Guru Review, What’s Behind: Films made in sports backdrop are witnessing high success rate off late at Indian Box Office. In the same line, ‘Irudhi Suttru’ and ‘Saala Khadoos’ from Madhavan, Ritika Singh directed by Sudha Kongaral have seen decent commercial success and critical applause in Tamil and Hindi respectively. The same story, script is further refined for a remake in Telugu titled ‘Guru’ starring Venkatesh in main lead. Let’s see, is this flick better than original or not?
Guru Story: Adithya aka Aadi (Venkatesh) is a talented boxer and a rudely belligerent coach transferred to Vizag for training the women boxers. Among the Vizag slums, Aadi finds Rameshwari aka Ramudu (Ritika Singh), a born champion girl but aggressive and carefree missing in a proper goal setting. As Aadi begin to train Ramudu and her sister Lux for the World Championship selections, their real challenge lies in between and outside the ring. An immature Ramudu first falls in love with Aadi and then realizes the original face of outside world. How Ramudu fulfills the goal of Aadi is rest of emotionally charged narration.
Guru Artists and Technicians: Actually, ‘Guru’ is a safe project for Venkatesh, Sudha Kongara because of the script’s prior approval from Kollywood and Bollywood audience. So, the exact battle was to see how Venkatesh’s character comes out when Madhavan just tore it apart in original. Director Sudha Kongara analyzed the minute flaws in last two versions and technically fine tuned them offering a best movie watch experience. The way whole backdrop is shifted to Visakhapatnam and re-creating slum atmosphere gave a complete realistic feel. Emotional pitching and drama ripening between Venky and Ritika or Ritika and her family members was too good. Though humorous entertainment falls back from standard Telugu cinema commercial formula, emotions speak more. Despite, we are in for a predictable narrative with open screenplay, definitely situations are a little fresh and funny. Harshavardhan dialogues are in sync with authentic characterizations and central plot. Replacing Sivakumar Vijayan with Sakthivel as cameraman was a wise choice as visuals were of top notch world quality. Sathish Suriya’s editing is flawless. Santosh Narayanan’s music is one of the biggest assets for ‘Guru’ enhancing the overall impression. In particular, BGM is one of the best in recent times. Production standards from YNOT Studios are worth appreciative.
Onto performances, Venkatesh is just male lead but Ritika Singh runs away with all top honors. Their on-screen chemistry is basic lifeline to arrest the viewers attention. Venkatesh’s coach getup, rude training skills, arrogant attitude are nothing less than perfection. This is undoubtedly one of the best characterizations written for Venky in his career. Ritika Singh is a show stealer. Her Pawan Kalyan imitations will make theater roofs to fly off. Depicting the slum life, teenage fantasies and finally realizing the dream, there’s a proper graph for her role. Naazar as Ponds, Tanikella as Venky’s well wisher, Raghu Babu-Anita as Ritika parents and Zakir Hussain as antagonist Dev suited very well. Rest struck to their roles.
Slow At Times
Lack of Entertainment
Cinematic Treatment At Times
Guru Rating Analysis: At every promotional interview, Venkatesh was wobbling in confidence as he knew ‘Guru’ had strong content and balanced emotions to strike at its target audience. After watching enough of sports based inspirational films in last few years, agreed that ‘Guru’ hasn’t got anything more than ‘Dangal’ but when it’s a Telugu movie with our own sensibilities, it makes a difference. Director Sudha Kongara had a strong visual sense in establishing the mood and sketching the character behavior. Added with highly efficient technical team, the on screen output was just of International standard.
Introducing Venkatesh as Aadi and his transfer to Vizag sets the footing for Ritika Singh’s entry into story. Her family fun, drama and pathetic state of affairs in India for enthusiastic sports aspirants are executed well. Songs though composed in a new style, one does not know how far it helped the film. Once Venky hires Ritika, the narrative never looked back. Ritika expelling herself from the qualifier rounds followed by Sibling rivalry, love story made first half a tight package.
Into second half, yet again the poor infrastructure, politics in sports and sexual harassment exposed the typical Indian sports environment. Though we know that Ritika’s triumph is the climax, in between artists like Zakir Hussain, Tanikella Bharani, Naazar does their part in upholding the film till last stage.
All in all, ‘Guru’ isn’t a methodical commercial movie Telugu audience are addicted to. Kudos to Venkatesh for taking up this challenge, subsiding his heroic image for elevating Ritika Singh’s life. ‘Guru’ is mainly targeted at urban multiplex and Overseas Telugu audience. Despite winning the immense critics’ applause, Box Office judgment from lower order centers will decide the overall result. CineDhol goes with 3.25 stars appreciating Sudha Kongara’s efforts.
Guru Verdict: Telugu Dangal, Truly Inspirational
Guru Rating: 3.25/5.0
Reviewed by Srivaas