by Roy Posner


Guru Movie Poster

Introduction to Film

Guru is an Indian film directed by Mani Ratnam. The film was released on January 12, 2007, and premièred in Toronto, Canada.

The movie is about a young man, from a small village in Gujarat, who dreams of making it big. The protagonist, Gurukant Desai, initially moves to Turkey, where he is successful in the oil business, but wants to return to India and be an entrepreneur there. He meets his wife and secures a dowry to fund his business and fulfill his dreams. He soon finds out that the business community is a ruled by several influential and rich individuals, and realizes that any attempt to penetrate their ranks won’t be easy. He starts his own company Shakti Trading and climbs the ladder of success very rapidly. He experiences vast, unprecedented success through the positive side of his character, but is also nearly ruined through several darker elements of his personality. He is able to rally the nation to his side when his entire livelihood is challenged in a criminal investigation, and prevails. He then creates the biggest company in Indian history. In fact, his goal at the end is to create the biggest company in the world.

Guru has generally received good reviews. The New York Times called the film an "epic paean to can-do spirit." The New York Post gave it three out of four stars, and the Los Angeles Weekly called it the best Hindi film since Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India. Time Magazine compared the film to Frank Capra's ‘It's a Wonderful Life’ and said that one of the main highlights of the film was its climax. He further noted, "For movies to celebrate an entrepreneur is rare...

Mani Ratnam, who directed the film, also penned the story and screenplay , while Vijay Krishna Acharya wrote the Hindi dialogues.

Guru has been described by Ratnam and others involved in the production as a film that is reflective of a man's ambition and desire for success, and how times have changed from the period immediately after the country's independence to the present. Some reports have speculated that the film is a biopic on the life of India's biggest petrochemicals tycoon, Dhirubhai Ambani. Like Guru, Ambani also had roots in Gujarat as the son of a schoolteacher, went abroad to work for the gas company Shell, and returned to India to import polyester. There are also differences between the two stories. Ratnam has described Guru as inspired by stories both past and present. Guru is from one angle an amazing story of a man who succeeded in creating an empire because of his great psychological resources, and despite his personal character flaws that almost destroyed him.

Synopsis of Film

In a small village of Idhar in Gujarat, a young man Gurukant Desai dreams of making it big someday. His father the headmaster of the village school, tells him that dreams never come true. But Gurukant Desai never stopped dreaming.

Guru moves to Turkey to become a success. He works for the oil company and moves up fast. However, he wishes to return to India and be his own boss. On the way, he meets Sujata on a train, where she is very troubled because her love did not accompany her on her elopement. When Guru returns to the village, he meets with Jignesh his friend, who tells him of the possibility of securing a dowry through his father and sister. His sister would turn out to be Sujata, who Guru met on the train. Guru gains the acceptance of Sujata’s father and Guru married her. He then moves with Sujata and Jignesh to Mumbai.

In Mumbai, Guru tries to get involved in the fabric trading business. It is at the trading center that he realizes that the business world is a closed community ruled by a handful of rich and influential people who don't believe in giving opportunities to new players. Despite barriers, he manages to become a member through a startling series of events. As a result, he starts his own company called Shakti Trading, and climbs the ladder of success at a furious pace. He utilizes his guile, insight, strength, independence, even goodness to surge ahead. Interestingly, at each point his brother-in-law Jignesh (Sujata’s brother) opposes his action.

Manik Dasgupta, who publishes a newspaper Swatantra, treats Guru as his son. However, he gradually sees Guru’s corrupt ways. E.g., Guru smuggles in parts for polyester mills and illegally creates goods to make a higher profit. But when Manik learns of Guru's illicit ways, he along with a reporter it in newspaper expose Guru. Still Guru’s empire begins to grow until he is the biggest businessperson in India. Eventually his questionable tactics are brought under legal scrutiny and he is brought to trial, where somehow he is able to prevail, despite having just had a stroke. He is able to do it by marshalling the good will of the Indian people, despite his too-often often-corrupt ways. It is Guru’s belief in sharing the wealth and having the people share in that growth through stock that endear them to him, overriding the hostility of the court.

Character Summaries

Below is a vignette of each character in the film:

