Monday, January 15, 2007

Guru, गुरू: This is not a review

Went to see Mani Ratnam's "Guru" last evening (with apologies to sasgirl, I'll explain later). It had its World Premier at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto, Thursday night and just about everybody was talking about it. I had been listening to its super soundtrack all month long and was eager to see how the songs had been picturised for the screen, I also wanted to see Abhishek Bachchan play the role of a country bumpkin- turned- big industrialist. I had heard whispers that he had done an outstanding job and wasn't disappointed. He plays Guruchand Desai (whose story bears an uncanny likeness to that of Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani, although the "Guru" camp forcefully denies it) from a young man of 16 years with huge ambitions to make it big even if it meant sometimes using morally questionable means to get his way, to an established,wealthy industrialist of 60 years and he (Abhishek Bachchan) truly does an outstanding job.

He was required to put on weight for the role and like a true actor he manufactured for himself a splendid potbelly which he took great pride in showing off through the movie. Sujatha, Guru's supportive wife, was played by Aiswarya Rai and I was so grateful they played down the glamor and made her look like any young village belle. It became easy to relate to her and definitely made her role more believable.

(pic courtesy: India FM)

Unfortunately, with my limited knowledge of cinema, I cannot wax eloquent about the storyline,cinematography or even the photography, but I will say this is an inspiring movie....Abhishek Bachchan's powerful performance will wow you and his rousing speech at the end will inspire all young entrepreneurs to go forth with their dreams. Aiswarya's quiet and dignified performance will also earn laurels I am sure. Their love scenes, although playful are very endearing and beautiful to watch.

With regard to the song picturisations (the real reason I went to see the movie), I enjoyed what Ratnam did with "Barso Re" and "Ek Lo, Ek Muft", but I think AR Rehman's beautiful "Tere Bina" could have used much better treatment. Anyone here seen it? Agree? Disagree?

Since this is just a blather and not a review, I feel it incumbent upon me to point you to a proper review - so rollerblade to Brangan's blog "Blogical Conclusion" to read his terrific and detailed review. I'm also waiting for Motorama to write his, but because he wasn't completely floored by the movie, I have the feeling he might deny us the pleasure. :)


Sanjay said...

Sounds neat, but you won't catch me watching this one for reasons I might have mentioned before. ;-)
I can't even finish my rentals from Netflix or from our local library.
Anyways there was a piece in the NY Times about the NY premiere of this movie. I cannot find it online. But there is a review.
Oh and they got engaged too.

Lotus Reads said...

lol, Sanjay we will make a convert of you yet! :)

Thanks very much for the link to the NYTimes review...oh, and yes, the Indian media have been covering the engagement non-stop since Sunday evening - wish they would stop!!!

Sanjay said...

@Lotus.. good luck trying. :). The Indian media covering this is no surprise I guess. The only reason I found out was cos I went looking for the news article about the NY premiere. I guess this means she is not serious about a possible shot at Hollywood eh?

Asha said...

They got engaged on Sunday,it was on BBC World news!!:))

Lucky you,I don't get to see it unless on DVD.But I have seen those songs on B4U music which we have!She looks great.Good luck to her,atlast she found one who is not on steroid!:D

gautami tripathy said...

WEll, she might be on steroid then!


Lotus Reads said...

hi again Sanjay well, I guess with "Bride and Prejudice" and "Mistress of Spices" she has ventured out of Bollywood, but about Hollywood, I have no clue what her aspirations are. Should be interesting to see if, like Kajol, she goes on a long hiatus after the wedding.

LOL Asha Not to mention, someone who has all his own hair! ;)

Gautami you think? :)

Sugarlips said...

Its out?????
I have seen the glimpses & loved the sound track & my fav. song is "tere bina".
Can't wait to watch :)
I mean Abhishek lol.

Stay Beautiful..!!

Parth said...

I saw it and enjoyed it, though I am also part of the bandwagon that isn' floored by it. I think the actors did better than the director.

Lotus Reads said...

hi Sugarlips lol, well, this is not Abhishek looking his most glamorous but it's definitely his best work as an actor. I LOVE the soundtrack, too! Like you, my favorite is "Tere Bina" closely followed by the Bappi Lahiri bhang number, "Ek Lo, Ek Muft" it!

Hi Parth I know this might come as a bit of a surprise but this is my first Mani Ratnam movie - yeah, I missed seeing "Roja" "Yuva", "Dil Se" and even "Bombay" so I guess I walked into "Guru" without the expectations of one who knows his films well.

What did you think of the song picturisations? I'm dying to know!

Chakpak Guru, Eklavya Image Gallery said...

