Under the sun

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Guru

The Mani Sir jalras are at it again. The internet is full of them. Many of them had sung praises even before watching the film! I can safely and categorically state that Guru is without doubt Mani's least impressive work till date. Maybe if you watch it without any expectation or if you are a hardcore Mani fan it might work for you. ARR's songs disappoint and what the hell was happening in the name of rerecording? Come on, their combination has always been magic.
What the hell was Mani thinking when he lets us spot a Thamizh style temple (probably shot around Madurai) and trying to pass the location as Gujarat? Chalakudi falls is too easy and its a crime to pass that off as being any other location. The movie never gets started. There is absolutely no depth in the first half and the story just meanders along. It doesn't grip you.
Mani plays right into the hands of his detractors when he touches upon issues only to romanticize it and indulge in some feel good cinematic moments. The climax is straight out of a Shankar film and the stand Mani takes in the film and the way he uses the character to push it is not convincing. Its almost as if it is Mani's version of 'India Shining'. Some questions are unanswered - like why does Mithun keep behaving the way he does? His actions and stance are not consistent. Abhishek is the saving grace of the film and comes up with a decent performance. Ash - no explanations required. Vivek said it all when he exclaimed "nalla kaatneenga da reaction". Can someone please eliminate that thing called Vidhya Balan? Liquidate, exterminate, whatever. Thankfully she dies in the film. BNB gets it spot on when he says "Aishwarya Rai, and Vidya Balan have trouble losing the smile on their faces even when it's not required". LRMB-liye ava tholla thaanga mudiyale. Narayana!!
Mani, like Aandavar has this irritating habit of butchering the best song in every film . The only song which i liked (first time i listened to the songs. Maybe i need more hearings) was a melody by Hariharan - wonderfully sung. As usual, mutilated.
Wonder how the north is receiving the film. My money, time tottal damage!

Updated:
  • Maybe i got it wrong but i'm reasonably sure that i saw a present-day SUV when the movie is still in flashback mode, ie, Guru has not yet become a father!
  • Deja-vu galore - Nayagan
  • What was that in the climax about Sujata being a partner? What were the commission members doing?
Updated again:
Mani says he doesn't take sides but rather he is just an impartial observer. No way. Instead, he outrageously romanticizes his unstated stand and makes a simplistic candy offering out of his ode to capitalism. There is another movie which is a bit similar in this aspect. That movie doesn't preach but its hit the audiences so hard that it still 'hurts' today. Going by what Mani says in his interview, he ought to have treated the movie, and especially his stand or lack thereof, like this
The great actor had understood the philosophy behind the book and the film.
In a magazine interview, Brando explained, ``I don't think the film is about the Mafia at all. It is about the corporate mind. Don Corleone is just another American business magnate who is trying to do the best he can for the group he represents. Corleone's tactics were no different from those used by General Motors against Ralph Nader, the consumer activist.'' This was a brilliant analysis.
There was not much difference between American big business and the Mafia. ``The former kills us all the time, with cars, pollution and cigarettes,'' argued Brando.
Brando identified himself so much with the role of Don Corleone, that he introduced several little touches, which increased the film's impact.
In one scene he uttered two phrases, ``After all, we are not murderers ... in spite of what the undertaker says.''


14 Comments:

  • The Mani Sir jalras are at it again Bala, Mani's initial impact is usually quite high. The visual element is so strong as to overwhelm the average viewer. So I can sympathise with most of the viewers. They have trouble separating presentation from content like many coolies.

    What the hell was Mani thinking when he lets us spot a Thamizh style temple (probably shot around Madurai) and trying to pass the location as Gujarat?
    Even Jill had the new york nagaram song shot elsewhere. I have have lived in Gujarat. The location selection was pretty poor - Elephanta caves, Madurai Naicker Mahal - Somberi Thanam ?

    The climax is straight out of a Shankar film Lol, the other option would have been to show his funeral, which again is masalaish

    Its almost as if it is Mani's version of 'India Shining'. Haha, good one.

    Some questions are unanswered - like why does Mithun keep behaving the way he does? His actions and stance are not consistent.

    Like what ?

    Looking back, I really think the most controversial move in this movie is to paint Ramnath Goenka et al in a dubious light - I don't know the whole story too well. Maybe that's the way it was. Mani is literally gushing about Ambani even though he shows the warts - but that's ok with me since a movie is adirector's baby, and that's his choice. But is he sticking to facts ? Maybe we need two reviews for his movies one after a couple of weeks once the initial impact has faded.

    By Anonymous BNB, at Mon Jan 15, 12:58:00 AM  

  • The premiere made headlines in the local dailies here !

    MR nationally famous aana udanEyE naanga theLivAyittOm. He has times and again proved incapable of depth of any sort. idhai Hub-la oru nAl nalla kathi sollaNum.

    As for lazy locations: Gujarat enna Turkey maadhiri pakkathulayA irukku ?

    Is this the 3rd movie MR is shooting in the Mahal ? Last time it inspired Gaptun's Narasimha to locate a round table conference (of all things) there ! indha thadavai enna nadakkumO ?

    Explanation demanded for:
    Mani, like Aandavar has this irritating habit of butchering the best song in every film

    By Anonymous msp, at Mon Jan 15, 03:24:00 AM  

  • BNB,
    Enakku indha business news knowledge ellam kammi.. Infact i don't know much about Ambani and especially about Goenka, Wadia etc... :)

    "Some questions are unanswered - like why does Mithun keep behaving the way he does? His actions and stance are not consistent."

