Cast: Abhishek Bachan, Aishwarya Rai, Mithun, Madhavan, Vidya Balan
Director: Mani Ratnam
Music: A.R. Rahman
Where do I start? Okay let me first sequentialise my thought process...Way too many things that I feel like putting down in this space but at the same time I want to keep it simple and clear...
1) Mani Ratnam
2) The story
There I have it now...So let me start with my first topic...
Mani Ratnam: I have grown up enjoying Mani movies right from Pagal Nilavu to Bombay. Suddenly after he became this International director his story lines shifted from simple family stories narrated with beautiful scripts became lavish movies directed in more than one language. This movie Guru also falls in the category of Mani trying to keep pushing his bloated ego where he thinks people will watch whatever he directs. It did not work with Dil Se and Kannathil Muthamittal and neither did it with Guru.
The Story: There is a huge disclaimer at the very beginning of the story that redeems the movie of any relation to anyone living or dead...so believing that it has nothing to do with Mr. Ambani or Mr. Goenka...it is just a story that Mani himself came up with...So lets see how brilliant and convincing Mani is...
Gurukant Desai (Abhi) is a young lad who goes to Turkey to make some money from a small village called Idhar in Gujrat much against his father's wishes. After a few years of making money working for Shell gas company Guru comes back to India to make it out on his own. Of course his father is against it and Guru does not have enough capital. To solve this problem he decides to marry his best friend's sister who is unwed due to her "tried-to-elope" status. She came with a Rs. 25,000 dowry which would adequately meet Guru's business needs. Guru along with Sujatha (Aish) and her brother Jignesh (??) move to Bombay to start business.
After fighting many hardships and with the help of Nanaji (Mithun Da) Guru makes it big. Guru is the textile barron now and he has many textile mills running helping thousands people. He also makes his company public and people revel in the success of his industry. Everyone knows that Guru is not stepping up the ladder in the fast pace using honest means and when his mentor Nanaji hears about it he does not want to cut his protege any slack. He grooms Shyam Saxena as the heir to his media empire and also tells him to bring down Guru by exposing his misdeeds. Shyam hot on the tracks of Guru manages to do just the same using the newsprint media as his help.
Guru looses the trust of his investors. People blame him for loss of money and life and Guru gravely upset succumbs to a heart attack. With the love and care of his wife Sujatha, Guru slowly fights back only to realize that he has been summoned in front of a special panel of judges to decide what punishment Guru will be meted with. Guru gives a supposedly five minute speech and walks out of the room free...
Acting: Abhishek seems to be the director's actor. Has done a decent job and no complaints about it at all. Mithun though is brilliant in the movie. You can see the years of experience that is not visible in most of the movies cast. Aishwarya should stop acting. She has lost so much weight that she looks gaunt and has lost the charisma. Also, I always never thought she could act and she has not improved for sure. Madhavan surely looks handsome having lost some weight and he is also the director's boy and no complaints about him either. Vidya Balan is wasted in the movie and one wonders how her character affects the story at all.
Direction: Mani has always used the old locomotive train in all his period flick, its like he has some discount to use it.
He is not at all creative when it comes to directing videos. He needs to learn from Shankar. The video for Barso Re reminds you of Chinna Chinna Aasai from Roja and some of the videos are not even worth mentioning. Also what is the deal with the song Ek Lo Ek Muft by Bappi Lahiri? First it is inserted at a time when the movie has already lost its pace and then it is also badly choreographed and sung as well.
The promise in the first half of the movie that the story makes is not fulfilled in the second half. A lot of dialogues are redundant and incomplete. Also the final supposedly five minute punch line of the movie runs into more than six minute and is not at all convincing about why Guru should go free. He should have made the dialogue writers work harder.
The movie in terms of direction is an utter disaster. Mani should stop making formula movies and do something sensible like "Mouna Ragam" or "Agni Natchathiram."
Final Verdict: This movie is an attempt to deliver something old in a new platter. The serving is not only cold but also tasteless. There are many scenes which are incoherent or irrelevant. I hope that we can expect something better than this from Mani. God knows if even Dhirubhai is happy with his life portrayed through Guru!