Sunday, January 14, 2007


Cast: Abhishek Bachan, Aishwarya Rai, Madhavan, Vidya Balan, Mithun Chakravarthy

Direction: Mani Ratnam

Applause. That’s the first response you get when this brilliantly crafted movie about the meteoric rise of an ambitious man ends. The reaction was spontaneous across the cinema hall, when the main character speaks about the victory of ‘business’ and spouts the spirit of dhanda and the cult of munafa. Bravo!!! Awesome!!! (Of course, must have been the predominantly Gujju community who understands the philosophy behind this better than any one else.

Gurukant Desi ‘Guru’, is a man with a mission. He wants to go where no man has gone before. He doesn’t understand the concept of ‘no’ (Mujhe na shabd sunayi nahi deta) and rises faster and higher than anyone expects of him. The deal is to get things done. The story does go at an excellent pace: Guru leaves home against the wishes of his father to Turkey in search of work after failing in school. Through the gyrations of Sherawat, we get the idea of a man who is restless to become big. He returns to India, marries Aishwarya for the dahej money and sets off to Mumbai to do dhanda. He is uneducated and uncomplicated, but has extraordinary focus. He breaks the shackles of the existing ‘babudom’ in cloth trading and rises fast. Along the way Guru understands that rules are meant to be broken and indulges in the core idea of profit maximization. This makes the upright editor, Mithun Chakravarthy of the ‘Independent’ newspaper take notice, and he sends Shyam(Madhavan) after Guru to expose his wrongdoings w.r.t the law of the land. Madhavan does well and Guru almost becomes a villain in the heart of his beloved shareholders. In the final act Guru takes on the enquiry commission to wax eloquent on the art of doing dhanda and how he has done no mistake and gets off with a light sentence and goes on to dream higher and higher.

‘gurubhai guru bhai’ sounds like dhirubhai dhirubhai and there are way too many parallels. The wadia (if iam correct) control of textiles in mumbai, the license raj, the Indian express(again if iam right and Madhavan as Shourie?). Anyway the film succeeds because it makes you believe along with Guru that things are possible if you have the determination and the right attitude. Our man is shown having an emotional side while dealing with his wife (a surprisingly good performance from the otherwise useless Aishwarya Rai) and with Mini (Vidya balan, battling multiple sclerosis-a totally unnecessary character) and in his reverence of mithunda and his brother in arms Ghanshyam Das.

It is the showpiece of Abhishek and he delivers. With his charming smile and excellent emotions he raises the bar for himself. Of course when he says ‘ye haath bhi latka hai’ you think its amitabh speaking. Rai delivers as much is asked of her. But she is way too thin to make an impact on saris and Saroj Khan has given arguably the worst choreography to the songs. Gujju maybe, but badly executed. Madhavan looks the right amound of cool. The songs are useless but the background score is amazing. The final premise is thought provoking: Does the end justify the means? Do corporations have no other motive other than profit maximization through any means possible? If something goes wrong, who is responsible, the corporation or the shareholders?

The answer is blowing in the wind I guess. Rating: 8/10

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