lod (oldhen) wrote,


Hadn't really heard much about Guru - the new Mani Ratnam movie, other than the bare bones- it was written and directed by Mani Ratnam, and was based on Dhirubhai Ambani's life, before I saw it. Didn't expect anything particularly radical just a soemwhat nuanced film, which sadly this is not..Mani's made much better movies, and I'm sure will make better films in the future, this was a little too eulogical of the Ambanis, and certainly too "free market ra, ra, ra" types for my liking..

It's shot well - Rajiv Menon is a good photographer, Istanbul, Gujarat, Bombay all look quite splendid. There's some decent acting as well - Mithun was really outstanding as the independent editor of The Independent, Abhishek Bacchan was pretty convincing, Ash is eye candy as always, but for a change actually looks she could maybe act a little bit as well.. Madhavan and Vidya Balan's roles both seemed wasted, and that whole love angle was completely unnecessary, it didn't seem to serve much effect other than to portray Guru as this sensitive man..

Where this movie fails is the script - the charges against the Ambanis were pretty serious, and Mani doesn't really flesh it out, we're left with the impression that Guru merely evaded the income and excise taxman. Who doesn't hate the taxman? The real Dhirubhai rose to fortune in the India of Indira and Rajiv, something which Mani fails to bring up, which would put the story in a better political context. There's this scene in the movie where Guru meets with an un-named minister to get permission for his pertochemical factory, who's described as a man of impeccable character, not how I for one would describe Rajiv Gandhi..

Finally, thought that whole closing scene where he portrays himself as some sort of middle class hero, and justifies all his actions as those of a middle class man fighting the system to get his due, was pretty ridiculous.

Am no fan of Nehru's quasi-socialism, and the India of Indira and Rajiv and the corrupt license raj, was undoubtedly problematic - there were and are other alternatives though than the one than Mani choses to present. I suspect though that in the end this is a film that folks would like or dislike based on their politics..

Ended the day partying with my activist friends, toasting the end of empire.. It's back to the lab bench come morning, and to humdrum fly torturing..
Tags: life, movies, review
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