You can either hate a mani Ratnam movie, or love it, but you cannot deny that the perfomances that he extracts from each of his actor is nothing short of outstanding..GURU is a movie dependent on the performance of the main protagonist..unless the audience emphatise with Guru, you wont be able to identify with the movie..however, Abhishek with an award worthy performance manages to grasp you in his hands and take you through all his trials and tribulations..you laugh when he laughs, you cry when he cries, you feel angry when someone tries to take him down..such is the impact that Abhishek aka Gurubhai generates thorughout the movie,..and that is where the movie suceeds to a great level..hats off to Mr.Mani Ratnam for extracting the best out of Abhishek..definitely a golden feather in his career..
Abhishek Bachan has infused so much life into his character that you start thinking that he is actually a business tycoon ! His playful interactions with his mother, his respect towards his father and a restrained revolt against him, his optimist attitude towards setting up his "bijness", his love towards his wife and his relationship with his god daughter, and his revolt at the system..everything has been etched out so beautifully that even the subtlest of emotions have been brought out by Junior B in a way that lingers with you long after you have come out of the theatre..Abhishek has got under the skin of the character Gurubhai so much so that you begin to think that Guru really exists ! His body language over the time that charts his life from 15 - 70 also changes accordingly, from a young and restless youngster to a confirdent young entrepreuner to a more subdued and relaxed achiever..the dialogues that he speaks, almost every sentence ends with a punchline, that you have to think "well said" !! The best scenes among the best ones (there are no bad scenes really!) are the one when he comes back from Turkey and talks to his father regarding his intentions of setting up his own business, the scene where he throws the blank cheque, his anger that follows, his scene with his wife on the swing talking about their future, his scene in the hospital with his friend where he breaks down, his addressing of his employees first on a big stage and then later in the rain, the scene where Mithun calls him home and decides to expose him, the scene in the train with Ash, his final revolt in court and many many more...GURU is definitely an Abhishek film all the way and he carries it on his shoulders ever so efficiently..this will definitly be a milestone in the actor's career..
Coming to the rest of the actors, those who say that ASH can only look beautiful and not act can eat their words..standing by her husband's side through all the highs and lows, her persona elicits a confident, outspoken, yet conservative nature..her expression of anger mixed with hurt upon reading her lover's letter and her breakdown in the train afterwards are to be seen to be believed..the scene where she makes her daughters sing for their recuperating father is good..she is the confidante of Guru, all his anger and frustrations are handled by her in the most dignified manner, she however comes into her own towards the climax where she becomes the mouthpiece for Guru in the court, without her loving support and willpower, Guru would have lost..Mani Ratnam has managed to convey most of her emotions through her eyes, in a natural manner..even her body language from a bubbly and strongheaded village girl to a loving wife to a staunch supporter of Guru has been potrayed brilliantly by the actor..performance wise this would be one of the best in her career..
MITHUN CHAKARAVRTHY has finally got a role that he sink his teeth deep into..he has performed it so brilliantly that you wonder why this actor was wasted in B and C grade movies all these years..hs interactions with Guru, his mixed feelings of love and hate towards his god son, and his outburst at his staff running his newspaper firm have been excellently enacted by the actor..this should the comeback movie for this actor..
MADHAVAN albeit in a short role, has done well..he looks much younger and one of the scenes that stands out is the one where he exposes Guru's misdoings in the factory through an interview with the Director..his proposal scene with Vidya Balan is also well written although was a little taken aback with the lip lock that followed, aesthetic as it was !
VIDYA BALAN again in a short role has performed well..her relationship with her godfather Guru is cute ..the best scene where she gets to shine is the proposal one with Madhavan..however a weak characterization undermines her performance considerably...
Others who stand out are the actors playing Guru's father, his friend from Turkey and Arya Babbar who plays his bro-in-law..
Direction is top notch..Mani as usual knows how to get the best out of every aspect mirroring the tiniest detail in a magnified format..this could easily be counted as one among his masterpieces..
Cinematography is excellent..where it manages to essay the old world feel via sepia/black and white tones to the 70s where its shot mostly in blue hues..
Music by RAHMAN is arousing..especially the background score which you actually find yourself humming after the movie is over (or was it just me ?)..arrangements and orchestration is rich and top class..truly one of his finest efforts ever, after RDB..
All in all, GURU is movie not to be missed..especially for the performance by our Gurubhai himself, Abhishek Bachan !!