  • Guru - Gurukant Kant Desai, simply called as Guru, came from a small village called Idhar located in Gujarat. Coming from a humble background that included his school headmaster father, he was always taught to be content with what one has got rather than aspiring for something that would be achievable by unscrupulous means, whether it is materialistic or non-materialistic. But Guru had different plans. He wanted it all. So whether it was dreams, house or a village to live in, Guru always aspired for something bigger. He had fantastic physical drive, used clever tactics, and tapped into his inner resources of psychological strength, daring, and self-motivation to rise to the top. His energies however spilled over into weakness in character as his success also bred corruption and bribery. Whenever his ego was challenged, he sought retribution. Still he was basically a good man, showing kindness and care for many people around him. It was just mixed in with failings that he simply did not want to address that were exacerbated as his company grew wildly After all, he reasoned, I am so successful, so why change my ways.
  • Sujata - Sujata is a somewhat independent minded girl who is also looking for someone to love and marry. She thought she could elope with someone and get out of her village, but he decided not to at the last moment. She puts up with a lot of Guru’s business mischief in the name of having a stable relationship. She also admires and loves him despite all of his faults. She also senses many of his great characteristics that made him a success. In the end, she was his pillar of strength, providing him utmost support and courage to face the difficulties that arise, as well as his stupendous successes.
  • Jignesh - The brother of Sujata who informs Guru of the availability of his sister’s dowry. He becomes Guru’s 50% partner for a while, but then abandons the company. He has a plain, simple spontaneous temperament, though subject to quick anger and some jealousy. He is the son of Kaku, who agrees to Guru’s marriage to his daughter Sujata. He fails as Guru’s partner because he is a poor businessman, and is out of tune with the aspirations of an emerging India. He also gets in the way of Guru and Sujata’s privacy when they all live together. He hounds Guru for being unethical in his business practices, and at one point reveals to his sister Sujata her husband Guru’s scheme in using her dowry for funding his business ambitions.
  • Manik – Manik is a muckraker newspaper owner with high principles and values that he has passed on to the organization. At first he is influenced by Guru to write a disparaging article about the contractor who deceived Guru and practiced harmful union practices. Gradually however, Manik sees that Guru who he thought had spirit was practicing unethical business tactics. When he is away he has other in the firm write a disparaging article about the senior contractor, but then reverse what they have written, arguing they have broken the values of the newspaper. He would carry on a war of words with Guru throughout the remainder of the story, constantly revealing Shakti Corps unethical and unlawful business practices.
  • Shyam – A young, energetic, and intelligent reporter for Manik’s newspaper. He takes over the investigation into Shakti Company’s elicit business dealings, including bribery, false attempts to gain export license, illegal expansion, etc. He like Manik is at war with Guru’s treachery. According to Shyam, Guru had flirted with the law and the lawmakers, doing anything and everything to enhance his business. He has the fire and strength to stand up to Guru because he sees the abuses so clearly.
  • Meenu – Meenu, the granddaughter of newspaper owner Manik is a young woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and is wheelchair-bound. From her childhood, she had been extremely attached to Guru. Although Manik and Shyam were always being critical of Guru, questioning his ways, for Meenu, she felt he was a man to be respected, and admired him because he was the only one who never asked about her handicap, loving her unconditionally. Even though her grandfather was against Guru and his questionable tactics, Meenu mentioned that she wanted to invest in Shakti stock. She as an Indian was also caught up in the desire to become more prosperous, despite her grandfather’s prominence. Shyam courted her till the day she died.

General Analysis

  • The film is filled with the keys to great accomplishment in life including the protagonist's confidence, can do spirit, individuality, energy, vision, will, determination, hard work, psychological strength, positive attitude, cleverness, resourcefulness, goodness, right manners, and many others.
  • It also shows the same overlapping and other ingredients that go into making a person a change-maker and pioneer in society.
  • It also points out several weaknesses of character, including self-absorption and ego, ignorance, arrogance, deviousness, dishonesty, bribery, and others.
  • It also shows how the social power is accepting if it is arising out of misery. In a modern western economy, many of the things that are tolerated here would never be so.
  • The film seemed to be much stronger in showing the application of and reasons for Guru’s positive successes in the first part, then revealing the causes of his weaknesses in the 2nd.

Scene by Scene Analysis


  • The film begins Guru inside an empty stadium where he speaks of his dreams; dreams his father did not believe can come true. (At the end, the same scene will repeat, yet we will see that he was actually speaking to a stadium filled with the masses of people in his global company.)
  • We return to the early life of Guru, at a small Gujarat village (in India).
  • Before his family, Guru a teenager says he has failed at math in school; and that he will therefore go abroad to work. His father angrily says that he cannot bear his son failing in school (and going abroad as a result), for after all he is himself a teacher. He says Guru will fail in his aims overseas. Guru still loves his mother.
  • Guru goes to Istanbul. He writes his stepmother that she can come there too. Guru is happy that he is free from his father, including his cane and his school.
  • Guru gets a job selling petrol cans.
  • He goes up to a street peddler who is offering bets on 3 ball. He shows great cleverness by seeing which glass the ball is hidden under from amongst the three. He is not afraid to risk all his money; and thereafter wins a big pot. (He is a risk taker) Even his associate wins, showing that luck moves with him.
  • He visits the spice commodity traders.
  • Guru is unhappy with the limits of his work. He seeks more. He aspires to be in the commodity trading itself at the hall. He is ambitions.


