I liked Guru

Posted: January 14, 2007 in abhishek, aishwarya, guru, mani, mithun, ratnam

Guru turned out to be a very engrossing film. The pace is racy, there is not much footage wasted on meanderings. It keeps you captivated as such.

They have been crying themselves hoarse trying to distance the story from being Dhirubhai Ambani’s biography. Yet, for those who know the minor incidents also, in his life, it is clear that it is indeed, Dhirubhai’s story, almost to a 90% extent! Including the play on Gurubhai as against Dhirubhai (many times, as a spoken word, you think you hear Dhirubhai, when they are calling Gurubhai!).

Irrespective of what the Ambani family thinks of it, his story is a very fascinating saga. Of a man’s determination to overcome all odds, of a genuine rags-to-riches story, where the protagonist knows where he wants to go, from day one. Its not an accident that lands him in a spot – he goes there by purpose! It might have almost looked like a Manmohan Desai fantasy, if we didn’t know better that the story IS of a real person who lived in this world, and not mere fiction. Makes it all the more believable, then.

Mani Ratnam delivers a power packed punch. Its a beautiful narrative. The scenes spread over nearly 50 years time period, look quite authentic, from Turkey to small town Gujarat to early days Mumbai and to the stadia where the AGMs took place. The combination of A R Rehman and Gulzar is a potent one. The music is brilliant, with a couple of pieces getting your feet tapping, even as you are grappling with your popcorn in the multiplex! I refer to the Barso Re and Tere Bina tracks.

Aishwarya is a supporting star at best. She does not have a very challenging role and perhaps agreed to do the film, for Mani Ratnam, and to get that much time together with Abhishek! On the other hand, in a smaller role, Mithun was very impressive. While we may remember him for his more flamboyant and forgettable disco-dancer portrayals, there WAS a Mithun who gave some brilliant performances, in award winning cinema, early in his career. His Guru performance brings back those memories. Madhavan also has a good small role, but Vidya Balan is kind of wasted.

And of course, it was Abhishek’s film, otherwise. We can all see his rapid improvements over the last 2-3 years. From Yuva to Dhoom to Bunty aur Babli to Bluffmaster and the like. But Guru is his best till date. A very challenging role, as it was clear that he had to match Dhirubhai’s nuances to the hilt. The style of walking, talking, looking – everything. Also some very intense scenes, scenes where his face does all the talking. All of these are well executed. Clearly it is a director’s job in bringing out such a performance, and Mani Ratnam does that so well.

If the film can be faulted, it is in the area of not bringing out the “Gujarat” part so well. Whether its the accents or the apparently folk style of music or some culturally specific scenes, it does not really have a genuine Gujarat feel. Just a superficial one. Some of the dances and music that are supposed to be traditionally gujarati, actually feel like they are from South India. Of course this can only be appreciated by Gujaratis. As for the rest of the world, they will not know the difference, and the part will look “folksy” enough (Here is where the Sanjay Leela Bhansali – Ismail Durbar team brought out such richly authentic Gujarat in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam). So in the end, that part does not matter so much!

All in all, a highly recommended watch..

Disclaimer: I saw the film before the official engagement was announced 🙂
The film of course, will pick up more traction, as the engagement comes timely during the first week of the film’s release. J P Dutta might have wished this to have happened when Umrao Jaan was released 😉

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