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Guru (2007 film)

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Movie poster for Guru
Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by Mani Ratnam
G. Srinivasan
Written by Mani Ratnam
Vijay Krishna Acharya
Starring Abhishek Bachchan,
Aishwarya Rai,
Vidya Balan,
Mithun Chakraborty,
Roshan Seth
Mallika Sherawat
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Rajiv Menon
Editing by A. Sreekar Prasad
Distributed by Madras Talkies
Release date(s) January 12, 2007
Language Hindi
IMDb profile
For other uses of the word "Guru," see Guru (disambiguation).

Guru (Hindi: गुरू) (2007) is a Hindi film directed by Mani Ratnam. It stars Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Madhavan and Vidya Balan in pivotal roles. The movie also stars Mithun Chakraborty in a supporting role, and Mallika Sherawat in a guest appearance. The movie also was released dubbed in Tamil and Telugu. The film was released on January 12, 2007, and premièred in Toronto, Canada.



Directed by Mani Ratnam, who penned the story and screenplay while Vijay Krishna Acharya wrote the Hindi dialogues. Shooting for the film took place in Turkey and Badami, Melkote, Karnataka, as well as in Chennai, Pollachi and Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The music is composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics by Gulzar. Cinematography for the film is handled by Rajiv Menon.[1] Guru has been described by Ratnam and others involved in the production as a film that is reflective of a man's desire for ambition and success, and how times have changed from the period immediately after the country's independence to the present. Some reports have speculated that the film is a biopic on the life of India's biggest petrochemicals tycoon, Dhirubhai Ambani. Like Guru, Ambani also had roots in Gujarat as the son of a schoolteacher, went abroad to work for the gas company Shell, and returned to India to import polyester. There are also differences between the two stories. Ratnam has described Guru as inspired by stories both past and present.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

In a small village of Idhar 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) never stopped dreaming.

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.

Spoilers end here.

Historical Similarities

In the film Abhishek Bacchan portrays Gurubhai Desai, who resembles Dhirubhai Ambani, the owner of Reliance India. Dhirubhai traveled to Yemen in his early years to work; In the film, Gurubhai travels to Turkey to escape his father's criticism.

Historically, the media war waged against Dhirubhai Ambani was fought by Ramnath Goenka's newpaper The Indian Express. In the film, the paper is named the Swatantra Sarkar, and is headed by Manik Das Gupta (Mithun Chakraborty). The reporter portrayed by Madhavan's Shyam Saxena resembles S. Gurumurthy.

Another image that resonates historically are the Contractors mentioned in the film, who closely resemble the Wadias. The younger Contractor shares similarities with Nusli Wadia.


The cast of Guru.
The cast of Guru.


Below is a vignette of each character in the film :

  • Gurukant Desai - Guru Kant Desai, simply called as Guru, belonged to a small village called Idhar situated in Gujarat. Coming from a humble background which comprised of a headmaster father, he was always taught to be content with what one has got rather than aspiring for something that may not be achievable by any means, whether it is materialistic or non-materialistic. But Guru had different plans. He wanted it all. So whether it was dreams, house or a village to live in, Guru always dreamt of something bigger. And all this since he was confident that he had it in him to achieve that, especially with a belief that he was the one who would be writing his own destiny. And soon a simple villager was en route to be one of the biggest visionary ever.
  • Sujata - Sujata was at one point of time, hesitant to marry Guru but it was a matter of time when she fell in love with him after being together as a couple in a one-room chawl. Her relationship with him became so strong over the years that regardless of what others had to say about him, for her Guru was the one who stood for love. In the end, she was his pillar of strength, providing him utmost support and courage to face life.
  • Manikdas Gupta (Nanaji) - Nananji ran a newspaper called Swathantra and years back was pretty impressed with the kind of fire that he could feel within Guru. He knew that Guru was a young lad who had it in him to be successful and though his walk towards his destination seemed too fast, he attributed it to his young blood. He was warned about some of Guru's so-called evil ways but for Nananji, Guru was spotless until he realized the truth. And now he wanted to fight to bring it to fore for all to see. Even if it threatens to destroy Guru or even himself.
  • Shyam Saxena - The same realization that had struck Nanaji struck Shyam too who didn't really have much love lost for Guru due to the way he worked and wanted him to be punished for his unethical and materialistic ways and along with Nanaji, he began publishing exposé's on Guru, revealing the truth behind the success of his business. According to Shyam, Guru had flirted with the law and the lawmakers, doing anything and everything to enhance his business, even if it did cross the law.
  • Meenu - Meenu is a young woman who limped and could be seen on a wheelchair. From her childhood, she had been extremely attached to Guru. Although Nanaji and Shyam were always being critical of him, questioning his ways, for Meenu, he was the man to be respected and admired since he was the only one who never asked her about her handicap and loved her unconditonally.


