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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Hungarian
  Extras
  • 7 Deleted scenes
  • Teaser trailer - The Guru, Ned Kelly
  • Theatrical trailer - The Guru, Johnny English
  • 2 Audio commentary - Jimy Mistry; Daisy von Scherler Mayer and Tracey Jackson
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Music video - Sugababes - "Round Round"

The Guru

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

In the spirit of Bend it Like Beckham and Goodness Gracious Me, with some Grease and Moulin Rouge mixed in, comes this wacky far out musical/comedy/romance/drama that sorta just fails to hit the nail on the head. Umm, I think that’s all the genres... But don't forget to shove in a bit of the sauce from Wild Things and Cruel Intentions, just to top it all off.

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You're the one that I want!

In some ways this film is a homage to Grease, with its Indian cross between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John’s classic duet, You’re the One That I Want - ooh, ooh, ooh. Not much can prepare you for this, nor the ending, but we won’t go there now and spoil it for you all. But how to take this film? Looking at it in one light (the stupid comedy one), it succeeds admirably with an oddball cheesy taste and a plot that is full of swiss holes – but it’s a crass comedy so who cares about plot holes? Then look at it in a dramatic light and it fails dismally. Then look at it in a musical light and it makes you want to run screaming – two musical numbers doesn’t classify it as a musical, something that it was intimated to be when advertised in Australia for a theatrical release. So what is it then? Still a bloody good question, one that you can decide for yourself. Grab this one if you’re after a definite no-brainer.

It’s just so corny and crazy, and you need to stop and think about things. Are you actually laughing with the movie, or are you laughing at the movie? There’s a fine line between these two. Like 40 Days and 40 Nights, this film is filled with sexual innuendo which really feels out of place with the overall tone of the film. Some of the language regarding pussy (cats, of course) and other suck... I mean such acts just shed a dirty and sleazy light upon proceedings, while managing to scrounge up some cheap laughs at the same time. A few fantastic musical numbers, a couple of good clean laughs and a beautifully ditzy Heather Graham as well as Marisa Tomei don’t make up for that full-on sexual so-called humour.

"Your genitals are the door to your soul. Let them sing!"

Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry) is a successful dance instructor in India who has always dreamed of going to America and becoming a star. He grew up in a traditional Indian family, watching traditional Bollywood films, but his heart belonged to Hollywood, and films the likes of Grease. His cousin is already in the States, with a penthouse apartment and a super-duper car. But on arrival in America, the car turns out to be a yellow cab, and the penthouse is on a first floor above a movie cinema. Some life, but as his cousin said, he never would have come if he knew the truth. Anyway, with stars in his eyes, Ramu is on the search for an acting job - but the only gig he can get is in a porn film, co-starring alongside Sharonna (Heather Graham). But Ramu doesn’t realise it’s a porn film and has some slight monkey problems. His little monkey is just a little to shy to come out and play. Do you get it yet? (Editor's note: "Duh", Marty! :) So, Sharonna becomes his guru, so to speak, and gives him advice on how to improve his monkey status. But at a party where his mates are waiting, the Swami Bu drinks a little too much and falls unconscious. Now who is going to pull off replacing him, none other than an actor perhaps? So Ramu is there at this exclusive rich-bitch snob party trying to be a guru. But all he can recite are the words from Sharonna’s mouth. His success from this party (and a musical number) leads him back to Sharonna, who keeps teaching him porn tricks while he is a sex guru behind her back using her wisdom to his benefit. This is achieved with the help of the slightly nuts Lexi (Marisa Tomei), who is a tad shaky and unstable after her Indian-party-which-should-have-been-a-Nepalese-one thrown by her black-haired mother played by a stunning (as always) Christine Baranski. Crikey, she has more comments regarding black and white relations, similar to that in Cruel Intentions, than DVD reviewers do on a lack of extras - how’s that for harsh typecasting? But anyway, Ramu falls for the luscious Sharonna who is engaged to a religious firefighting hunk-a-spunk Rusty (Dask Mihok, The Thin Red Line, Romeo and Juliet) who believes that she is a primary school substitute teacher and not a porn star.

That’s the basis for this simple bizarre-o story of music, sex, dancing and above all things... love. Yeah, right!

  Video
Contract

This stunning transfer from Universal, identical to the previous rental copy just with the addition of a layer change, is presented in the enhanced aspect of 1.85:1, and looks simply gorgeous. Being a film of this... ahem... genre, colours are of the utmost importance, and by George they look good here. All of the colours are stunningly rich, with bright results and absolutely no bleeding. It’s like a load of washing after an attack with NapiSan... The only issue with the colours is that they are severely saturated, and look a tad overdone at times. Shadow detail is superb, as are the black levels, giving a realistic interpretation of real life. So to speak, given the subject matter.

