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The Guru

Starring: Heather Graham, Jimi Mistry, Marisa Tomei and Michael McKean.
Directed by: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Rated: R

 



The Guru is a musical comedy where Bollywood meets Hollywood with style and guffaws!

Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer (Heimer Schmidt) didn't wimp out in the extravagant Bollywood musical numbers and the results are stunning and spectacular. If you're not familiar with the Bollywood style The Guru will be a nice "Americanized" introduction.

Story goes, Ramu (Jimi Mistry) is a dance teacher in old Bombay. He gets word from his successful cousin that America is truly the land of opportunity. Since childhood Ramu has dreamed of being a movie star. Now with the support of an established relative his rocket is fueled and aimed towards the stars.

Naturally he gets to New York and the cousin turns out to be living in a cramped apartment in Queens working in a small Indian restaurant. Oops a daisy he lied.

Ramu is still unshaken and takes a few auditions landing in the office of a porn director named Dwain (Michael McKean). Through a series of well done mistaken sentences, Ramu books a job - a porn job.

On set he meets all American girl/porn star Sharrona (Heather Graham) and quickly realizes the mistake he made. He's quite sure real actors don't ravage young nubile babes in front of a crew and camera. Ramu can't go through with his fluffy debut. He asks Sharrona to "train" him in the porn arts while he heads back to the lowly job of waiter to stay afloat.

His exboss is catering a trendy New Yorker's latest theme party. There's a drunken Guru ready to entertain with mystic jabbertalky and incense. But when the Guru passes out, it's Ramu that's cloaked in the turban and shawls and thrown into the party as the Guru. He dances with the crowd and uses Sharrona's words about sex on the set as his philosophy. He's a huge hit with the Tavern on the Green crowd. And to none more then troubled searching socialite on multiple therapists list, Lexi (Marisa Tomei).

The Guru is a huge hit at the shindig and Lexi immediately organizes his new career as Guru to the elite. Ramu becomes a sensation.

As his star begins to rise his heart gets heavy with the sickeningly sweet syrup of love. He's been bitten bad and has a big old fashioned case of Smittenitus. All he can think about is his little angelic porn star Sharrona…

It's a wild magic carpet ride that frequently makes you laugh out loud. The nicest part is the pairing of mega adorable Heather Graham with Jimi Ministry. The film was written by a gal, and directed by a gal. They cast a handsome Indian man as the lead! They could have cheated and cast a dark Italian established actor in the lead - which would have sucked - but it is Hollywood and too often the "brand name" over logic wins out.

British actor Jimi Mistry plays the actor come guru, Ramu to perfection. He gives Ramu soul and depth even playing the John Travolta wanna be. In less capable hands Ramu could have been a generic stereotypical performance of the funny sad Indian fellow we always seem to be served. Bravo to Jimi. And holey pakoora the guys' friggitini adorable to boot gals. Yum-o-rama!

Heather Graham is a delight. Yes, she's playing another pornstar (she jokes about it in our interview here) but she does "porn girl" so well. Haha. No, she really has nice moral beneath her garter. Even woman in bad professions are still worthy of being loved. And loved for who they are and maybe we shouldn't always judge a person by what they do or how they look. Pretty deep for a comedy - but there you go.

Marisa Tomei is right on as the stuck up ditsy sexed out socialite. Hmm. I kid. Honestly, what can't this actor do? She volleys between comedy and drama with ease and always brings us something worthy of donating a few bucks in the till of a theater.

I'm a huge fan of Bollywood and the Indian culture so I adored the splicing of the two genres. The Guru is just a whimsical love story with a strange delivery that somehow works. The soundtrack is still blaring in the background as I type and it's been a week! Enjoy.

Snack recommendation: Chicken Tikka and a Diet Coke©

 

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