  • Guru has now worked for the oil company for 7 years, and is offered a sales supervisor position. He is handed a contract. He says that he does not want the promotion because he doesn’t want to work for the white man and wants to return to his village in India, and work for himself, rather than the white man. (It shows his entrepreneurial, independent spirit.) He is also condemned for not wearing a tie, but Guru does not like to conform. He is his own man.
  • He is told that he will never succeed by turning down the contract. Guru tells him that it is his destiny to succeed. (It is a deep belief in his own capacity to determine his life.)
  • His follow workers have a deep respect and affection for him. (People really like him.)
  • He leaves Turkey for India.


  • Sujata, Guru’s future wife lives in a beautiful village in India. She is seen very happy and dances and sings throughout the countryside (in the Bollywood tradition). She writes her father that she is leaving the village to be free like others in the country, and will elope with a man. (Her leaving her family is parallel to Guru doing the same 7 years earlier.) However, when she sneaks away and arrives at the train station, her lover does not show up. A letter arrives from her boy friend that he cannot abandon his current life; that he does not have the courage to run away. She is devastated. Yet she continues on her journey, showing her independent spirit, and pushing away the pain. This will be significant as events unfold.
  • It is very brave of Sujata to go on this way. Life will reward her by her meeting Guru on the train. (It is life response due to one’s seeking one’s own way. It is the power of intention. It also parallels Guru who is seeking his own independence. The confluence of their energies cause them to align and meet.)


  • Sujata thus has hopped on the train just before her family can stop her. When she tries to sit down, she sits on Guru by mistake, and they are both startled. So begins their life long relationship. She then sits down next to Guru, and shows her great sadness due to the fact that her lover did not join her in her escape from her village. She reads the note that informed her that her lover would not come. She drops the note and Guru picks it up. He tells her to throw it away (meaning forget the past. Just as he is doing.) Also of note: At one point, she tells Guru on the train that “he can’t see beyond the village,” meaning she is looking for her freedom in the possibilities offered by the wider world.
  • Guru gets off at his station, leaving S behind. A man her inquires of Guru of Sujata’s whereabouts, and Guru tells him she is on the train. It is interesting that Guru tells a member of the village where Sujata is on the train. You could say that he subliminally wants her to be found so that he can later marry her. (subliminal == Soul knowledge state)


  • Guru arrives back at his village and reunites with his family. The people are so happy he has returned. They have great affection for him. (Just as the people at the oil company in Turkey did.)
  • Guru’s father advices him to be generous and give an old friend some money who is in need of it. (Guru has learned to be generous from his father.)
  • Guru’s father tries to impress him how big and successful his school has gotten. (Though Guru will reject being involved in the school as a career, he will acquire that same desire for success as his father in an utterly different field of work. Perhaps it is Guru’s genetic inheritance to be this way.)
  • Guru’s father who earlier said he (Guru) would fail acknowledges his successes in the Middle East. Guru gives his father a watch, but then the father returns it when he learns that Guru wants to go into business for himself. (His father had failed in business when he was younger. Parents project their problems onto their children, who often are dealing with whole new sets of issues. This is particularly so if the parent has failed in an area the child is taking up.”) The father also demands that Guru’s friend return the money guru has just given him at the father’s request. The father walks away in anger.


  • Guru then bangs the village bell causing all of the students to leave the school. (It is a sign that Guru wants further liberation of the students beyond school. There are positive and negative aspects of this symbolic gesture of course.) Guru and his friend Jignesh (who will later become his brother in law and adversary) then climb a hill above the village. He tells Guru that Babu (Kakka) (who is his father and who will also turn out to be Sujata’s father) will never provide the money to start the business Guru wants. Guru then learns from him that there is a dowry available, which Guru then sees as a way to raise the funds. He had 15,000 and needed another 15,000, which the dowry would bring (Guru’s friend Jignesh, who is Sujata’s brother, and who will be Guru’s difficult and disagreeable partner is interestingly vehicle that bring Guru and Sujata together, which also provides the funds for Guru’s business.)
  • Guru says that he will marry this girl, sight unseen. Guru’s friend Jignesh thinks that Guru’s plan is a mistake. (The conflict here at the outset is an indicator of what is to come, a principle of life.) Guru offers to use half the dowry and make him a full partner. This shows at once Guru’s cleverness and his generosity – a willingness to let money flow to achieve his aims. It also shows that partnerships, particularly between brothers readily turn into disasters.


