Sunday, January 14, 2007

Guru: Movie Review 2 (External)

Here is another external Guru review here (Link here). The film seems to blow everybody's mind. What about you? From start to finish, from opening credits to end roll, director Mani Ratnam's new film Guru is a more-or-less accurate documentation of late industrialist and Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani's life. All key incidents and several significant characters from Ambani's rags-to-riches life-story are recreated in Ratnam's film, with the occasional cinematic liberties thrown in.Guru is after all, the story of an ambitious, middle-class man who had big dreams, a man who would stop at nothing to realise his dreams, a man often accused of using morally questionable means to achieve his goals.Guru is the story of a man who believed not only in personal growth and personal success, but in empowering the very people who contributed to his success. A man who understood that the growth of an enterprise, a company, a corporation must reflect not only in its owner's personal growth and success, but in the growth and success of its every shareholder.

You see, the similarities to Ambani's life are far too many to be simply dismissed as coincidences. And yet Mani Ratnam insists Guru is no biopic of Dhirubhai Ambani. Then again, poor Mani Ratnam is probably just protecting himself and his film. Remember what happened years ago when word spread that a character in his film Bombay was inspired by Bal Thackeray?As is the case with most Mani Ratnam films that are centred around seemingly larger themes - Roja, Bombay, Dil Se, Kannathil Mutthamital, Alaiypayuthe - Guru too, is on one level a love story. And here, in the case of Gurubhai Desai and his unflinchingly supportive wife Sujata, played by Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai respectively, it's a beautiful, intimate, playful, passionate love story.

I mean, think about it, who else but Mani Ratnam could film a bedroom scene playfully? A grown couple in bed, husband gets frisky, next thing you know they're smacking each other mischievously, and what a moment it makes for. Now I know I'm stating the obvious when I say that nobody shoots songs the way Mani Ratnam does, but really it's once again true in Guru. Whether its Mallika Sherawat's item song set in Turkey, or Aishwarya's introduction number, every song is part of the narrative and is used specifically to continue the story. But if there's one song that sticks out like a sore thumb, then it's that celebration number in the second half, right after the couple have become parents. It's a song that doesn't fit into the narrative and only slackens the film's pace because it's so purposeless.

The beauty of Mani Ratnam's cinema is truly in its unpredictability. How he infuses humour or just creates wonderful moments out of the most ordinary situations. Look at that confrontation scene right before intermission. The one between Guru and his mentor, newspaper magnate Maneck Dasgupta, played by Mithun Chakraborty - it's a scene, which in a film by any other director, would have been treated as a loud, screaming match, but here Mani Ratnam treats it gently, and yet he doesn't lose the gravity of the moment.

My favourite scene in this film is the one in which Guru visits the home of the journalist who's hell-bent on bringing him down. Once there, he discovers that the reporter, played by R Madhavan is married to his very dear friend, one who has a very special place in Guru's heart. It's an awkward moment between the three of them, and no doubt it's now a complex relationship he shares with this journalist. But you have to see the simplicity and the beauty with which the director treats this scene. It's moments like these that hold together the film and your interest in it, even when the screenplay begins to drag.

The film's second half moves at a sluggish pace, but I'm not sure how much Mani Ratnam can be blamed for that. You have to understand two things here: One, passage of time is always difficult to show on film. And two, it is after all the story of a man's life, you can't expect high-drama at every corner. The sign of any good film - remember this always - is when all departments blend together seamlessly and no one department stands out from among the others. How many times have you felt that a film hasn't worked for you, but the camerawork really impressed you? Or the music stood out? The thing about Guru and about most films by Mani Ratnam is the consistency in its technical quality.

Having said that, I'm still going to point out that Rajiv Menon's cinematography is imaginative and also remarkable in the manner in which it effortlessly alternates depending on the mood - from eye-watering splendor in Aishwarya's rain song, to dramatic swish-pans in the court scenes, to the lavish, epic-scale trolley movements each time a train pulls into a station. As for the music, what can one say about A R Rahman's score that hasn't been said before, except that he seems to reserve his most versatile best for Mani Ratnam. Of the film's cast, Mithun Chakraborty playing the Gandhian newspaper baron, deserves mention for the dignity which he brings to the part, one that's clearly inspired by Indian Express founder Ramnath Goenka.

