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The Guru
cast: Jimi Mistry, Heather Graham, Marisa Tomei, Sanjeev Bhaskar, and Michael McKean

director: Daisy Von Sherler Mayer

94 minutes (15) 2002
Universal VHS rental and retail
Also available to rent or buy on DVD

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Dance teacher Ramu has always dreamed of being a movie star. His cousin in the US is apparently rich and happy, so Ramu is eager to leave India to join him. Unfortunately, his cousin has rather exaggerated. Ramu finds himself sharing a crummy apartment with illegal immigrants, and working as a waiter. His only offer of acting work is a porn movie, which introduces him to the strangely spiritual Sharonna - but even then, he fails to, erm, perform.
   Then, while he's serving canap�s at a rich girl's birthday party, the spiritual guru hired for the occasion keels over drunk, and Ramu is called upon to replace him. Scraps of sexual advice gleaned from Sharonna prove a hit with jaded Manhattanites, and soon he�s on his way to the big time - but he needs Sharonna to keep feeding him her unique wisdom. Since she thinks she's coaching him to become a porn star, and has an uptight fiancée who knows nothing about Ramu, or her career, things are just bound to become complicated...
   For a film dealing with illegal migration, the porn industry, and sexual hypocrisy, The Guru is a surprisingly rose-tinted film, full of Bollywood romanticism and rom-com clichés. Gentle fun is poked at the mostly nonexistent problems of the rich and bored, but essentially this is a good-natured boy-meets-girl romance, complete with an attempt to win back the bride as she stands at the altar.
   Jimi Mistry has a lot of fun as Ramu, the eternal optimist, at first delighted by his sudden fame and wealth, but finally realising that love is far more valuable. Heather Graham's Sharonna is a fairly lightweight heroine, but sterling support from Ramu's hangers-on and a cast of eccentric rich clients beefs up the film.
   The ending feels a little hurried, as if the filmmakers were too busy wrapping up the romance to explore the comedic heights that Ramu's spiritual career could have risen to. Overall, this is a frothy, fun confection, perfectly enjoyable, but rather lacking in substance.
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