Sunday, February 11, 2007

The 'Guru' of all tales

Mani Ratnam's latest is no classic and yet it's great how he manages to make a biopic so interesting (Yes, I would certainly classify it as a biopic - the similarities to Dhirubhai Ambani's life are far too many to be just coincidental).

And so what if the protagonist succeeds using not-so-honest means. Today's audience is not naive enough to believe that a Gandhian approach will take people places in this day and age.

Abhishek Bachchan excels as Gurukant Desai - a role tailormade for him. But the surprise package of 'Guru' is Arya Babbar. The otherwise flop actor puts in an understated performance as Gurukant's righteous bro-in-law. Wish there had been more of him in the second half. But Arya disappears after a row with Gurukant and the director doesn't take the trouble of tying up this loose end.

There are several other good performances - Mithun Chakroborty, Aishwarya Rai, Madhavan, Vidya Balan. But the real winner is the script which is taut and never allows audience interest to flag.

Another plus is the music. People say A R Rahman's music in Guru didn't quite touch the heights of Dil Se or Rangeela. But when you watch the film, the songs just seem to blend in and help take the story forward. Even Mallika Sherawat's hummable cabaret number.

Rating: ****
Remarks: Abhishek's five-minute soliloquy in the courtroom sequence was a tad too melodramatic for my tastes but others seemed to love it

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