Guru cover
Studio album by A. R. Rahman
November 18, 2006 (India)
Recorded Panchathan Record Inn
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 39:22
Producer(s) A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Sillunu Oru Kaadhal
Sivaji: The Boss

The soundtrack was released in November 18, 2006. Guru, a musical by nature, has music composed by A. R. Rahman with lyrics provided by Gulzar. Like many of Rahman's soundtracks, Guru comes with a variety of songs. The music and lyrics met popularity upon release. The songs vary in their musical style, from the Turkish inspired Mayya Mayya to the folk-ish Ek Lo Ek Muft and the love ballad, Tere Bina.

When out on a concert in Hong Kong, Rahman bought with him an accordion, which can be heard through out the whole soundtrack. The song Tere Bina is dedicated to the memory of Ustad Nusrat Ali Khan since it was his 10th death anniversary.[2] Rahman had also tuned Ay Hairathe to the lyrics of Hazrat Amir Khushroo Ay Sarbathe Aashiqui which Gulzar had modified. Rahman had also personally trained Lebanese singer Maryem Tollar to sing Mayya, a song which was born when Rahman went for the Hajj in Makkah, hearing a man near a river who kept on saying "mayya mayya mayya" (water in Arab). Intrigued by how Indian the word sounded, he told Gulzar to incorporate the word into the tune he had created while touring in Toronto, Canada. [2]

The soundtrack has proved a success, staying at the number one spot thirteen weeks after it's release, despite receiving stiff competition from other albums released.[3].

The soundtrack release of Guru also incorporated bonus tracks from Rahman's other albums Rang De Basanti, Lagaan, Kisna, Zubeidaa and Meenaxi.

Track listing


Box office

Guru struck a hit at the box office. Guru opened well upon release, gaining momentum as the days went by [4]. In the United States, Guru, opening on a limited release, registered very good collections in its opening weekend, fetching 3 crores during this period, with a very high screen average.[5]. By it's seventh week, the film has netted 50 crores in India[6], collecting 13 crores in the U.S. and the U.K. [7]. As of 23rd February 2007 the Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai starrer, released Jan 12, has grossed approximately Rs.800 million across the country [1]


Guru has generally received good reviews. The New York Times called the film an "epic paean to can-do spirit."[8] The New York Post gave it three out of four stars, and the Los Angeles Weekly called it the best Hindi film since Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India.[9] Richard Corliss of TIME Magazine compared the film to Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and said that one of the main highlights of the film was its climax. He further noted "For movies to celebrate an entrepreneur is rare - it doesn't seem like a natural weave for Mani Ratnam. Guru is a fine polyester."[10] Taran Adarsh of claimed in his review that "Guru ranks as one of Mani Ratnam's finest efforts and one of the best to come out of Hindi cinema," [11] but also claimed there were "under developed characterisations of Shyam Saxena and Meenu", played by R. Madhavan and Vidya Balan respectively. Praising both the actors for their performances in the film, he added "Madhavan's role could have been stronger and Vidya Balan also suffers due to a weak characterisation", something Raja Sen of agreed with. [12] Sen also said that "the point in the end when Gurukant Desai vociferously likens himself and his fight for more to Mahatma Gandhi's freedom struggle was ridiculous". Khalid Mohammad questioned what he viewed as the message at the end, asking "as long as public welfare is on the agenda, it doesn’t matter if you use bribes and cross legal limits?". [13] Abhishek Bachchan received almost unanimous praise for his performance and Aishwarya Rai too garnered good feedback.

