Monday, January 15, 2007

Guru: A Review

I just saw the movie Guru last Friday when it released here in the bay area. The posters to begin with were intriguing, particularly the one with Abishek Bacchan's back facing thousands of folks in the rain with Umbrellas. We were a wee bit late finishing our falafels before getting to our movie, so we entered by the time when Mallika Sherawat was setting the screen on fire. I cursed myself for missing out the casting as Mani's movies always had a special font and the casting was always stood out. Luckily after the song, I did manage to see it. This time it was like a paper being flipped a la book. I loved it. After Roja, I think this one had the best casting.

Now, coming to the plot, it is purely Dhirubhai's story. Mani and team wont accept it because that makes them liable for other creative liberties and no one wants to get sued over a movie plus the fact that it gives them liberties to twist the plot to their fancy. Initially Turkey was shown as the place the protaganist worked whereas Dhirubhai started off at Aden in Yemen.(although in a particular shot yemen does slip out of their tongue) Nevertheless the backdrop of Hagia Sophia with Abhishek in the foreground was awesome.

Rajiv Menon, as usual, was brilliant in capturing the essence of a period flick. Gulzar, I think, could have dont better than what he did in this project but then who am I to complain about the master. (uske liye bhi aukaad rehna chahiya, na?) . Aish opens with a village belle song where she seems to be ill suited. The dialogues were crisp in the usual Ratnam style and didnt disappoint me.

The best part for me was to map the movie events to real world events. First off, the movie does justice to show how Dhirajlal H Ambani became Dhirubhai Ambani. The character Azraan Contractor seems to be a caricature of Nusli Wadia (of Bombay Dyeing fame). This is more than confirmed by the statement where he says he achieved something in around 10 years what took more than 100 years for "them". (Bombay Dyeing took more than 100 years for Rs. 1 billion sales turnover which Ambani did in 12 years).

Mithun was stellar in playing the role of Ramnath Goenka. Madhavan plays Swaminathan Gurumurthy pretty well. Vidya Balan was decent in playing Krishna Khaitan but her role seems to have been most modified from the real events potraying a different strand of Mani Ratnam's vision. I think the nondescript finance minister was Pranab Mukherjee.

The movie emphasized mostly on reliance's strong support for equity ownership and supporting retail investors. In fact, single handedly Reliance brough a revolution in making the populace aware of the benefits of participation. However, the movie was silent about the genius of Ambani with financial instruments (He converted debentures into shares this raising a new round of money to finance the petrochemical project apart from doing other shady stuff). Nor did the movie include the expertise of project management by reliance (they do mention Du Pont but not the work done) who always were on schedule and always operated the plants at 100% utilization. All in all, the movie does do justice to show how licence raj's edge was played very well by Reliance and later evolved nicely by backward integration of their products.

The paralytic stroke episode was very well shot at the kabutarkhana house. Also the allegations were brought up taking their own time whereas no time was given to a proper explanation. One of the allegations was that Reliance smuggled extra machiney so that they can produce more than their licensed quota. Now, I am not a manufacturing expert, but no one likes to keep inventory. The fact that they are producing so much implies a demand for the product out there. So, yes, like a smuggler, reliance was meeting an artificially suppressed demand. Nothing wrong with that. US had prohibition and later they realized bootlegging was common because those smugglers were meeting a pent-up demand. This pointed that the legislation preventing such a supply was the culprit not the bootlegger. I think a similar point could have been said about Reliance in the defence, but I didnt see this (or any other allegations brought forth) addressed satisfactorily by Abhishek's character.

I personally have a member of my family who raised money for his sisters' wedding through reliance equity, so the last shot of the cab driver who drives between Wadala-Churchgate might have been true. I felt the role of Roshan Seth was fairly diluted in the end leading to a quick ending than an elaborate one.

All in all, must watch movie and it is far better than the other ones currently running out there.

1 comment:

Chakpak- Guru Movie Image Gallery said...
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