The actor in this film who truly blew my mind, is Aishwarya Rai. There is a silent grace, quiet nobility to her performance, which I have to admit I've never seen before. I think it can be safely said here that she's truly a director's actress. It's very evident that Mani Ratnam is neither overwhelmed by her beauty, not intimidated by her star power and perhaps that's why he treats her character so regularly. Of course the film belongs to Abhishek Bachchan, the protagonist, Guru himself. And in all honesty, Abhishek rises to the challenge like never before. With varied expressions, with a change of gait, with studied body language, Abhishek plays both the younger Guru and the older man so impressively that you cannot help admit this is the best he's been, in years.

Now if you want me to nit-pick, then I'll admit the film as a whole, isn't free of flaws. The climax, in my opinion, is a tad weak, and there are enough indulgences that could have been avoided. But still, Guru is an experience you must enjoy. Few filmmakers can translate their personal vision onto screen the way Mani Ratnam can. So that's two thumbs up for Guru - it's a must-watch for all.

Rating: ****(4/5) [VERY GOOD]
(Disclaimer: The writings displayed here are only for INFORMATIONAL purpose and is NOT used for COMMERCIAL/ PROMOTIONAL purposes.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Guru: Movie Review 1 (External)

Hello friends! As I promised I am bringing you Guru reviews. I am yet to see the movie. So I am presenting a review from an external site. Here is the original link. The review follows. Meet India's most powerful man, screams the headlines. You want to believe the statement primarily because the man at the helm of affairs is none other than Mani Ratnam, one of the finest talents India has produced. Irrespective of how his films are received by the paying public, you cannot deny the fact that a Mani Ratnam film is special.So when GURU, Mani's new film, makes claims such as the one mentioned above, the viewer saunters into the cineplex with real big expectations.

Mani's impressive repertoire includes a few bio-pics and now GURU is a welcome addition to the club. This time around, the supremely talented storyteller narrates the story of a man who rises from zilch and becomes the premier industrialist of the country through sheer hard work, determination, passion and grit.
As a story, GURU is tremendously inspiring and makes you feel all the more confident to encounter challenges and hurdles that may crop up in a journey called life. But by no means is GURU a documentary, as a section of the film industry/media would want us to believe. Sure, GURU chronicles several vital facets of an industrialist's life, but the marriage of enlightenment and entertainment is brilliantly executed here.
With GURU, Mani proves that he's indeed the guru when it comes to narrating stories. Note the poignant moments in the narrative -- Guru's thorny relationship with his father [Rajendra Gupta], his relationship with a newspaper publisher [Mithun Chakraborty], Guru's brother-in-law Jignesh [Arya Babbar] staging a walkout and creating a rift between Guru and his wife Sujata [Aishwarya Rai], the confrontation between the journalist [Madhavan] and Guru at the publisher's residence, Guru's emotional moment in the hospital when his trusted aide [Manoj Joshi] attempts suicide and of course, the finale.
The graph of GURU escalates gradually and reaches its crescendo in the concluding reels. Guru's monologue in a packed courtroom -- where an enquiry commission is looking into the complaints against Guru's companies -- gives you goose bumps. The simpleton from a village in Gujarat roars like never before and the impact it creates cannot be described in mere words. All you want to say is, it's the most fitting finale for a fabulous film!
Mani's choice of the protagonist -- Abhishek Bachchan -- is equally worthy. You ought to be enormously talented to understand the nuances of the character and Abhishek deserves the highest praise for reliving a complex role. You smile when he smiles, you cry when he cries… you relive every single emotion that the character experiences. Only goes to show that the actor involves you at every step with a stupendous performance.

In a nutshell, GURU packs in a solid punch in those 2.45 hours. The year 2007 may have just begun, but one can confidently state that this Mani Ratnam film will rank prominently amongst the bests of the year when we go into a flashback mode later this year. Put your hands together for one of the most courageous attempts on the Hindi screen. GURU is a film not to be missed!