Raja Sen should have noticed that Guru stated that he is not Gandhiji but his struggle is similar - against pointless and therefore oppressive bureaucracy. Khalid Mohammad should ask himself what prompted Guru who produces the best polyester and profitably sells for the cheapest price to bribe his way. The answer is there in Guru's testimony before the commission. I salute Mani Ratnam for producing the best Indian movie to date. [14]


  • During a scene, Aishwarya Rai fell and had a few bruises on her hands and feet. Filming had to be suspended for a few hours while she received first aid. [16]
  • S. Bharathi, a lawyer in real life, plays the role of a marriage registrar in the movie. [17]
  • For the Tamil release of Guru, Tamil actor Surya Sivakumar lent his voice for Abhishek Bachchan's character and veteran actor Nassar has voiced for Mithun Chakraborty's character. Actress Rohini has voiced lines for Aishwarya Rai, while Madhavan has voiced his own lines. [18]
  • Guru is the only movie to be shot at the premises of the famed 'Express Estates', the 21 acre stretch in the heart of Chennai City (opp. to Spencer plaza), the home of The New Indian Express and Dinamani, as the film demanded a period look for their settings of a media house, which the old office buildings provided. Incidentally the buildings were brought down to dust weeks after the filming was over in the premises, since the Media Group moved to a shiny new location in Ambattur.


  1. ^ Guru. Guru production.
  2. ^ a b Rahman on how the music of Guru was born. The Telegraph. Retrieved on 18 February 2007.
  3. ^ Top Ten albums for the week. IndiaFM. Retrieved on 18 February 2007.
  4. ^ Indian B.O.: 'Guru' strong in parts. IndiaFM. Retrieved on 18 February 2007.
  5. ^ Overseas: 'Guru' is a smash hit. IndiaFM. Retrieved on 18 February 2007.
  6. ^ Domestic Box Office. IBOSNetwork. Retrieved on 18 February 2007.
  7. ^ Overseas: Realism bites the dust. IndiaFM. Retrieved on 18 February 2007.
  8. ^ Webster, Andy (2007-01-15). Polyester and Power at Play for a Mogul and His India. Retrieved on 2007-02-09.
  9. ^ Times, Hindustan (2007-01-17). Guru opens with a big bang in the U.S.. Hindustan Times. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  10. ^ Corliss, Richard (2007-01-12). Guru - Review. TIME Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-09.
  11. ^ Adarsh, Taran (2007-01-12). Guru. IndiaFM. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  12. ^ Sen, Raja (2007-01-17). Guru. Rediff. Retrieved on 2007-01-12.
  13. ^ "Good value for Mani", Paper, 2007-01-12.
  14. ^ Adarsh, Taran (2007-01-12). Guru. IndiaFM. Retrieved on 2007-03-09.
  15. ^ Guru, dubbed in Telugu. TotalTollywood. Retrieved on 31 July 2006.
  16. ^ Aishwarya injured during the shooting of Guru. IMDb. Retrieved on 31 July 2006.
  17. ^ S. Bharati to star in Guru. IMDb. Retrieved on 31 July 2006.
  18. ^ Top actor dubs for Abhisehk in Tamil. IndiaFM. Retrieved on 11 Jan 2007.
  19. ^ Canada mayor invites 'Guru' crew for world premiere. Indo-Asian News Service. Retrieved on 10 Jan 2007.

External links

v  d  e
Films directed by Mani Ratnam

Pallavi Anu Pallavi (1983) • Unaru (1985) • Pagal Nilavu (1985) • Idaya Kovil (1985) • Mouna Raagam (1986) • Nayagan (1987) • Agni Natchathiram (1988) • Geethanjali (1989) • Anjali (1990) • Thalapathi (1991) • Roja (1992) • Thiruda Thiruda (1993) • Bombay (1995) • Iruvar (1997) • Dil Se (1998) • Alaipayuthey (2000) • Kannathil Muthamittal (2002) • Aayitha Ezhuthu (2004) • Yuva (2004) • Guru (2007) • Lajjo (2008)

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starring: Amitabh Bachchan
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Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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EAN: 0828970124898
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Label: Eros
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Number Of Items: 1
Publisher: Eros
Release Date: July 16, 2007
Running Time: 134 minutes
Studio: Eros

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