There is a saying in our village,if people say bad things about you,you must be doing something good.
The above quote used in the movie sums up the movie to a large extent. A movie by Manirathnam is always something to look forward to. They usually have enough positive attributes to overlook the negative ones. Same can be said about the latest offing from Madras Talkies.
Guru is the story of a guy making it from rags to riches, defining his own norms and breaking the convention. Though a disclaimer at the start of the movie claims its not based on any individual, the lead character here shows a lot of Ambani's trait.
One big problem with the movie is that the lead character excellently portrayed by Abhishek doesn't carry the emotional appeal to endear itself to the audience. Mani covers a lot of territory without addressing any aspect in-depth. As a result, when Abhishek gives a long monologue right at the end, its not uplifting. It falls a little flat. Also, there aren't many instances portraying the lead character making an impact on other's lives so as to make us care for him.
Mithunda plays an honest news publication owner who is initially impressed with Guru's enterprising attitude and later falls out with him as he learns how Guru plays outside the law for his personal gain. Interestingly, Mithun is given top billing. I really liked his portrayal and was pleasantly surprised. This is more due to the fact that I haven't watched any of his earlier art house performances and only sat through the trash that he dished out later in his career. Madhavan plays the young reporter hell bent on exposing Guru. There is not much to write about the two female leads. Aishwarya and Vidya are mere window dressing and could have been done away with.
Its also hard not to compare his latest effort with two other bio-pics that he has come up with: Iruvar and Nayagn. Both undisputed classics. Kamal and Mohanlal played characters with enough grey shades in them but were able to endear themselves to the audiences. That attribute is missing in Guru and hence gives an unsatisfied feeling.
A movie like this could have easily done away with the songs. This could be easily the worst of Mani-Rahman combination. The belly dancing song shot in Turkey with Mallika gyrating does offset some of the disappointment. Other songs are badly placed and just stall the story telling process.
In spite of the all the above criticism, the movie is definite paisa vasool for the following reasons.
1. Excellent acting by the three male leads.
2. Wonderful cinematography by Rajiv menon
3. Occasional manirathnam's touches
4. Some crisp dialogues.