her parents and Sujata, who is bummed because the love of her life decided to betray her and leave her stranded (he must be crazy to leave her), Gurukant successfully marries her and now has the money to start off his business.

With their bags packed, the newlyweds leave for Bombay (Mumbai) to start a new life and a new business. On reaching and trying a thing or two to start his business Guru realizes that things were not going to be easy. With his traders license application rejected, a sad Guru finds himself wandering on Marine Drive cursing the union leader who rejected his application in spite of promising to look into the matter and getting it approved.

At this point Mr. Das Gupta (Mithun Chakraborty) who is walking his dog overhears Guru; impressed with him he gets Guru a trader’s license (still figuring how though). With the license in place, Guru marks his beginning and begins to grow strong. So much so that he manages to reopen the trade market by blackmailing and pressurizing the IAS officer who shuts the trade market by declaring it as a place of gambling.

Sujata, who throughout essays her character remarkably reminding the viewers of her performance in Iruvar (her debut movie), forms the backbone for Guru’s success. With great profits Guru sets up a textile factory, soon emerging as a high roller in society with tremendous support from the public.

Sudden growth leads to a gradual fall… the same was true for Guru. Strong and undeterred by his surroundings, he was the business king but as luck would have it his move of killing competition by publicizing their negativity gets Mr Das Gupta angry.

Thereon the war of right against the wrong beings. Shyam (R Madhavan) is appointed to snoop around and uncover the truth of Guru’s instant success. Guru, still undeterred, finds ways to grow till things get out of hand and finds himself among a group of unhappy employees and share holders.

With reports blown out of proportion in the newspapers, Guru succumbs to the negativity and is paralyzed. Now in the hospital with nothing more than Sujata’s support, Guru is slowly recovering but the final blow occurs when he is summoned to the court and is set to be tried for all his business malpractice.

Unable to speak, paralyzed and shaken all he has for defense is his will to succeed. On the day of the hearing the panel of judges charge him with unfair trade practices, but with faith in himself he stands up to them and confronts them with his version of the truth. In typical ‘filmi’ style he accuses them of holding back growth of a nation and blames them for the extensive reliance on imported goods. With this over empowering speech, he gathers once again the support of the public and the judges see him as not a thug but a hero. The final verdict declares Guru free of all charges and orders him to pay a fine of a few lakh rupees.

What is remarkable is not only the story but also the way it has been narrated, the film is stylistic and beautiful. Each frame is well constructed and well executed. For all those who wrote off Abhishek and Aishwarya’s pairing, it is time you eat your own words as they not only share an amazing chemistry but also do complete justice to their characters. The only injustice done was to Minu (Vidya Balan) who is of no significance to the movie but still manages to do a remarkable job.

Here’s hoping that Mani Ratnam will continue to set the bar higher each time.

Sanjay Ram

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