  • Guru is unfazed at having to meet with Sujata’s father in trying to make this establish this somewhat mercenary relationship. As usual he is supremely confident. He bicycles to the house and sees that miraculously Sujata, who he met earlier on the train is there. Sujata is there and is stunned also. (It seems like a vast coincidence, though in life when intentions are aligned between parties they meet under startling circumstance. Their alignment is that she longs for love; he for money. Subconsciously he may also yearn for a solid base of a woman behind. Her father as a money lender also is part of the alignment.)
  • Guru meets Jignesh and Sujata’s Kaku, who is a moneylender. Guru tells Kaku that he is the man who put his own father out of business. Kaku says that Gurus once hit him with a cane when Guru was 8. Guru is calm and cool, indicating his self-confidence, as well as friendly. He does not let Kaku’s remarks and the past negative history ruffle him, as he is focused on achieving the goal of securing the dowry. Guru tells Kaku that he wants to do business involving a partnership with Kaku’s son Jignesh. Kaku answers that he is out of the lending business. Guru then says that he want to marry Kaku’s daughter, who now appears in the background overhearing the conversation. (For the longest time she does not know that he got married in one sense to secure the dowry. Jignesh will reveal it to Guru in a much later scene.)
  • When Guru mentions to Kaku that he will be a big success in five years, Sujata almost screams out in protest (i.e. of being used), but holds back in part because of her mother, possibly preventing the whole thing from unraveling. The mother thus provides a great service in the larger scheme of things.
  • Kaku says that his daughter is crazy. Guru turns around and sees Sujata and finally realizes that she is in fact that daughter. Kaku brings up Sujata’s failed earlier relationship (with the man she almost eloped with).Guru is sympathetic and tells Kaku that he was on the train when Sujata ran away in a state of sorrow. Guru now indicates that he will not do the same; that he knows right from wrong. This resonates powerfully with Sujata. (As a result of holding her tongue earlier, she elicits the powerful positive remark and response from Guru, which cements their relationship. Silence attracts the infinite!) Guru shows great diplomatic and people skills in this and other episodes.
  • G asks for Kaku’s blessings to marry Sujata, and he give it. Guru is confident, calculating, and good all at once.
  • Their marriage takes place.


  • Guru is set to go to Bombay by himself, and Sujata and others watch him off. However, not wanting to feel abandoned, and because she wants to be with Guru, she rushes onto the train with him without a ticket. Now joining him, she will be part of his rise to fortune and fame. It is a bold act for an Indian village girl to suddenly make this type of impulsive, though heart-felt decision; though we saw it before in her earlier (failed) elopement.
  • Guru comes to the bazaar to see where all of the buying and selling takes place. He finds the commodity market and players. Guru wants to participate, but he is told by one man he has to be a member, and there is a 5-year wait. He is told by that same man that he will never get in, but Guru insist he will. (power of determination; self-confidence.)
  • Guru goes to a golf course where a young wealthy man is playing. Guru asks him for a letter so he can join the commodities exchange. For four months, the man promised the letter, but never sent it, but now he goes to demand what he claims he is due directly from the man at the golf course. (It is daring, fearless quality of Guru. This is also a forerunner of how he will have to act towards the man later on to win the exchange workers to his side. This will serve him well throughout his rise.) In a charming little episode, the man sizes Guru up, and asks him to put the ball at the green into the cup (i.e. make the shot so he will get the letter.) Guru knows nothing however of golf, but does in fact pick up the ball and carry it over to the whole and “puts” it into the cup; a very clever deed since that is what he was asked to do. (It is utter audacity on Guru’s part.) The man agrees to give Guru the letter of recommendation he desired.
  • Guru buys Sujata an indoor swing as a present. They swing together. They love one another. He envisions a big house, a palace they will live. He also sees a great factory. 'He thus shares with her all her dreams, that she will in fact participate in. (It is envisioning the future as in ‘The Secret’ that tends to attract and come to pass. It may also be an intuitive sense of the future; of his destiny.) By expressing his aspirations he also gains her strength, which will be helpful down the road, as in the legal hearing against him after his stroke. We see here that love, shared dreams, and strength come together, which creates a formidable energy in tandem with Guru’s great intensity and ambition.
  • Guru’s brother-in-law, Sujata’s brother Jignesh arrives immediately after the above swing scene to tell them that the contractor that Guru met at the golf course has in fact rejected their application. (We see at precisely at time of Guru and Sujata’s happy moment and their perspective happy and prosperous future, Jignesh brings bad news. It is indicative that I the future he will constantly be at odds with Guru’s aspiration until he removes himself from the partnership. It also indicates that he is out of tune with the success that will come to them. He is partly on the trailing edge; partly jealous; and perhaps subconsciously trying to destroy something good. Still he is aware of certain wanting qualities of Guru.
  • Immediately, Guru springs into action to thwart the contractor, since it could ruin them all and send them back to the village in poverty. (It shows that is daring and does not wait; that he deals with problems head on. It is a great psychological strength.)