In a small village of Idar in Gujarat, a young man dreams of making it big some day. His father [Rajendra Gupta], the headmaster of the village school, tells him that dreams never come true. But Gurukant Desai [Abhishek Bachchan] dares to dream!Set in 1951, GURU tells the story of a ruthlessly ambitious villager who moves to Turkey first and Mumbai later with his wife Sujata [Aishwarya Rai] and brother-in-law Jignesh [Arya Babbar] to fulfill his dreams.
In Mumbai, truth dawns upon Guru that the business world is a closed community ruled by a handful of rich and influential people who don't believe in giving opportunities to new players. Despite barriers, he starts a company called Shakti Trading and climbs the ladder of success at a furious pace.Manik Dasgupta aka Nanaji [Mithun Chakraborty], who publishes a newspaper Swatantra, treats Guru as his son. But when he learns that Guru's means to make it big are not right, he along with the Editor of his newspaper, Shyam [Madhavan], decide to expose Guru's unjust ways.
Even though GURU is a bio-pic, the serpentine twists and turns in the screenplay are the mainstay of the enterprise. You may have heard of a few incidents, but the life sketch of the leading industrialist makes for an interesting celluloid experience.From the writing point of view, while GURU holds your attention at most times, there are a few loose ends, though negligible, that you cannot overlook. The tiff between Guru and his bro-in-law Jignesh is one of those tracks. What actually brings about a rift between the two and why doesn't Jignesh reappear anywhere in the story later is not explained.

Another track that doesn't really hold your attention is the one between Madhavan-Vidya Balan. Although the emotional sequence between them is a highpoint [the smooch that follows is aesthetically filmed], you still wish there was some more meat in this sub-plot.Moreover, the film can do without a song 'Ek Lo Ek Muft' [appears soon after Guru and his wife are blessed with twins] and also the pacing could've been tighter in the second half.GURU ranks amongst Mani Ratnam's finest attempts. In fact, it wouldn't be erroneous to state that the film is at par with his most accomplished works like NAYAKAN, AGNI NAKSHATRAM, GITANJALI, ROJA and BOMBAY. Every sequence in GURU bears the stamp of a genius and the outcome is tremendous.A.R. Rahman's music is in sync with the film. 'Maiya Maiya' at the start of the film [Mallika Sherawat] is sizzling, while 'Barso Re' [Ash's introduction] and 'Tere Bina' are melodious to the core. Rahman's background score is also topnotch. Rajiv Menon's cinematography is of international quality. The lensman captures the 1950s look, right to the present day setting, with flourish. Vijay Krishna Acharya's dialogues are of superior quality. The writing in the last twenty minutes is fantastic.

Reserve all the awards for Abhishek Bachchan. No two opinions on that! His performance in GURU is world class and without doubt, a shade above his career-best work in YUVA. From a sharp teenager in Turkey to the biggest entrepreneur of the country, Abhishek handles the various shades this character demands with adroitness. He takes a giant leap with this film!Aishwarya Rai too stuns you with a powerful performance. Known for her angelic looks all the while, the actor will make people sit up and notice the reservoirs of talent in GURU. Also, the chemistry between Abhishek and Aishwarya is electrifying. Mithun Chakraborty is in form after a long, long time. And it's a pleasure to see the veteran deliver a natural performance from start to end.Madhavan's role could've been stronger, but he enacts it with élan. Vidya Balan too suffers due to a weak characterization, but makes up with a confident performance. Arya Babbar is first-rate in a brief role. The film has a number of characters, but the ones who register a strong impact are Roshan Seth, Manoj Tyagi and Sachin Khedekar.On the whole, GURU is one of the finest films to come out of the Hindi film industry. At the box-office, its business will be excellent at the multiplexes as compared to the single screens. In fact, the business at the multiplexes [which are performing 12/14/18/20 shows a day] will be enough to make the film a success story in days to come. Strongly recommended, go for it!
Rating: **** (4/5)
(Disclaimer: The pictures and writings displayed here is only for INFORMATIONAL purpose and is NOT used for COMMERCIAL/ PROMOTIONAL purposes.)

