Ooram Po Soundtrack

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Pachaikili Muthucharam Soundtrack

Intha Padaththin Padalai Patriya en karuththai Ingae Kaetkalaam



Maniratnam is at his best whenever he tries to make a bio-pic. Though I am not a big fan of ‘ Nayagan ’, it is still considered as a classic and Mani’s best by many. And we have the magnificent ‘ Iruvar ’ which is one of my all time favorites. So, has Mani done it again with ‘ Guru ’ by making a movie on the life of a business man? Well, almost. Mani has to be lauded just for choosing to do a movie on a business man. The character here is more grey and realistic as Mani captures all shades and facets of his character unlike a Velu Nayakar in Nayagan.

‘Guru’ is about a business man Gurukanth Desai and the journey of reaching his dream of making his company, the biggest in India. The movie is clearly split into two acts, the first act is about how a small village boy goes to Turkey to earn money, and returns back to India and become a business man. The second act is about how he handles the press and in specific a journalist who challenges his success by revealing all his illegal acts that made this quick success possible. Finally, the movie reaches a controversial end with Guru giving his own justification for his acts.

It is always tough to write a screenplay for a plot which traces the 50 years life of a man. The writer has to pick the right moments in this long journey which is just like a summary or a preface to a novel but which should give as much information as one would have got by reading the entire novel. Picking such right moments and placing it right one after another without loosing the rhythm and pace of the movie is really a toll task. Especially when it is an Indian movie we also need place for songs. As Maniratnam always say in his interviews, this and his is a kind of cinema which is a fiction that is firmly rooted in reality and yet slightly dramatized to fit into the commercial format.

Everything happens very fast in the first half of the movie and soon Guru become very big in his business. One may ask how it is possible for someone to come up in life so quickly. At first, he is shown taking photo with some 50 people around him, cut to next shot Guru taking photo with 500 people, cut to next shot Guru taking photo with 5000 people and that is Mani’s way of telling Guru’s growth. It is not necessary to show every single incident to show how it all happened. For that, Mani has used few scenes in the starting itself. It strongly registers the attitude of Guru in our mind and so it is not difficult to believe how everything else that followed became possible. The scene in which he wins a gambling in Turkey and especially the reason for his decision to marry Aishwarya reveals to a major extent on how far he can go to make money in his business. After these few passing shots and quick moments, there are no answers given for audience’s questions like how, when and why. There need not be. But Guru is not shown in a totally bad light either, he is a very affectionate person, has his own sentiments for who have helped him to reach this height. Guru is a perfect grey character portrayed on screen so for like how most of us now in reality are.

Don’t think that it is a dry documentary on a business man’s life. The movie is typical Maniratnam with all his usual clichés. An item number, heroine dancing in rain, romance between the lead pair, their childish conversations, a public gathering or meeting in rain, smart one-liners, Youngman lifting an old lady (his mother or grandma), tight close-ups etc., especially the song picturisation and their placement in the screenplay. Half of every song is fantasized and the other half goes to the background allowing the screenplay to proceed further. Expect the unexpected from the way the songs are used in the movie.

The movie slips slightly in the second half. For logical reasons, Guru is made to have a soft corner for Vidya Balan’s character. It is like saying, "since Madhavan (who plays the journalist and who is the only threat to Guru’s business) is Vidya’s husband, Guru couldn’t harm Madhavan for stopping him". But Mani cleverly keeps this as a subtext and never anyone in the movie really say it. Again, it is a cinematic cliché in Mani’s style. Also the mood curve of each scene in the second half is rather unconventional, the serious and sad mood of every scene is lost to some extent when one of the characters does or says something light and funny. Though I am not complaining, I was not comfortable when I saw it. I couldn’t judge whether I like it or not because I don’t see the sensitivity being lost completely. It turned out like a Rahman’s composition; I think it will take time to grow. “Ek Lo Ek Muft” though a very catchy folk number becomes a speed breaker. I thought the romantic scenes between Madhavan and Vidya also hinders the pace for a while. Inspite of a good performance by Madhavan as an honest and courageous journalist, the character that he plays which is very important for the movie lacks completeness. There is something missing in the character. We don’t see him as someone who is as strong as one who can fight a highly influential man like ‘Guru’.

Finally, movie comes to its terms in the climax. I don’t know whether that is the stand of Maniratnam, but if you ask him he would say, that he doesn’t take any stand and Guru speaks from his own perspective. Of course, it seems right from Gurukanth’s perspective. It again goes back to “Nayagan” philosophy, ‘One can do anything if it is for the welfare of the people’. It is just that the man who did all wrong things for people’s welfare was a local gangster in Nayagan but here he is a business man. Yet it is not that simple, there is a notable difference between Guru and Velubhai. Guru’s selfishness earned good for so many people but that is not the case with Velubhai and that is why Guru is more realistic than Velubhai.

Abhishek Bachan easily carries the film on his shoulders. He is a usual Maniratnam’s hero full of energy and enthusiasm, smart and funny with an infectious personality. He is believable and convincing as a business man. I worried about how he would perform as an old man but Abhishek does a neat job all through and of course he reminds us Nayagan Kamal Haasan in lot of frames. Aishwarya looks too sophisticated for a small village girl role but her screen presence and on screen chemistry with Abhishek helps to pull off the character quite well. Mithun Chakravarthy expresses mix of affection towards Guru and hatred towards his actions very well. Vidya balan has nothing much to do.

Maniratnam’s movies always score high in technical department. Rajiv Menon’s cinematography doesn’t disappoint the audience who shouted when his name flashed in title card. Samir Chandha has authentically re-created the narrow streets of Bombay in Chennai. Songs of A.R.Rahman are already a big hit. Background score is also good. ‘Gurubhai’ and ‘Jaage’ runs all through the movie effectively as Guru’s themes.

What else, a single viewing of Maniratnam movie is definitely not enough to judge it fully. As I said, Maniratnam movies take time to grow. I am going to watch the movie again.


Kadhal Konden Background Score

Here is a detailed write-up on Yuvan's background score for Kadhal Konden, that I wrote for forumhub magazine. The write-up also includes high quality audio samples.