  • Guru heads to the shoreline in Mumbai to meet the contractor and stares at the window where he apparently lives. He is somewhat angry that nothing is happening. Suddenly an older man walks by walking a dog. Guru and he (Manik) speak, and Guru expresses his frustration with Mumbai, and Manik laughs. Manik indicates that he likes Guru’s spirit. Guru then explains to him the story about the contractor who has fooled him. Guru then asks Manik if he would create the letter for admittance. He initially balks. Guru then says that he cannot hear the word “no,” The man then invites him to his office apparently to create the letter. (Because Guru made the effort to confront the deceitful contractor, Manik crosses his path with the possibility of producing the letter he was after. It was life responding to Guru’s intention, his toughness and willingness to get at the heart of the matter by confronting the contractor head on.)
  • It turns out that Manik is a newspaper owner who is willing to fight for Guru’s cause of securing the letter. The older Manik has known the young contractor since he was a child. The contractor is considered the top trader and head leader of the union. Manik’s the newspaper then goes ahead and gives bad press to the contractor particularly as it relates to his poor relationship with the workers in the union. Manik man knows that the contractor has been brutal to his workers, thereby making it a double coincidence and life response that guru and Manik meet up! I.e. Manik knew the man that Guru was seeking a letter from, and also turned out to be an individual Manik was going after because of his questionable practices. Also, as we will see in the next scene, the contractor’s appearance on the scene will enable Guru to assert himself, and win the admiration of the union members. This all stems from Guru’s intention to resolve the letter issue when the contractor was being less than forthright. Taking a bold action like this against someone trying to deceive, will attract such powerful results. We see the same thing in House of Eliott when the sisters go after the people who are trying to deceive them. It is a sign of strength, which attracts sudden good fortune.
  • It turns out that the contractor was head of the trading association Guru was trying to get into. In the next scene, the contractor comes to the headquarters where Guru also is. The contractor, based on the negative press he received, says to the gathered workers that e did not know there were so many union complaints against him, and they should have spoken to him directly of there were problems, rather than go to the paper. Then he says that he will resign. (This makes it a triple positive response for Guru. i.e. as a result of looking for the contractor, not only does he attract Manik, and therefore the letter, but also causes the contractor to resign because he abused the union workers!)
  • The contractor then makes a veiled threat by insisting that if trouble arises, he will not be around if trouble arises. Guru does not back down to the threat and fearlessly tells him so. (It is an astonishing moment, where Guru goes from waiting to receive the letter to having to confront him and now standing down the head of the entire association who makes a threat in response to the bad press that Guru initiated through his meeting with the Manik who had a vendetta against the questionable ways of contractor. Manik is somewhat of a muckraker. It shows the fearlessness and strength of Guru; plus great luck that he attracts through his positive earlier movements, and his intense aspiration.)
  • Guru then tells the contractor. “Don’t worry, we are fearless.” The man drives away. (It is interesting he says “we” because now his power is the entire association and the newspaper and the public, not just his lone self. It is a remarkable development, and is key to his rise to vast power and influence.)
  • Guru as member of the association and influential individual opens a new office after apparently getting the letter through to the association, or the association simply admitting him for the great work he has now done on their behalf.)


