Guru

>Shakti Parivar ko Gurubhai ka namaskar..For long, I have been thinking of writing something and atlast Guru provided me with the right script. Guru adds to the list of movies which definitely mark a shift in the way certain Hindi movies are made. The movies about which I think, write, sleep, dream and eat are Rang De Basanti, Swades, Yuva & Iqbal. Guru has become the latest entrant and I simply love to find out similarities and differences amongst all these movies. I shall find some other time to write my analysis on these movies. Let me start with Guru which is fresh on my mind 🙂

Guru is about a simple villager who dreams, dreams and dreams & believes he can achieve them. It’s the theme of the movie which is so likeable more than the movie itself. As usual, characters are portrayed by Mani with a grey shade as has become the trend in the latest Hindi movies where a Mohan Bharagava is too imaginary and often loathed at and a Daljit Singh has begun to represent the real Indian youth. Indeed, it must have been a special feeling for a simple villager to go abroad in early 1950s and understand the nuances of business. Yes, there are similarities between Dhirubhai and Gurubhai but setting aside these comparisions, I liked and disliked a few things about the movie.

The movie underlines once again how it important it is to dream big. Very akin to the concept in Iqbal, yes, one has to dream, dream and dream big, dream far and dream wide. It’s not morally incorrect to earn money and more money. Ofcourse, how one earns the money and how one plans to use it decides the real worth and value of the money. The movie sidesteps issues as to how much one is wrong and how much one is right. So what if only 2 allegations out of 29 could be proved against Gurubhai, does it justify what he has achieved and done? The story clearly draws its parallel to the Reliance success story.

I have not seen too many movies of Abhishek Bachchan but this is undoubtedly his best role and probably shall remain his best ever till he retires from Hindi cinema. All the actors reach a peak somewhere and it needs directors like Mani and Ashutosh to help them achieve that. Abhishek showed glimpses of the real Big B in his role as Gurubhai. Mani Ratnam has a brilliant flair for movie-making and to make scenes count. With this Gujju story, he has once again shattered the geographical boundaries of movie-making going as far as Kashmir (Roja), Bombay (Bombay), The North-east (Dil Se), Calcutta (Yuva) and now finally again to Gujarat/Bombay in Guru. It was also heartening to see Ash play the perfect wife and supporting Guru and believing in him all the time – almost like the typical Indian wife who has lot of faith in her husband.

The movie also showcases the strength of the press and the influence they have over the lives of people. The most striking aspect of the move however should be the quintessential short-lived memory of the general public of India. As the stocks of Shakti Corp. crashed, the same people who were praising and lauding Gurubhai started cursing him. This, for me, typifies the Indian public who really have a very short memory. That’s why I sometimes sympathise with the Indian cricketers. (However, looking at their recent performances, despite my long-term memory, I have started to despise them). The game of stocks, of business or of buying-selling does not have any place for the weak-hearted people and so people should think before investing in stocks before beginning to curse the company and it’s chief.

Guru, however, once again shows traces of Yuva where too many things happen too fast and the difference between the right and wrong seems to vanish all too easily. Guru is initially shown as fighting the trade union president in giving him permission to trade in Bombay. He wins the battle, goes on to reject a corrupt offer made by others to stop his growth and even exposes them in the newspapers. Surely, there is nothing wrong about it. So after all this, why is Gurubhai himself involved in giving bribes and buying people? Crimes are often forgiven out of nostalgia on witnessing the remarkable progress of a company or individual and the arguments given by Guru to the prosecution bench at the end (easily the best ever dialogue delivery by Abhishek) fail to justify the righteousness of his growth. However, at the same time, it underlines the number of formalities needed to be completed in India in order to become a big businessman. It isn’t as simple as merely buying and selling. There are so much rules, laws and regulations to a point that sometimes it begins to hamper our own progress!!!!

So does all this make Gurubhai right? I asked the wrong question since the movie is not about right and wrong. Just as there are profits and losses, there would be rights and wrongs. But to play with the lives of lakhs or millions of people who invest not just their money and time but also their faith in you is definitely a great responsibility and more often than not, great responsibilities are well-fulfilled only when there is a firm, just and truthful foundation to one’s actions.

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