You are not going to get good-looking people oozing with style when you set out to watch this one. On the contrary, there are some scenes in which Abhishek Bachchan (Guru) looks border-line ugly. What you will get though is some outstanding performances. True, the anti-climatic end disappoints. But, fortunately, it’s the end; you have already enjoyed two hours of an overall fine product.
In Hindi cinema, a lot of the credit goes to the director when almost all the actors give great performances. This is, arguably, one of the finest performances Abhishek Bachchan has given. Many people who were struggling in the 70s and 80s will identify with Guru’s ambitions, and how he is pulled down by most people around him. The audience grows with the character…and so does his belly. The success of many movies, in this day and age, depends a lot on “cute dimples” and “wow! What muscles!”. It takes tremendous courage for a leading star to gain so much weight and get rid of the “sexy stubble” because the character needs it. Remember that's not make-up, that is actual flab, which he will have to lose soon enough.
Mithun Chakraborty makes you wish that he had acted like this in his times. R. Mahadevan looks extremely comfortable in the shoes of a journalist and Vidya Balan moves you to tears even though her character has had just 4-5 scenes to develop. The only actor that sticks out with a mediocre performance was Aishwarya Rai. All she needed to do was to dance and look pretty. Though she looks her usual dainty self, somehow her dance had a very “1-2-3-change” feel. The very little acting she needed to do, came across as mechanical.
Guru does not have an earth-shattering story, which is what makes the movie look real. But, it does have a few glaring loopholes with gaps in the plot and thus leaves the audience with questions. E.g., the audience is not told the exact manner in which Guru succeeds. Abhishek and Aishwarya switch in and out of the Gujrati accent and the lack of continuity is obvious. Also, cinematic liberty has been taken while handling technical medical issues of certain characters. All of which could have been forgiven had the climax had impact.
It is a shame that a director of this caliber could not resist evoking the demon of melodrama in the last twenty minutes. The whole treatment of the climax looks very out-of-place and surreal. Nevertheless, the outstanding cinematography, the very believable dialogues, the foot-tapping music, and of course the outstanding performances make Guru worth a visit to the cinema halls.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by R. Krishna, J.A.M : ...Mani Ratnam is like the Australian team. Both generate a lot of hype; pundits declare that success is implicit. Yet the public, deep within its heart, wants them to make a mistake. It adds masala to life, innit? But both behave exactly as expected of them - they deliver a winning performance... full review
Thumbs up, by George, Pacem In Terris : ...Mani has a unique way of portraying relationships on screen. Be it husband-wife, father-children or friends, all relationships he films are so real and unique... full review
So-So, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ... The film stops a few inches short of being a biopic, but the director bestows his character, Guru Kant Desai, with enough depth to make him feel as flesh-and-blood as you or me.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Guru (Abhishek Bachchan) is an ambitious village-boy who is academically challenged but has the business acumen that would make the Tatas and the Birlas run behind him for tips. Sujata (Aishwarya Rai) is the supporting woman by his side. Initially, Guru is pulled down by almost everyone around him, but he is determined to succeed financially. What does a penniless, uneducated villager do to turn into a business tycoon? Visit theaters to find out…