We are pleased to announce the launch of 'Chakpak Picture Gallery Widgets - beta' . Movie Picture Gallery Widgets are small HTML scriptlets which you can copy to your blog and they show nifty picture gallery for the configured movie. They are a neat addition to your blog entry.

It looks like you are a movie buff, and frequently blog about movies. These Picture Gallery Widgets would be a great addition to the movie reviews that you write.

To start just go to Find the widget which you like. Copy the HTML scriptlet and replace the MOVIE_ID by the actual movie-id.

We hope you like them. Please send us any feedback on the widgets and help us improve the widgets further.

Chakpak Team

Anali said...

I read about the engagement on Yahoo! That is going to be quite a wedding!

booklogged said...

Sounds like a good movie. My interest was captured by the poster. I like the mass of people in the rain cover and protecting themselves with their umbrellas and the single man, with upturned face, standing alone in the rain. I'm wondering at the symbolism and is it depicted in the movie?

I did notice that our Blockbuster had Water, so maybe they will have this movie when it is released on DVD.

beenzzz said...

Abhishek resembles his father, but a much better looking version of him! LOL!!! I'm glad they down played Ashwariya's glamour for the movie. If they hadn't, it would not have been believable at all! It's about time she married, being "the most beautiful woman in the world" and everything. :))
I must see this movie.

Lotus Reads said...

hi Anali! Gosh, yes, this celebrity wedding will be to India what Charles and Di's wedding was to the UK. The week of the wedding I will dread tuning in to any of the Indian news channels!

hi Booklogged That's such a great observation you made from looking at the poster! Yes, I guess it's meant to symbolise that as a man, Guru always thought outside the box, doing things differently from most people and being successful at everything he did. He had the courage of his convictions and wasn't afraid of much.

Hi Beenzzz! lol, yes, it is high time she married, but being the most beautiful woman in the world and knowing that she is revered and worshipped by so many people the world over, Abhishek is never going to know a moment's peace. Call me silly, lol, but I don't know if I would be comfortable if my love was the object of desire of so many people! ;)

Aarti said...

You know, I don't like Abhishek and Aishwarya as a couple. I think Aishwarya is really very ditzy (at least, in her interviews), whereas Abhishek seems really witty and intelligent. Aishwarya just gets on my nerves for some reason.

I have heard the songs for this movie, but only really remember liking one straight off the bat. Maybe after watching the movie, I'll like them more :-) The settings and costumes alone seem worth the 3 hour commitment!

Lotus Reads said...

Aarti! You're back! How was Egypt? I'm not an Aish fan either although I will grudgingly admit that Mani extracted a fine performance from her in 'Guru'. Guess she's a director's actress. In her interviews she comes across as superficial, but I guess she has just learned to internalize her true feelings and emotions because she is scrutinized so much. Being touted as the world's most beautiful woman, is a heavy crown to wear...I wouldn't want to have it even if it was for free.

Would love to know what you think after you see the movie!

Lotus Reads said...

Thank you, Chakpak, for the widgets. They work perfectly!

jacob said...

is abhishek really method acting? that's cool. i don't know of anybody except naseeruddin shah, faroukh sheikh, om puri and kamal hasan doing that. thanks for the info. got to watch 'guru' then, eh?

Anonymous said...

No worries Lotus! I'll probably end up it seeing with my MIL. :)

Thanks for your post, now I know it's worth seeing! I like to know before-hand if it's worth the $10 before I see any movie. :)

And I can imagine the chemistry between the two...I definitely saw it in Umrao Jaan!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Jacob! Yup, I think this performance by Abhishek is a powerful one and on par with some of the better acting performances we've seen in Bollywood. It's been a while since I've seen a Kamala Hassan movie - do you have any recent ones to recommend?

hi Sasgirl A thousand apologies! I know we were supposed to go together but I got bitten badly by the "Guru" bug on the weekend and just HAD to go! All my friends are mad at me! lol I'll have to do something soon to redeem myself! :) Thanks for understanding, do let me know what you think of the movie.

Anocturne said...

hey, all I want to know is how you did that flashing picture thing on your post?!!! it's pretty cool!

Lotus Reads said...

Is that all you want to talk about? Aren't you going to say something about my fabulous non-review? :)))

Actually those are widgets and I got them all thanks to Chapak at chapak-widgets.blogspot. There are nice, aren't they?

ML said...

Oh dear, Lotus, I have a confession to make. I'm not a fan of Indian movies...a pox upon me!

But, I always enjoy reading your posts! :)

Lotus Reads said...

A pox upon you indeed, sweet ml! ;)))

I don't know how you can resist all that dancing around trees and the screechy songs - I can't, I'm so weak! :)

Seriously tho', thanks for always dropping by...I love seeing you.

J said...

