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.