Film: “Guru”; Director: Mani Ratnam; Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, R. Madhavan, Vidya Balan, Mithun Chakraborty, Sachin Khedekar and Manoj Joshi; Rating: ***1/2
When Mani Ratnam decides to convey something through his films, he usually does it deftly and effectively and with “Guru” once again he succeeds in raising the artistic standards.
In “Guru” Ratnam once more embraces the realistic line and churns out another masterpiece. Among other things, the film set in the post-independence era about a man’s determination to reach the top, also boasts of one of the best performances by Abhishek Bachchan.
Ratnam’s use of real life problems gave him a huge success with the critics in “Dil Se” and “Yuva” but it failed to give him the same success at the box office. This film too may not be a great commercial success, but it is one of the best examples of creativity and up-to-the-mark performances.
“Guru” is apparently inspired by the life and time of industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, the late founder of the Reliance group – India’s largest private sector industrial house.
The film opens in a small village in Gujarat where Gurukant Desai (Abhishek) lives with his family. He is not interested in earning big degrees and instead wants to earn big bucks. He moves to Istanbul to begin his career. His father, a headmaster, is hugely disappointed but allows him to go and thus begins the journey of Guru.
With dreams in his eyes, Guru lands in Istanbul and works his way to the top. But after working hard for seven years he takes a U-turn and returns home to start his own business because he doesn’t want to waste his life serving other people.
The only hurdle between him and his dream is money and he finds the solution in his friend’s sister Sujata (Aishwarya Rai). A restless young girl, jilted in love, finds no suitor but Guru decides to marry her because she will bring money for his business in the form of dowry.
After marriage Guru moves to Mumbai with his wife and brother-in-law. But things are not trouble-free here as Guru faces obstacles created by rich and powerful at each and every step.
Guru, however, is not discouraged – with time he learns to use loopholes in the system and pave a path for himself.
Abhishek is at his creative best in the film. He proves his mettle and makes you sit up and take note. He carries the entire film on his shoulders without faltering even once. Be it his body language or dialogue delivery – Abhishek excels in everything.
Performances by the supporting cast including Mithun Chakraborty, Sachin Khedekar and Manoj Joshi also keep up with him, making it an engrossing flick.
However, Vidya Balan’s presence was not required in the film as she doesn’t serve any purpose. R. Madhavan too is misfit but tolerable.
The sore point of the film is Aishwarya who fails to shed off her stiffness and once again Abhishek and Aishwarya fail to exude the right chemistry on screen.
Mallika Sherawat lives up to the expectations and sizzles the screen in a dance number picturised in Istanbul.
Like many of Ratnam’s previous films, “Guru” too was shot on actual locations. The major portion of the film takes place in Mumbai but the movie is never static, thanks to the superb camerawork of Rajiv Menon and Ratnam’s full control over the narration. Anurag Kashyap’s curt and crisp dialogues are sprinkled with humour.
So, to sum up, “Guru” is worth a watch, at least once.