The Guru (2002)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

United Kingdom/France/USA, 2002.  Universal Pictures, StudioCanal, Working Title Films.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

In this delightful comedy, a young Indian man () leaves his home and family back in India and makes his way to New York City to become a big star. His friends tell him to give up and accept what little opportunities are offered to foreigners in America, but Mistry insists on plugging forth and making something of himself. Accidentally getting hired for a porn film that he thought was a legitimate acting gig, Mistry befriends a philosophical and wise actress (Heather Graham) and learns a few things about the meaning of life and love from her. Soon afterwards, when he needs to fill in for a friend as a ‘swami’ at a rich girl’s birthday party, he takes the erotic lessons that Graham has taught him and uses them on his enraptured audience. It’s not long before the birthday girl (Marisa Tomei) gets him more clients and promotes him towards stardom as the ‘guru of sex’ for the new millennium. Lots of poignant observations about American culture, particularly towards foreigners, plus a very endearing relationship at its centre: Mistry is thoroughly lovable in the lead, and Graham manages to give a charming performance. Tomei is also exceptional as the young woman looking to him for the enlightenment that she doesn’t realize she is perfectly able to find on her own, and there are some toe-tapping song and dance numbers that recall the best of Bollywood tradition (and blow the inferior Bollywood/Hollywood out of the water).

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