Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guru - Not a winner

The quality of his oeuvre, naturally makes one to expect a lot from Mani Ratnam's movies. And in most of his movies he has not disappointed us. But in Guru, his latest release, he is far from meeting such expectations, let alone exceeding it. For all the hype it generated, 'Guru' was a disappointment.

'Guru' starts off well. A young Gurukant Desai(Abhishek Bachan) returns from Turkey to do business back home. After marrying Sujata(Aishwarya) to get the dowry to fund his business (or 'bijiness' as Gurubhai would say), he moves to Bombay to start a textile mill. Barring the initial struggle to get a home in Bombay and acquiring a mill, there is nothing in the film that depicts his struggle to become the big industrialist he turns out to be. It just takes a couple of scenes spanning a couple of minutes for our Gurubhai to turn to a powerful influential industrialist from a small entrepreneur in Bombay. Very Bollywood style.

Then comes his fight against Manikanth(Mithun Chakraborty), the newspaper owner. This story too is half-baked. Madhavan's role as a journalist too is one that probably could have been done away with. His fight against Gurubhai looks too filmy to be credible.

If there was one role in the movie that did not deserve its place in this story, it is that of Vidya Balan. This role, sort of breaks the film's continuity and logic. It makes one wonder, is this a film made by the same director who gave us films like "Nayagan', 'Bombay' and 'Roja'?

When, in the second half, you start to feel the movie has picked up some temp now and you hope for a strong climax, the film ends almost abruptly. Of all the films of Maniji that I have watched, this one has the weakest ending.

The music of A R Rehman has been wasted in this film. "Tera Bina", a wonderful melodious romantic song is used at an inappropriate place. And "Jaage Hain", which had a lot of cinematic promise, is never completely used. Ek-lo-ek-muft was one song which did not have any significance in the scheme of things.

Well, it's not as if this film does not have its moments. The rain-song Barso Re is brilliantly shot and its a treat to watch. Abhishek Bachan's performance stands out. His is a very powerful performance. He makes the character of Gurukant Desai look very real. Watch Guru just for his acting and that of Mithun Chakraborty. Aishwarya Rai too has done well. Camera work, art direction too are really good. Recreation of 1950's-1960's Bombay has been done stunningly well.

With a story that does not fully develop any of the characters, Guru is a movie that any ordinary director could have done. It did not require Mani. It's as if he has left the film's logic to go in disarray. What happened to Mani's amazing directorial skills? Is this film just an aberration? Honestly, I do not know.

That's it for this post. Good night.


Arjun Sharma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arjun Sharma said...

Bravo, sir! You have hit the nail on the head. What a fine analysis of a movie, gentleman!

Sari, let's be serious. With such a great cast and such amazing music and technical perfection, Mani Ratnam could have done as brilliant a job as 'Iruvar' or 'Nayagan.' However, somewhere down the line, he loses his way and the movie ends up not matching the standards set by these earlier movies. Which is unfortunate because Abhishek Bacchan delivers such a great and powerful performance. And Mithun Chakraborty's character is brilliant. The venerable and powerful newspaper head has been played really well. He really should have had more of a role. The movie would have been more effective had the struggle been between him and Guru, rather Madhavan's character. I suppose people would then say it was another 'Iruvar.' But that would have been ok by me!

All in all, great performances, but very ok movie. Hope Mr Ratnam gets back to the form he was in until and including 'Kannatthil mutthamittal.'

swaroop said...

Abhishek was brilliant. Aishwarya was irritating.
The 5 minute dialogue in the courtroom should've been more punching. Dialogues asht chennnaagi effective aagilla anta heLbodu.

Harish said...

[Arjun]Yes, for the good of Indian cinema, Maniji should get back the lost form.

[Swaroop]Aishwarya was ok. Not as bad as you say here.

sneha_april said...

i agree with you. abhishek rules the movie. i expected something close to roja's effect or bombay's packed scenes. both were nowhere in picture. i dont understand iruvar or nayagan. so no comments there...