The Guru Review
probably won't further Hollywood's appreciation of Indian culture, but it will certainly provide a fresh turn for the genre of mainstream comedy. You'd be forgiven for thinking that The Guru is another line of Bollywood musicals streamlined for the average cinema enthusiast, but fortunately the film is actually an adult comedy that isn't scared to be slightly risqué.
The Guru tells of Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry), a young and vibrant Indian dance instructor who is suckered by a friend's false claims of living a high New York lifestyle, fresh with penthouses and red Mercedes. Upon arriving in New York, Ramu is dismayed to find his friend living merely as a waiter in an Indian restaurant. However, desperate to be an actor, Ramu signs up for the part in a film made by 'Ramrod' productions, owned by Dwain (Spinal Tap's Michael McKean), and doesn't realise that he is making a porn movie and that his function is to have sex with the lead actress Sharonna (Heather Graham). Ramu fails to 'perform', and through a few madcap events ends up pretending to be a sex guru to New Age-socialite Lexi (Marisa Tomei), and she knows how to make him famous, even if Ramu wants to prove he can act.
The Guru is helped tremendously by having two sexy and important actresses Morisa Tomei and Heather Graham bulk out its lead roles. They lend a sense of 'major-studio' backing to the film, and the audience can rest at ease knowing that the film is assured. As a film, it manages to throw in many light-hearted genres, from the rom-com to the rags-to-riches storyline, combined with a healthy dose of gags relating to the porn industry. Yes, it render Indian culture to the barest of stereotype, but it certainly celebrates it rather than applying a sense of mockery.
Jimi Mistry, who many will recognise from East Is East or even Eastenders, will probably fit smoothly into the monopolised Indian roles in Hollywood. His accent sounds slightly skew, but he is still a likeable lead. Heather Graham has always had good Leading-Lady potential in the lightweight market, and she seems perfectly at ease with romantic comedy. After Boogie Nights, everything must seem a stroll to her. Even Morisa Tomei isn't scared to make a fool of herself on camera, and the Oscar winning actress is proving that she deserves to be back in vogue after In The Bedroom.
It's no surprise that The Guru is brought to us from the same producers as Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones' Diary and About A Boy, but what is so surprising is that for once the makers have aimed solely for a slightly older market. The '15' certificate bestowed upon the film is a generous one, but it still looks destined to be a success on both sides of the pond.