  • Guru opens his new office. Manik and his granddaughter Meenu are also there. When Manik inquires into what business Guru and his brother in law are no in, Guru says “polyester,” but Jignesh, his brother-in-law says “cotton.” They are at odds. The father now notes that they are disagreeing on the very first day! (This conflict is not only a predecessor of difficulties between Guru and Jignesh, but the conflict between Guru and the newspaper run by Manik. Principle: What happens at the beginning is an indicator of what is to come, and perhaps the final outcome.)
  • On the way to the trading center for their very first day, Jignesh complains that he has wasted all of his money on polyester. At the center, the government has closed down the markets, accusing it of being involved in elicit trading of the rise and fall of commodity prices that it distains. Guru believes that it is actually the contractor who has bribed government officials to get back at the union who wanted to get rid of him. Guru says ironically if a rule (to shut down the association) can be made in a day (which it was), it (the closing down) can also be unmade in a day (which it will be). This is also prescient. This episode reveals Guru’s entire character. (I.e. he sees through the treachery of others for the common good, while he himself (in the longer term) goes too far by breaking rules for his advantage.) It is also interesting that the first day Guru and Jignesh go to trade, it is closed down by the government. The government will also shut down Shakti later on, but Guru will overcome it in a trial (just as he overcomes the problem here, as explained next).
  • Guru then goes directly to the government official Menon who issued the decree’s residence and put the polyester in his living room. (What a brazen act!) Guru says to him that the goods are now his since he shut down the trading center. Menon is stunned by the brazen act. Thereafter Guru goes back to his house when Menon drives up in the rain. He tells Guru that he (Menon) would get in trouble if the government discovered he had the polyester. Menon relents and allows the reopening of the trading office. Guru’s clever, brazen act --done in part because he could go out of business if the polyester wasn’t traded with the exchange shut down -- is something he learned at his village ends in success. Guru is thus now a hero to the entire trading association. He has once again through forcefulness and strength catapulted him higher up in the eyes of all around him. He is also on the side of morality and justice here. As we will see, he has so many good qualities, that are eventually tempered by his wanting ones.
  • Guru brings a gift of a polyester shawl to Meena and gives a nice wrap to Manik, her grandfather and the newspaper head who has helped Guru and helped can the young contractor. When Guru gives Manik the present and expresses his gratitude, he mentions Gandhi and Nehru. (Guru knows how to play on people’s sympathies and areas of interest, for Gandhi and Nehru are gods to the progressive Manik.) Manik half seriously says that Guru is trying to bribe him. (It is Manik’s subconscious awareness speaking.) Guru says that giving gifts is the way he expresses his gratitude. (Later on, he will go way overboard in this regard, when it turns into bribes for the newspaper people. Manik is actually prescient here. Manik reminds him to always be honest and forthcoming (in the truth of his feelings) as he is now. (Again, Manik subconsciously perceives that Guru may be lacking in both honesty and forthcomingness.) It is an all-around show of gratitude on the part of Guru, showing also that he loves to share in his success with others. (He even adopts that as a value in his company later on.)
  • Guru prospers through the trading center by trading in polyester. He throws parties for his staff. He tells them that he will open a silk factory. Once again, Jignesh is skeptical. (Jignesh is always on the trailing edge; opposite to his brother-in-law Guru who is on the leading edge – for himself and business in India. Cotton is traditional; polyester though cheaper and less natural allows for more interesting designs. This reminds one of the same modernity of the Eliott sisters in House of Elliot in their movement to making garments for the masses, not just couturiers.) Jignesh wants Guru to slow down. Guru retorts that he wants to run.
  • Guru says that he will raise money not from banks or the contractor but through individual investment. They will in essence own the stock, and therefore will be each part “owners” of the company. He says, “if the factory prospers, so will everyone.” (Guru is in touch with the ways of capitalism, as well as the needs of the common man. Again, here we see that he wants to share the wealth.)
  • Jignesh who is a partner is miffed since he wasn’t consulted about the matter (as well as other matters. Guru perceives that Jignesh doesn’t have any business sense, though G should have consulted with his partner since that was their relationship. It is an indicator that Guru may have the right instincts but he goes too far.)
  • Guru responds that Jignesh didn’t even want to get into polyester, and yet they thrived, and now he is taking another foolish position. Jignesh then rushes off in a huff. Sujata however runs after he brother to speak with him. Then Guru catches up with them and says he should be the one having the conversations with Jignesh, but still Jignesh rushes off angry. He indicates that he wants out of the partnership. Sujata tells her brother that he is throwing everything away. Then Jignesh can hold back no longer and reveals the nature of the marriage plan. That Guru used the dowry to fund Guru’s and Jignesh’s business. Sujata is shocked. A street car almost symbolically comes between them showing a division. Sujata walks away, and then leaves Guru and returns to her village.


  • Guru thinks back to his courtship of Sujata. He then returns to her village and Sujata reluctantly greets him. They obviously live one another. (It turns out they have been thinking of one. She then senses his presence just before he pulls up. This is a perception of the subtle ways life works by the authors.) He tells Sujata that with her support, together they can beat the world. (Sujata is willing to look beyond Guru’s way out of love {blind love?] and perhaps for reasons of security.)
  • This film is also a great love story. (It is heightened with its music by the renowned Indian composer A. R. Rahman.)
  • Guru devises a plan for a new plant. He and other consecrate the land. It rains (indicating grace; i.e. good fortune coming). The plant is then built, employing hundreds. Then additional plants are built. He is now being called the business king of India. He encourages the employees buy stock, so as he says they too can be business kings. (He sees his self-interest melding with their interest, and plays on it.)
  • Again, Guru is warned that he is growing too fast. He says that it is a race, and he wants to be there first.
  • Sujata is pregnant.
  • A wedding reception for his daughter is held at the home of the senior contractor. Guru and Sujata are invited and attend. He offers Guru a blank check, telling Guru that up to now, he has had successes, but now he can have endless, ultimate success by filling in any amount that Guru wants for the sale of Shakti to the senior contractor. He says that Guru might never have this chance again. It is interesting that Guru gets mad that the senior contractor has attempted to buy his company in the presence of Sujata, when in fact Guru also did something similar in securing her dowry. To that brazen effort, he showed no remorse. But here he gets furious. Anger reveals an inner flaw: his greed and ego. What he does in his way to others, he does not like done to him. It is also a threat to Guru’s sense of independence and freedom, though it was not really intended as such. When his independence and strength in building up a business is challenged, Guru reacts, indicating the kink in his armor; the flaw in his character.
  • Guru then rallies the press to disparage and smear the elder contractor. Guru’s ploy succeeds, but it is a vicious, unscrupulous tactic based on ego. He could have tried something else. It is clear that the largeness of the business tests Guru’s limitations of character, when someone of equal power move in and tests him.
  • The newspaper owner, Manik, who had been away says that his paper has sold out by giving in to the pressure (and bribes) of Guru. He insists that they have made false accusations against the senior contractor and he scolds them for turning against the newspaper’s ideals. Manik orders his staff to reverse their story and apologize in the next edition. (This is a negative response for Guru, since his actions were precipitated by anger and ego, and now it has come back on him. In fact, he now opened the door to years of rightful criticism from that newspaper of Guru’s questionable business practices due to his foolish, rash, and egocentric movement. With all the capacities of a brace, tough man, he had not the inner calm and strength to deal with competition, and someone willing to test him. His character is not developed enough for that. For all his great qualities, he is also a man of action and passion, who can lose his vital balance.)
  • Manik tells his staff to take off the garments that were given by Guru in return for their giving bad press to the senior contractor. The same with an auto and other bribes. He also orders that an apology be issued to the senior contractor in the next edition of his paper. He then has Guru solicited.


