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Guru (2007)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 9,113 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 90 user | 18 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

A villager, Gurukant Desai, arrives in Bombay 1958, and rises from its streets to become the GURU, the biggest tycoon in Indian history.

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(screenplay), (dialogue), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Mithun Chakraborty ...
Manikdas Gupta
...
Gurukant Desai
...
Sujata (as Aishwarya Rai)
...
Shyam Saxena (as R. Madhavan)
...
Meenakshi Gupta
...
Thapar
...
Jhumpa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sunil Agarwal
Murad Ali
Anoushka ...
(as Baby Anoushka)
Ashoi ...
(as Baby Ashoi)
Arya Babbar ...
Jignesh
Arjan Bajwa ...
Arzaan Contractor
Mukesh Bhatt ...
Ram Lal
Dhritiman Chatterjee ...
Thapar Commission Member
Edit

Storyline

A school-teacher in India sires a son named Gurukant, but is disappointed as the child fails to live up to his high expectations. When Gurukant grows up, he is unable to secure decent employment in India, so finds a way to go to Turkey, where he finds employment. When he returns back to India, he wants to start his own business, but is unable to do so, as he does not have enough money. So he does some research, gets to meet Sujata, the daughter of a wealthy man named Jignesh, and marries her. After the marriage, Gurukant finds out that Sujata has a dark past, but he ignores this - for his one motive is to be to rise in the eyes of his father - and get rich. Written by Carrie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Think big, think ahead and think fast." See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 January 2007 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Gurukant  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

INR 150,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£156,951 (UK) (12 January 2007)

Gross:

$2,087,000 (USA) (16 February 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first film to be shot at Express Estates, a 21-acre stretch of old buildings in the heart of Madras. These buildings happen to be the home of the Indian Express and Dinamani newspapers. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Abhishek Bachan is addressing his first AGM in a "pandal", he is seen loosening his tie, but in the next scene his tie is fully knotted. Then again in the next scene, his tie changes length and becomes much shorter. See more »

Quotes

Gurukant Desai: Do you want to be India's largest company?
See more »

Connections

References Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Ay Hairathe
Sung by Hariharan, Alka Yagnik and A.R. Rahman
Composed by A.R. Rahman
Lyrics by Gulzar (as Sampooran Singh Gulzar) and Amir Khusru
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Failed by family, system - how do you fight?
12 January 2007 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

The beautiful photography of India, superb acting, and realistically told modern historical story make Guru a good choice as an eye-opener for someone who doesn't know Bollywood so well. And though the music is extraordinary, there is also somewhat less of it than sometimes.

Guru is the story of the rise of a man from a village to become the owner of maybe the most successful business in India (a textiles manufacturer), which also benefited its mass of middle-class shareholders in an unprecedented way. It spans 30 years. The film is said to be based closely on the story of a real person. It seems intended to inspire Indians to overcome the obstacles presented by corrupt practices, and it raises the question as to what is the appropriate response to a closed and corrupt system that forecloses legitimate opportunity.

It is a joy to find oneself in the hands of a master like Mani Ratnam.  I'd wondered if I'd find this movie at all dull or slow: I did not.  It moves along - there's a lot of plot going on all the time.  I would guess that we get from Guru's village origins to his years working in Turkey to his arrival in Bombay as an adult ready to go into business in less than 20 minutes.

Abhishek Bachchan gave a lovely performance as the son of a village schoolteacher who isn't much of a student, to his father's dismay. He declares his intention to have his own business, and disregards his harsh father's negative predictions about his prospects.  The character, Gurukant Desai, has a wonderful spirit - doesn't take no for an answer, also can laugh off irritants and obstacles, and the laugh is charming, at once boyish and manly.  He's "big" as a personality, and Abhishek is emotionally and physically up to it - you feel his great reserves of self-regard in the various ways he meets opposition, whether from family or business-world characters.

One of my primary responses to seeing the film today was gratitude to be able to see it on a big screen.  The movie occurs in city and countryside, the 50s through the 80s. Every visual image, and the whole field of the movie - scenes, sets, costumes, ambiance, acting style, music - worked together to tell an appealing story with a strong appreciation for India, as well as a potential inspiration and warning. 

I think a good test of a bio-pic, or pseudo-bio-pic, is whether or not somebody who doesn't know much of anything about the putative subject, which is me (in this case, the reference subject is a super-businessman named Ambani), experiences the story as having integrity, and for me this entirely passes that test.

And it's nice to see a Hindi movie in which parental disapproval is met with a "cut your losses" response rather than the sometimes maudlin kind of pining or carrying on about an "incomplete" life we often run into.  Moreover, this dynamic is not at all irrelevant to other levels of meaning in a story about a man in India who take on large defeatist cultural expectations to achieve success.  How should we respond to Father or principles or rules that are truly not serving our interests? It is also not irrelevant to how he plays his hand in relation to the corruption and cronyism he meets when he goes to Bombay to make his way.

Aishwarya is fine in a wife-from-the-village role who is a partner all the way, and I love her dancing. She also shows a definitely womanly aspect as the movie goes on. I am glad to see her in a role that does not confine her to the vulnerable-verging-on-breakable girl she is sometimes stuck in.

Mithun Chakravorty (of Disco Dancer fame) was  nothing but perfect as a newspaper owner who was a father figure to Gurukant and also significantly opposed some of his decisions.  The presentation of that complex relationship is a giant strength of the movie.  I don't recall running into this before, a scenario where an older generation figure is out to bring down a "son" and the love between them is dramatized as going on nonetheless.  I found it emotionally powerful, and insofar as there is a background allegory about India, excellent, about opposing and maintaining ties.

In a subplot that I couldn't find the rationale for, Vidya Balan as a lame girl and Madhavan as a journalist with high ideals and non-idealistic practices were appealing and romantic.


24 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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