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The metamorphosis of the Missionary School-educated, English bugger continues...
There was a time when we were taught that we have to wish our teachers wherever we saw them, be it the corridors in school or the famous stinky Maach Bajar near the Burnpur Railway Station. There were instances the the fear or awe of a teacher made me forget the time of the day and blabber a poorly articulated "Good Morning" standing under a street light at seven in the evening.
But that was a long time back, by the time I reached college I had perfected the art of wishing anyone who looked like a professor and at times I was even lucky enough to get replies from some of them. I can still remember hearing a faint "Good Morning" from Dr. M Ganesh everytime I met him in the dark corridors of Faculty Division III... But again, these incidents belong to a fast fading past. I am still in the process of getting into my present life.
When I stepped into my present role of an officer in a Nationalised company where every bit of official communication has to happen in Hindi as well as English, the futility of my Proficiency in the Art of Good Morning slowly dawned upon me. Except the handful of people at office who still accept english as a mean of official communication, its really difficult not to feel a bit disillusioned about the fact that the first eighteen years of my life were spent off in learning a foreign custom! All you have to say here to get noticed and nodded at is Namaste, whether its a workman, an officer, a stranger or even the Big Boss.
The sweeper who wipes the floor says "Saab Namaste"and the casual labourer who usually fills my jug from the cooler says, "Namashkar Sir" with the Sir trailing off into silence as if the utterance of one english word scathes his soul.
I guess I am just getting absorbed into the Indian Customs of which I was never a part, and its about time I did.
GURU is the story of one man who dared to dream, and dream big. Through and through its a celebration of the human ego, the perception of being intensely alive and intensely aware of the fact that we just cannot stop at one point of time and tell ourselves, "this is enough, this is what I had bargained for, nothing more and nothing less", for there is no limit for more.
This is probably the first time that an Indian movie has dared to move away from the beaten track of "love and truth and the ultimate victory of both". The fact that neither love nor truth form an indispensible part of our everyday existence is underlined time and again in GURU. For a change we have been able to bridge the gap between idealism and realism through GURU, and the film is commendable for that bare fact, if nothing else. Another aspect of the film is the sublte yet positive treatment of capitalism. In the present scenario where we can see a steady decline in the communist sentiments all across the world and more so in India, perhaps this emphasis on the ultimate importance of profit could not have been timed better. Munafa is all that matters and thats exactly what has been pointed out. Even though the moral issues have been slightly undermined, I can only recall what Mario Puzo quoted in the beginning of his magnum opus, The Godfather, "Behind every Great fortune, there a Great Crime"- Balzac.
Coming to the film itself, this is definitely the comeback vehicle for Abhishek Bachchan, even though some people claim Sarkar to be the the movie that turned him around, we have to understand that after Yuva this is the first movie where he hasn't shared screen space with his dad and still delivered a powerhouse performance. Definitely the big B's pride is not un called for. In Abhishek's portrayal of Gurubhai, one could see the emergence of one of the most prolific and resourceful actors of the present day. We can only hope that this is just the beginning of a long and entertaining career. Aishwarya Rai is brilliant in her role as the wife of a business tycoon, rising above the normal cravings of a lower middle class woman to fulfill the needs of her dreaming husband. Mithun Chakraborty, Vidhya Balan and Madhavan did their bits convincingly, but every bit of brilliant acting complemented each other and made the experience really enriching. No mention needs be made of Rahman's music. Its brilliant, but then thats routine. His consistency is enviable, though there is a scarcity of humable tunes in this particular album. The cinematography is also crisp and a treat for the eyes.
Though there are traces of movies like The Godfather (Gurubhai keeps making "offers they can't refuse" and keeps talking to "reasonable men"), The Fountainhead (During the final discourse in the courtroom, I couldn't help seeing glimpses of Howard Roark) and A walk to remember (The poignant story of Maddy and Vidya Balan) in GURU, at the end of the day... its a winner in all the departments, bold theme, powerful acting and the Hallmark of Mani Ratnam's Direction.
A must watch.