I'm not a fan of the musicals...I did like (like? Hate? was moved by, certainly) Water, but that's a different genre, I guess.

I'll bet my MIL will enjoy this, though. :) Oh, and I did like Bride and Prejudice...

Literary Feline said...

I haven't seen too many Indian movies, but I am a huge fan of musicals. I've always been drawn to the costumes in the Indian movies I have seen.

I will definitely be looking for Guru! Thanks, Lotus, for the review.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi J LOL, yes, the musicals take a little getting used to. I think the big reason I love them so much is because I get hooked on the music and then just long to see them come alive on the screen.

True, "Water" is in a different league altogether, but for a commercial movie 'Guru" is truly good!

Hi Wendy You're welcome! The costumes and the locales are a huge daughter loves her Bollywood Jazz class only because it gives her the chance to dress up in those fancy, shimmering costumes! ;)

Sai said...

Hey Lotus:
I want to see "Guru" sis saw it in Bombay and being a Mani fan commented that it doesn't compare to his earlier work but still is watchable.

Sugarlips said...

I like the slide show :)
This blue colour suits Ash.

Have u heard Anwar's song?
They are ver NICE :)

Stay Beautiful...!!

nessie said...

Since I happen to be a young entrepreneur myself, this movie can come in handy. Will check it out... thanks again lotus

Lotus Reads said...

hi Sai Yes, Motorama and some other Mani fans have told me the same thing. I feel fortunate that this was my first Mani movie...I thought it was brilliant! Let me know what you think after you see it.

Hi Sugarlips YES! I first heard of the Anwar songs on Parth's blog and immediately fell in love with two of them. Do let me know anytime you hear something you really like - we seem to have similar tastes in music!

Hi Nessie It will be out on DVD before long. Let me know what you think. It has a very interesting view on capitalism...I won't give away much more.

Milan-zzz said...

He have one movie bar in Belgrade - “Bollywood” which organize once per year Festival of Bollywood Production. I went with my friends on the first one and I don’t remember what we were watching but the scene was some heavy car crash. Horrible scene with dead people and of course you expecting something sad or at least hospital or … but suddenly bunch of girls were jumping out of bushes, all colorful with waving hips and start singing and dancing. HUGE question mark appeared above my head! I thought projectionist has made a mistake and dropped out something or …

Apparently there is quota of dancing/singing scenes per movie which has to be fulfilled so sometimes director is putting it in the most impossible situations!

Since then I’m visiting “Bollywood” to go on dinner or drink, not to watch movie.

(However I LOVE Mira Nair for instance)

Lotus Reads said...

LOL Milan That's extreme Bollywood you are talking about! You'll be happy to know it's come a long way recently. 2006 was a good year for movie goers with some really wonderfully made movies.

Yes, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Gurinder Chhadha, they are in a different league altogether!

Thanks for the comment! :)

Aarti said...

Yes, I am returned from Egypt. It was fabulous! Though everywhere I went, all the pedlars would call out "Indian!!" As though I didn't know what ethnicity I was. And then they'd say "Amitabh Bachchan!" It was funny the first few times, but when it happened repeatedly, it got slightly annoying.

Anyway, I do have pictures up! I was going to make a blog for my travels but I think I'm too lazy. Here's a link, if you're interested:

gs said...

hello lotus
i am going to see the muchtalked about 'guru'next weekend.amitabh has gone gaga over his son's acting saying that the son has excelled the father and that because of abhishek's superperformance he is going to see it a hundred times.that is some certificate.we saw another abhash movie-dhoom2.frankly, i didn't like it all.hrithik was the only silver lining.

Lotus Reads said...

What glorious pictures, aarti chappati! :))) Thanks so much for sharing! I also sneaked a peek at the wedding pics, hope you don't mind. I LOVE Indian weddings and it's been ages since I've been to one. :(

Hi gs Ofcourse, I am waiting with bated breath to read what you think of "Guru". Ahhh, Dhoom 2, we went to see it only because the kids wanted to. I believe the Aish-Hrithik lip lock has been cut out of the movie? We're back to being our prudish selves I see!

Supremus said...

I loved this movie. AB was great. And it was a relief not seeing Aishwarya ham!

You live in toronto? Thanx for stopping by my blog.


Lotus Reads said...


I'm glad I discovered your blog - will visit often.

I live 20 mins outside's perfect because I'm so close to the city and yet, far away from the sounds of traffic, the hustle bustle and the crowds...

You're not in Toronto are you?

Aarti said...

Sorry it took me so long to come back to your blog and see your message, lotus. I'm glad you liked my pictures :-) I had a new camera and so really enjoyed learning how to use it. And I love Indian weddings, too. This one was exhausting, as it was my cousin- but at least I got to wear pretty clothes!