Movie Preview: EKLAVYA

Contemporary India. A majestic fort. A royal dynasty that no longer rules. A king without a kingdom.
Yet Eklavya [Amitabh Bachchan], their royal guard, lives in a time warp. He lives only to protect the fort, the dynasty and the king.
For nine generations, Eklavya’s family has protected Devigarh, a centuries old citadel in Rajasthan. His marksmanship is stuff of legends. His unflinching loyalty inspires ballads. Eklavya has spent his entire life serving the royals and closely guarding their secrets, but now he’s getting old and increasingly blind.
Unable to cope with the suffocating customs of his land, the heir, Prince Harshwardhan [Saif Ali Khan], has stayed away in London. But the sudden demise of the queen, Rani Suhasinidevi [Sharmila Tagore], forces the Prince back to the kingdom he had left behind.
The Prince’s return brings a rush of joy into the moribund fort. His mentally challenged twin sister, Princess Nandini [Raima Sen] and his childhood love Rajjo [Vidya Balan] are delighted to see him. But the joy of reunion is short-lived.
There is unrest in the kingdom: Farmers are being stripped of their lands. The king, Rana Jaywardhan [Boman Irani], influenced by his brother, Rana Jyotiwardhan [Jackie Shroff], supports the atrocities being forced upon the helpless peasants. The king receives a death threat over the phone. An irreverent police officer, Pannalal Chohar [Sanjay Dutt], is called in to investigate. But he might be too late.
The fragile peace of the land is suddenly shattered by a barrage of bullets. And amidst the mayhem, the safely guarded secrets of the fort are unveiled. What follows is a contemporary, edge-of-the-seat dramatic action thriller with a stellar ensemble cast – Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan, Boman Irani, Jackie Shroff, Jimmy Sheirgill, Raima Sen and Sharmila Tagore.
The film marks the return of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who directs after a hiatus of seven years.

The First Look of EKLAVYA unleashed

Here is the ultimate scoop for the movie-lovers! Film-maker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who is coming back to direction after a hiatus of 7 years, has come up with his multi-crore, star-studded action thriller, his magnum opus EKLAVYA - THE ROYAL GUARD. It will definitely be a thing to watch. A glimpse of this film was shown with LAGE RAHO MUNNA BHAI.

Vidhu's last production LAGE RAHO MUNNA BHAI (Dir: Rajkumar Hirani) has proved to be the biggest critically acclaimed movie of 2006 as well as a money-spinner blockbuster.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Guru becomes a rage in Canda. Same for India?

Canada's most populous city is bonkers for Bollywood this week as stars from India's hugely popular film industry are set to arrive for the landmark world premiere of "Guru." It's rare for such events to take place outside of India, and the premiere has many in the city's South Asian community buzzing with anticipation. Some fans have dished out hundreds of dollars for a ticket to Thursday's red-carpet gala screening.

Directed by Mani Ratnam, "Guru" is a rags-to-riches love story starring Abhishek Bachchan as a man who strives to climb to the top of the business ladder. Bachchan and his co-star/rumoured girlfriend, Aishwarya Rai, are to walk the red carpet with the rest of the cast at the Elgin Theatre Thursday evening. A press conference originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon was postponed until Friday morning because of changes to the stars' flights, said organizers.

City officials said they expect up to 10,000 fans to line the streets outside the Yonge Street theatre to catch a glimpse of Rai and Bachchan at the premiere. Officials asked police to block off part of the street in anticipation of the hysteria.

We don't know if the hot combo will set the Indian cinemas afire. Going by the tremendous hype and Ash-Abhi marriage rumours, it definitely has the potential to rock the box-office. Their last film together "Umrao Jaan" bombed at the BO (baring DHOOM:2, which was a multistarrer blockbuster).

Only time will tell!


Hello, Guys!

Last year I gave you ample scopes to find out much information about the hottest film that season. This year I have come up with the much-searched Bollywood movie reviews.This will not only give you the much-needed information 'bout the film but also guide you to choose the movies to see. I will post others' reviews about the films and latest happenings out there in this blog. Box office info will be available here. There will also be my personal recommendation and special features. So, let's start.

Tomorrow we'll come up with the latest release GURU on the review segment. The film was supposed to hit the theatres on December 22. It was shifted to 12th Jan due to clash with Bhagam Bhag, which is doing well. Let's hope the A-A combo to hit the jackpot this time!
Hope you'll enjoy!