    Like what ?
    Nanaji's character: Principled, iron-willed, 'khadi' person who always plays by the rules. OK?

    Why does he agree to publish Guru's story for the first time? Not convincing but that's fine. Its cinema.
    Now, Contractor comes in the way of Guru and we see (what we see and what we dont is important) that he is right in going after him but not necessarily his means - Giving 'gifts' to his journalist friends. What do we see next? Nanaji is mad at Guru and wants to expose him for what he is. What was he doing all this while?? And going by Nanaji's rules, why go after only Guru? What about Contractor? Siding unabashedly with capitalis is fine but whipping up the 'noble' rhetoric is altogether different. Also, Nanaji and Madhavan are shown as blood-thirsty and merciless while Guru is shown as a saint.

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Mon Jan 15, 05:34:00 PM  

  • msp,
    "idhai Hub-la oru nAl nalla kathi sollaNum."
    Hub la sathama pesaravan pechu thaan unmayagudhu.. idhula nesam sethu pogudhu!
    MR/Sivaji/Rajini - Untouchables

    "He has times and again proved incapable of depth of any sort"
    Bulls eye. At times i feel its cheap, a kind of 'cheating'.

    "As for lazy locations: Gujarat enna Turkey maadhiri pakkathulayA irukku ? "
    Sabash, sariyana elvi

    Explanation demanded for:
    "Mani, like Aandavar has this irritating habit of butchering the best song in every film"


    1) Nee Partha Parvai - 50-50 but i still think he could have done what he intended to without splitting the same.
    2) Karumathur Kaattukkulle
    3) Poo Poothadhu (Mumbai Xpress)
    4) Ae Ajnabi
    5) That Adnan Sami/Sadhana duet in Yuva
    6) This beautiful duet by Hariharan and Sadhana

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Mon Jan 15, 05:44:00 PM  

  • I'm no big MR fan, but depth ain't the only thing; and, in MR's own words -- from an interview where he painfully defended his kind of films and stated clearly that Guru is a proper "masala" film about an national icon with the songs routine -- "entertainment is not a bad word!"

    I enjoyed the film with some reservations.

    By Blogger Zero, at Mon Jan 15, 06:59:00 PM  

  • Zero,
    I read your review - i read most your reviews, BTW :) and i see that it worked for you. Fair enough

    "entertainment is not a bad word!"
    Of course not but the question is was Guru entertaining enough? For me, NO. And why should depth and entertainment be mutually exclusive? Plus, being a commercial film doesn't make this film 'unquestionable' :)

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Mon Jan 15, 11:56:00 PM  

  • I presume those were rhetoric questions, Bala! Of course, I'm not saying anything like that. Just that this film was intended to be without much depth after all. For me, it worked, as Baradwaj Rangan put it in his review, like "a [deft] picaresque novel" in a pan-Indian context.

    Talking about MR oeuvre in general, I linked to the interview because I think the interviewer served as a personification of almost all the criticisms MR has faced till now and asked all the relevant (quite surprisingly) questions. We've never heard Mani Rathnam talk about Bhim Singh, have we?

    By Blogger Zero, at Tue Jan 16, 12:54:00 AM  

  • Uh, rhetorical, it should be. :)

    By Blogger Zero, at Tue Jan 16, 12:55:00 AM  

  • Zero,
    Thanks for the links. Sensible questions.
    Now, Mani is in even bigger trouble!
    He says its NOT about Ambani. Emphatically. He says he does NOT take a stance. Does he expect us to believe these statements? even AFTER we have seen the film??? :))
    Now his answers seem to be more dishonest than the movie itself.

    I saw the Bharadwaj Rangan review too. He has addressed some of my questions but he gives them far less weightage than i would. Well, to each his/her own :)

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Tue Jan 16, 02:42:00 AM  

  • Hub la sathama pesaravan pechu thaan unmayagudhu.. idhula nesam sethu pogudhu!
    MR/Sivaji/Rajini - Untouchables


    That sounds like a mini Tamil Nadu - good thing I still haven't checked out this hub thing.

    msp:
    Neraiya Gabutan padam parkara madhiri theriyudhu :-D. Good stress reliever.

    BTW,Agreed about VB. Tortoise coil koluthi pottalavadhu poi tholaivala ? Indha media hype thangalada, saami!

    By Anonymous BNB, at Tue Jan 16, 10:43:00 PM  

  • bala,

    nee partha parvai cannot have been picturized any other way since the two paras mean opp in emotions. one was about being in love and the other was about time after death of love or a love loss. from that context, it was apt picturized.

    By Blogger iyengarkatz, at Thu Jan 18, 08:56:00 AM  

  • Nan inime dhan pakkanum... indhi nna light-a allergy-a irukku.

    By Blogger Viji, at Thu Jan 18, 09:40:00 AM  

  • iyengarkatz,
    mmm... vasthavama thaan irukku neenga solradhu..

    Hey, this post of yours

    http://iyengarkatz.blogspot.com/2005/04/polar-opposites.html
    is spot on. Superb!

    Viji,
    Neenga enna dhaan sonnalum blaaging niruthirukka kudadhu!

    By Anonymous Bala (Karthik), at Fri Jan 19, 11:08:00 AM  

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    ByIndia.com First to Blend Search, Social Network, Video Sharing and Auctions Into One Seamless Product for Indian Internet Users.

    By Blogger tpraja, at Tue Jan 30, 07:33:00 PM  

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