  • Guru walks into his office happy and cocky. Guru offers him a gift (!), but Manik is outraged by what Guru has done. (Guru is not aware of the changes Manik has just implemented.) Manik says that Guru just throws his money at anyone (including Manik’s people when he is away). Guru answers that everyone has a price, which shows Guru’s values in its darkest light. Shyam, Manik’s young reporter, says that Guru should be thrown in jail for his actions; for his corruption, bribes, and greed. Guru says that no one will stop him, but Shyam, says that he will. Guru says Shyam will have to become a great reporter like Guru to stop a great man like him. (When a man has had great success, he believes he can do no wrong. Since everything has gone his way through toughness, strength, fortitude, guile, etc., he keep going to that trough, even if it spills over to the dark side. It is the essence of Guru’s view now.)
  • It is the intermission of the film.


  • There is a tent meeting of thousands of shareholders of Shakti Corp (Guru’s company). Guru says that it is the first gathering of all stockholders in the history of India. He indicates that Shakti works with its own money – i.e. through the stock investments of the people gathered there. He then reiterates how they have all invested in the company and have profited. He tells them that all of India are wearing his clothes. (He constantly ties his own ambition and success to their prosperity through their stock investment. This is a key to his success.) He gains their support for opening four more factories, hoping to become the biggest company in India. The reporter Shyam is in the audience, as he now trails Guru. A woman next to him says that he is a magician the way he makes money out of nothing (via stock). She says that 10 men like Guru can end poverty in India. (There is a truth to this statement, despite the questionable values. His strength and determination can carry him to even greater heights, unless of course the dark side pulls him down, which it begins to do not too long after. We could even say that Indians support his effort, even if they are tarnished because they long to rise out of poverty. On the other hand, we could say that India has entered great poverty because of their questionable values, particularly dishonesty, duplicity, and greed, coming from a variety of sources over the years.)


  • Shyam shows that Guru has been shipping empty boxes of garments with powder in them to falsely acquire export licenses, and profits from it. This export fraud is reported by Shyam in his newspaper. (Manik and Shyam are trying to bring down Guru, or at least overcome his illicit actions.) Guru responds with a brazen act. Rather than cut off advertising for Shakti in their newspaper, he triples it!
  • It is interesting how Meena reacts in the empty box incident when Shyam prepares to run another negative story against Shakti. Like the woman in the crowd sitting next to Shyam she thinks Guru is a genius; that Guru’s business is growing so much that she wants to be a stockholder (Remember she is the granddaughter of newspaperman Manik!) She comments that Guru is even making money out of empty boxes. (Invested Indians here are hypnotized by the ability to seemingly create something (money) out of nothing in these various ways. It is as if they are seeing the genius of America at work, and are too busy admiring this wonder to notice the darker side.) Keep in mind also she respects Guru because he has always had tender feelings for her.
  • When Guru decided to reveal Shakti’s complete financial records in order to be more transparent and forthcoming (in light of the empty boxes story), life responds positively when he learns that Sujata has given birth to twins. Soon thereafter, his wife has twins. It is a positive response to a higher attitude that Guru has taken. If only he would have continued along these lines, he would have avoided more corruption, a stroke, and a government investigation.)
  • Sujata and Guru celebrate with the villagers. It would have been nice to see an English translation of the song lyrics in order to understand what was clearly on their minds.
  • Meena says to Shyam that the more he writes of Shakti’s misdeeds, the bigger the company becomes and the more powerful is Guru. (You could say that in a way the newspaper’s criticism is giving him more notoriety despite the bad press, which helps the company attract stockholders, investors, more business. etc.) Guru seems to grow and expand through conflict – with the contractor over the letter; with the closing of the exchange; with conflict with his brother; with conflict with his father; and with the ongoing battle with the newspaper, which will be taken up by the Indian government. We can express a principle here: more energy fuels the fire, despite its quality.


