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'Guru' Review: Packs a Punch

Movie: Guru
Rating: 3/5
Banner:
Y Not Studios
Cast: Venkatesh, Ritika Singh, Tanikella, Nasser, Raghu Babu, Zakir Hussain and others
Dialogues: Harsha Vardhan
Music: Santosh Narayan
Cinematography: K.A. Shaktivel
Editor: Satish Suriya
Stunts: “Stunner” Sam, "Real" Satish
Producer: S. Sashikanth
Written and directed by: Sudha Kongara
Release date: Mar 31, 2017

Madhavan starrer "Saala Khadoos" was a decent hit in Bollywood and the film was also remade in Tamil. It won appreciation from the critics. So, when the news came that Venkatesh would be stepping in its Telugu remake, it generated huge curiosity.

"Guru" is remake of those movies and the original director helmed this movie. Let's find out how this Guru has fared up?

Story:
A boxing-coach Aditya (Venkatesh) who has trouble keeping his tempers down is transferred to Vizag, when he fights with the head coach Dev (Zakir Hussain).

Vizag is not known for having women boxing champions. He has no hopes to find any girl to train there. But luckily, he spots a slum girl Ramulu (Ritika) who has talent and is very aggressive like him.

Aditya takes up the challenge to train her into a champion. How Aditya and Ramulu tread their path to the glory overcoming the obstacles?

Artistes’ Performances:
Undoubtedly, "Guru" belongs to Venkatesh. The senior actor has given the best performance. He is as good as Shah Rukh Khan was in "Chak De India". But Venkatesh has added more emotional angle to this role and he has excelled in key poignant episodes.

New girl Ritika Singh is the real scene-stealer too. She stands out in the boxing sequences post interval. She is so natural.

Among other cast members Nasser and Tanikella Bharani are good. Zakir as lecherous head coach is fine too.

Technical Excellence: 
Although it was made with low budget, the film has good technical values. Cinematography is rich and the scenes inside boxing ring are filmed in professional way. Artwork is decent.

The editing in the second half is taut. It has about two-hours runtime. Songs are not that effective but Santosh Narayan's background score is first rate.

Dialogues by Harsha Vardhan should get thumbs up. There are some colloquial phrases in the film that our heroes normally don't dare of using them.

Highlights:
Venkatesh's intense performance
Rithika's honest act
Climax episode
Realistic scenes
Emotional thread

Drawback:
Slow Pace

Analysis:
Recently Bollywood has produced some beautiful sports movies like " Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", "Chak De India", "Sultan" and "Dangal". They have become huge box-office money-spinners.

In Tollywood, only few sports dramas were made but they are not as intense dramas as Bollywood movies were. They fall more in "mass-movies" genre than sports drama genre. But Venkatesh starrer "Guru" fills the void. 

"Guru" is as good as the original Hindi movie Madhavan starrer "Saala Khadoos". Sudha Kongara, who directed both Madhavan and this Venkatesh starrer, has narrated this in so engaging manner and has extracted winsome performances from Venkatesh and Ritika.

The story doesn't have any surprises and the screenplay goes on familiar way but she told the second half of the movie in taut manner.

Venkatesh is introduced as a man who is nearing 50 and is shown as a disgruntled person. It is a joy to watch him in ordinary look. His acting style is also quite different from his earlier work, so earnest and natural. 

Dialogues like "Naa age nee babu anta untundi", "Gaddam ki kooda colors vacchayi kada vesukovacchu kada" have suited well to his characterization.

The movie begins on dull note by focusing on Venkatesh and Ritika's issues. Moreover, the episode involving Ritika in a slum colony is shot in a Tamil style. One gets confused as to whether the scenes are lifted straight from the Tamil version?

Once the story turns serious, it never slips away. It keeps us engaged till the end and the climax is equally beautiful (though it has shades of "Dangal").

The film is quite serious. There is no room for entertainment. But you don't want for it. There lies the success.

Apart from good performances and gripping second half, "Guru" also has good technical values. The cinematography and the locations have added richness. Thankfully, run time is also little less than two hours.

Only jarring point is the music. Even though songs like "Jingidi Jingidi" and "Ukku Naram" are good to ears, they are not that effective on screen.

The excessive focus on sexual harassment and all actors constantly talking about "sleeping for benefits" are quite off-putting.

All in all, watch "Guru" for Venkatesh's terrific performance and also for the newcomer Ritika. The movie is a good sports drama that we hardly get to see on Telugu screen. It may not go well with mass audiences but it may work for A Center audiences.

Bottom-line: Power Punch

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