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All hail the '60s haircut...

The biggest bummer of the transfer would be film artefacts. They occur relatively frequently, but are just minute specks – nothing big whatsoever. And that is the problem, because they are so small. Bigger dots are more excusable for a dirty transfer, but these little ones are just on the very edge of damn annoying. Coming in for a close second would be aliasing. At times the minute jaggedness of a line is excusable, but a wall that fills the entire frame – I mean come on! That too is on verge of being damned annoying, but luckily there is only one really foul case of this. Other compression-related artefacts are non-existent, and posterisation is not a problem at all. One way of looking at rental windows is as a tester for the retail copy – so get the disc out there, see the faults and remaster them. But alas no, the same transfer, just with extras. Cue the nationwide *sigh*...

  Audio
Contract

The two audio tracks on offer are stunning to listen to, and this disc was reviewed by skipping between the two. Normally that's fine by pushing the 'audio' button to change languages, but no, not on this disc – we are sorry to inform you that this function has been disabled. You need to exit to the menu, re-select your language, and then have the bloody movie restart. Quite annoying in the least, to put it kindly, and after about 50 minutes of switching every ten minutes, this pissed-off reviewer gave up and stuck with the Dolby Digital track. Quite simply, the reason for this is that it is easier to listen to. The DTS track is great, with a very enclosing and tight soundstage, but it sounds way too crisp. The Dolby Digital has a more true-to-life sound, even though the DTS has a tighter soundstage, and this part of the transfer carries on the fine tradition of the rental version.

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Uh... who's who?

But whatever track you listen to, you are treated with a fairly good soundtrack, featuring very quiet and subdued surrounds and a wicked gut-churning subwoofer track. The majority of the soundtrack sits in the front end of the soundstage, and extends further back to carry the score. The subwoofer is used extensively during the musical numbers, and for various effects throughout. Sure this track isn’t anything amazing, but it does its job successfully.

  Extras
Contract

Is there an echo echo echo in here? For this darn disc looks exactly the same as the rental rental rental copy. Oh wait, there are some extra features here this time around – yahoo!

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Arrrgghh, my eyes, turn down the colour!

Firstly, remember folks to "Make Guru love, not war", as suggested by the sample disc packaging. Now it may just be a special reviewer treat, but this package came with the most important tool of today. Yes, that was an obvious pun there, for we have a fluorescent orange condom. So if you purchase The Guru on DVD, and happen to come across one of these suckers, remember to play it safe. OK, off the soap box now...

The two audio commentaries provide some slight technical insight into the making of the film, but overall offer more comic relief than anything else. The first is with the director (Daisy von Scherler Mayer) and writer (Tracey Jackson), and the second is with Jimi Mistry. Quiet spaces come too often in Mistry’s commentary, and this one merged together with that of the girls would have been much better... and less time consuming!

A sexy music video by UK girl-group the Sugababes makes a 4:03 appearance on the DVD, with the S&M style clip of Round Round. This clip is presented in an un-enhanced aspect of 1.85:1, and features the girls (duh) as well as clips from the film.

The deleted scenes run for nearly nine minutes and feature seven scenes in total. Sadly, these run continuously in one title with no chapter points breaking them up. The seven scenes are a combination of extended sequences and deleted scenes, and have a few funny moments, but would drag the film out a little.

The photo gallery is automated, running for 1:17 with a heap of stills from the film. These galleries are cool, as there is no excessive pushing of the next button, so therefore no RSI in the thumb!

A few trailers accompany this batch of features, two of which were on the rental version. The 55-second Ned Kelly theatrical teaser plays along with the 1:17 Johnny English theatrical trailer, as seen previously, as well as a trailer and teaser for The Guru. These last two appear a tad jumpy to watch, and run for 2:10 and 1:09 respectively. These trailers are all of such a high standard, especially the skilfully crafted Ned Kelly teaser which just has you drooling for more, and neatly finishes off this slick extras package.

  Overall  
Contract

Overall, the package is very slick and quite nice, with a quirky sexual romp unfolding on screen. It’s just so outlandishly stupid that you simply have to laugh, but sadly you end up laughing at it rather than with it. Still, for a night of brainless entertainment, especially after a drink or two, this is sure to tickle someone's funny bone. The extra features are plentiful in quantity, but the two feature commentaries lack a little in quantity. Never mind, there's still a nice little complete package here, letting you bring this mixed genre film home for some sexy guru guidance.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2710
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      And I quote...
    "Bend it Like Beckham meets Moulin Rouge... this time with extra features!"
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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