Gurukanth Desai (Abhishek Bachchan) is a school teacher’s son in Gujarat. He goes to Turkey at a tender age to work and realizes his potential there. He returns to India and wants to start cloths business on his own. But he does not have any money to start the business. He then marries his friend’s sister Sujata (Aishwarya Rai) mainly for the dowry of 15,000 which he hopes to use it as a capital investment for his business. He reaches Bombay and climbs his way up and becomes a revolutionary businessman who changed the cloths manufacturing and petrochemicals scenario in India.
Performance: Abhishek Bachchan gave stellar performance as Gurukanth Desai. The time period of this character stretches over 30 years and he shows fine variation in histrionics. Aishwarya Rai is good in her performance oriented role. Mithun Chakravarthy gives splendid performance as honest editor of a newspaper. Madhavan looks extremely handsome as he shed some weight and his performance is perfect. Vidya Balan is good as physically challenged lady. Deepak is excellent as contractor. Roshan Seth is very good as judge.
Story - screenplay - direction: There are no prizes for guessing that the story has close resemblance to the biography of Dhirubhai Ambani. But Mani Ratnam made sure that he narrated this biography in an interesting way by creating nice drama through the bond and rivalry between the characters of Abhishek Bachchan and Mithun Chakravarthy. Screenplay of the film is very good. The way the director opened the film and closed it is fantastic. The speech delivered by Abhishek in the court (climax) is incredible.
Other departments: Music and rerecording by AR Rahman is excellent. Cinematography by Rajiv Menon is superb. Artwork deserves special accolades as it is a period film. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is first rate. Dialogues by Vijaya Krishna Acharya are good.
Analysis: First half of the film is first rate. The tempo goes down a bit in the middle of second half. The climax of the film is excellent. The making of biographies is all about condensing the lifetime work to three hours of narration. Hence, Mani Ratnam conveniently skipped some issues (the aftermath of Guru’s quarrel with his brother-in-law; showing how Guru made crores of rupees etc). He also played it to the galleries by telling how bureaucracy is killing the spirits of new entrepreneurs by saying that India prefers to beg money from world bank than becoming financially self reliant using progressive financial policies. On a whole, Guru might not be liked by an average moviegoer who likes entertainment, but it is a treat for true film aficionados. Guru is a classic! Period.
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