Some Personal Notes On Guru

February 08, 2007
Sanket Vyas

As hype goes, Guru certainly had its share of it and for good reason. It was made by one of the most pre-eminent directors of our day (Mani Ratnam), with music by one of the industry's finest composers (A.R. Rahman), lyrics penned by a legendary poet (Gulzar) and of course headlined by the hottest movie star couple of the day on and off-screen (Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai).

The result?

A potentially great movie that ultimately collapsed under the weight of its own ambition. The movie is loosely based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani and tells the story of how an ordinary man became one of the richest and most powerful men in India. The performance of Abishek Bachchan was very good as he completely disappeared into the role (looking eerily like Hollywood actor Alfred Molina). However the finest acting job was by none other than the 'Disco Dancer' star himself, Mithun Chakraborty. His role in the film was unlike any he had undertaken before and served as a validation of his long and storied career in Bollywood.

But while the plot was intriguing, the story did not flow, and in the end, the audience was left with more questions than answers.

In the final analysis I would recommend this movie not because it was a great film but because it touched me in a very personal way. It allowed me to experience the India of my parents' youth and my imagination. The uncrowded and unpolluted streets, the fields being tilled by hand, the smattering of my native Gujarati being spoken every so often and the simple way of life uncluttered by the litany of modern conveniences.

The train station scene in which Guru is being seen off by his family was particularly affecting for me as it took me back to what it must have been for my father when he came to America.

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The picture above is of that actual day in 1971 when he did and that is me he is holding. My mother is to his left and surrounding him are various friends that we keep in touch with till this day. The look in his eyes says it all (much as Guru's did in the film) - that dreams are not worth having unless you are willing to go out and live them.

As for the songs, "Barso Re" depicts the India of that era so very nostalgically and gives Aishwarya her signature song for the movie. The other song of note is "Tere Bina" and is used throughout the movie at various points. It's background vocals are sung by none other than A.R. Rahman himself and it is easily the best song on the entire soundtrack.

Sanket Vyas is a 2nd generation Indian whose day job of Forensic Psychiatry enables him to pursue his true calling in life - sharing his love of Desi Music with the world. Listen to songs on the jukebox on his site while learning a bit about the music itself.
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February 8, 2007
11:14 AM

i thought the hariharan song was the best. the theme song was wonderful too! anybody who understood the entire lyrics?

February 9, 2007
02:03 AM

Yes...indeed...Mithun Ckaraborty's performance was the best and unforgettable....he should get an award for this role.

February 9, 2007
07:15 AM

Performance of Abhishek Bachchan is the best in the movie, muich better than Mithun. Abhishek immersed his personality so much in the character that we are unable to detect the real Abhishek. And behind this performance stands the magic touch of Mani Ratnam.

Moreover we must keep in mind that Mani Rantnam had no plan to make a documentary on Dhirunhai Ambani. Though Dhirubhai may be the inspiration. Thus we should not make any comparison between Dhirubhai or Gurubhai. Then we find that, despite having some flaws, it is a wonderful movie and must win at least half a dozen awards next year.

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