Saturday, January 20, 2007


The movie is running housefull in Satyam Theater. I could get a ticket only for morning 9.00 AM show, this is the first time I have gone so early to a movie. And the theater was full, even for this early show. The movie got such a strong opening in Chennai not because of the actors, but the director. Every Maniratnam movie is anticipated with high expectations.

In this movie he has the right canvas, a good actor, but fails to convert it into something special. Somehow it lacked conviction and failed to impress me. Abishek Bachchan has delivered his best performance so far. The movie has the perfect finish of any Maniratnam movie. It fails because it is too one sided. In Nayakan, the director showed the seamy side of Velu Naicker, even showing him committing a murder. In this movie though, you hardly see any failings of Guru.

Abishek surprises us with an excellent performace. His body language speaks far more than his dialogues. My favorite scene in the movie is where he gets up to deliver his monologue before the enquiry commission. The commission member says, "But till yesterday you were silent in front of the commission, your voice was nothing more than a whisper". Guru smiles and replies back, "We are banias (merchants). We plan for everything, I was saving my voice for this occassion". Some how that defined the character for me.

The monologue justifying Guru's actions was a let down. It could have been John Galt like, but ended up being the rhetoric you hear from politicians everyday.

Even minor characters too are sketched well. If only Maniratnam had decided to make a real bio pic instead of a hagiography, this would have been a great movie.


Anonymous said...

>>"In Nayakan, the director showed the seamy side of Velu Naicker, even showing him committing a murder. In this movie though, you hardly see any failings of Guru."

I'm surprised you say this. Nayagan is one film in which the protagonist's criminal actions are shown with some moral justification (at a personal level) or even as an act of justice, which is so unlikely a depiction (and quite superficial) of an underworld don. The depiction of the protagonist of this film is maturer than that, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Of course, it's an agreeable "compromise" -- as they call it -- suitable for those times (pardon the cliché), and I rate Nayagan well above this film. But, just a point on the moralities and failings.

Nilu said...

I don't understand. Why do people judge a movie, that too, a quasi biopic, by the content?

Sudhish does it at one level, you at another and Ebert in a whole different league. But still, it's the same action. Why do you do it?

vatsan said...

mani i think didnt show guru's failings to avoid long legal battles and actually release the movie.

he did pitch bro vs bro in reality, but then he wouldnt have had one bro on his side if he did show the seedy side of guru ;)

Kasi Alagappan said...

Even I dint find Guru like his previous movies.. AB's acting was good, otherwise it wasnt special.
Here is my post on Guru
Do tell me if you differ from the last 2 para..

Deepa said...

Mani Ratnam past his prime? Or How do you thnk you can help him get back to form? - I am suggesting this for the discussion forum of rediff.

Anonymous said...

Guru is not in the same league as Velu Nayakan and neither was AB's performace in the same league as Kamal Hasan. Everybody please dont exagerate AB's performances because he is a poor actor just like all the other star sons. We need more actors like Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, SRK, Amir Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Dilip Kumar, Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor and last but not least my favourite Amitabh Bachchan

Usha said...

I agree with zero: in certain ways the potrayal of Guru was a bit more real than Velu Naicker.
Didnt particularly like the take is that the movie symbolises the struggle of communist and capitalist ideals(or lack there of) through the saga of a man who paved way for the later in modern india.
The movie has rare social and political sensibility without taking sides--such as the character of Vidya Balan(atleast most of the time)
I dont think a comparison with Nayagan is fair

Vivek said...

Mani tried too hard and according to me, he failed. He tried to mix Nayagan and Iruvar and the end product wasnt even half of what could have been achieved. The end monologue left me bewildered. As usual, the movie was technically out of India but just as with his previous three movies, one does feel it cud hve been a lot more better..for instance, he could ve beefed up Mithunda's or Madhavan's roles.

n for godsake, y did mani choose Ash for the role of a villager??

reg the moral justification part in Nayagan, it shdn be a surprise since its inspired from The Godfather.

Nandhu said...

there is a scene in which rai's brother leaves them. the three stand outside the house and argue. did u catch a look of abhishek's face then? pure evil. i do think there was darkness to the way abhishek played it. esp in the end madhavan becomes the nallavan and he the kettavan.

Maanga Madayan Nilu ! said...

Hey ppl! Why are you are comparing Nayagan with Guru ?. Compare Guru with Dhoom 2. Ash remains the dumb bimbo as usual. Proving that she is only good at steamy roles and hardly can act in a movie that required for a change "good acting" ( no wonder mani made her keep her mouth shut ). Abhishek flashing his old hair ; showing that he is mature enough to marry ash and the stupid mithun chakraborty thinking that he is the all knowing dude! ( He tinks he is God). Maddy or Madhavan has no job but to show how foolish he is.... there is a scene where he asks one of guru's employees as to where the equipment has come from.Dude the equipment is just there written all over in BIG LETTERS (DUPOINT) and still he expects an answer. Krazy kya Maddy!.Not last but least Vidya Balan expecting to be carried around by everybody ( No wonder all that jumping in Munna Bhai made her go sick) and trying to make a point that the movie is about her sickness and nothing else. What more can you say !. The movie should have been named. The Dumb Beauty and her Dumber beast. or how about this Lage Raho Mithunbhai! (A guy who thinks he is the Lord) or Paro gets a new devadas or Midtown Maddy-ness

smiley said...

ups and downs of maniratnam... this one was on the way down i guess