  • Guru’s company is issuing shares, which Shyam says is being done for the benefit of top management. Meena then reveals to Shyam that even she is buying shares, much to his chagrin, She says: “Who else will look out for my future?” Immediately the lights go out (later revealed because of Guru’s further treachery in response to the paper’s reports). (She invests shares and lights go out due to Shakti’s treachery can perhaps be seen as a predecessor of the shareholders losing all later on because the government shuts down Shakti. It is worth further investigating.)
  • Sujata goes to the paper to try to smooth things out between Guru and his company and Manik and his paper. Manik blesses Guru’s children even though he is at war with him. He tells the two children (half speaking to Sujata) that they should be brave and independent like their mother. (He is a friend of the family, and I believe a close friend of Guru’s father.) Manik calls Guru and tells him that he should not have sent Sujata to his office to beg.
  • A manager at Shakti -- who is actually the man that Guru worked with and was friend with in their work at the oil company in Turkey -- orders the smashing of Manik’s car window while he is driving. Guru scolds the manager for that outrageous, violent act. (Guru won’t take responsibility for his own treachery, and blames his worker who was just acting in his “best judgment” in defense of Guru’s actions. It has now reached this terrible point, where Manik could have been seriously hurt.) Guru then turns around and says that Manik had been like a father to him. Guru clearly feels shame at the action of his manager.
  • Shyam proposes to Manik’s granddaughter Meenu who has muscular scleroses. But, she tells him that she is very ill and should not marry. However, he insist, despite the fact that she may only live a year.


  • Guru flies to see the prime minister of India, and expects to be scolded for his business impropriety. The minister tells him of all the irregularities Guru has perpetrated through his business. Guru however in a shrewd turnabout asks him what he should do with the blank check he earlier received from the senior contractor, who is the uncle of the prime minister! Guru is using a clever, yet realistic tactic to put the prime minister in his place; in essence threatening him with a potential scandal. The prime minister backs down, and Guru is seen smiling as he takes off in his helicopter.
  • Meanwhile, Shyam interviews Guru’s manager, though the manager is unaware of who he is. Meanwhile the manager discusses freely the various irregularities of Shakti Corp – including the not paying import duties. Shyam then reveals his true identity to the manager of being the reporter for Mani’s newspaper.
  • Shakti Polyester is now shut down by the authorities. Guru faces the possibility of arrest. (The manager meanwhile tries to commit suicide – feeling responsible for what has been revealed.) Guru visits him in the hospital and is very moved by the manager’s extreme loyalty despite being completely fooled by Shyam. (Guru subconsciously feels responsible for Shakti’s questionable activities, which contributes to his outer affection for the manager.)
  • Guru goes to Shyam’s house and asks him why he/his paper is trying to destroy him. Shyam then turns that around and reveals other Shakti irregularities; that Guru has even tried to influence members of the government. (We saw it being done with the prime minister, though that is not necessarily what Shyam is talking about.) Guru of course does not back down threatening even more business expansion for Shakti. Guru also discovers that Shyam and Meenu have been married, and that he (Guru) was not invited to the wedding. (The absurdity of all this is can be overwhelming. Guru loves Meenu as a friend and she is married to Shyam who is trying to bring him down, and he asks about being invited to the wedding.) In a great line Guru tells Shyam “make sure you love her more than you hate me.” Guru knows she is weak and may not last very much longer.
  • Thousands of Guru’s workers gather to complain that they have lost all of their money; that they have been laid off (in light of the news spreading about the government investigation of Shakti Corp.) Guru tells them not to fight amongst themselves, but ban together. He uses the argument that the rich are ruining the middle class (meaning them). They call out for him to give them the money back they have lost. In the mayhem, Guru is forced to walk away and then ride off. He is devastated by this turn of events.


  • Guru and Sujata go to revisit their very first apartment. They think back on their lives together. Suddenly he has a stroke. He can’t move his right side. His adversary Manik says that perhaps he and his paper were the cause. He then goes to visit Guru in the hospital. (He was after all at one time close to the family despite the current feud.) Sujata says that she will rejuvenate him. Guru’s two daughters gently sing to him (the main theme of the film), and in bed partially paralyzed, he cries.
  • While in the hospital government officials bring him a summons to appear in court for a hearing, despite his illness. He whispers that they should be prepared. (Guru is confrontational even in this condition. Life has knocked him down in order to break that part of him that is low and in the physical consciousness. He lives because there is goodness in him and in potential, and through the hearing that he will win, he will be forced to embrace those higher values. The energy of the Indian people will back him because of past oppression of the wealthy and powerful. These high values will emerge through the case and because he wins it by deem of the fact that the Indian people hungry for their own prosperity are with him and against a government they view as non-responsive and perhaps themselves corrupt.)
  • The stroke is life’s way of forcing Guru to move out of his physical consciousness of bribery, influence peddling, arrogance, ego, etc. etc , and (in the hearing to follow) express his now newly perceived deep-seated values and ideals about his own self as well as the country.


  • The hearing of Guru’s alleged improprieties arrives. Sujata accompanies Guru in the accused area. The recovering Guru gives his answers by whispering to her, and she conveys it to the court. (Sujata earlier said she would rejuvenate him. By sitting next to him, she will serve a role the results of which WILL in fact energize him.) The court hearing begins.
  • Manik’s granddaughter Meenu is dying from MS. Despite the court case and his stroke, Guru visits her. She loves Guru, and gains strength from him, but it is not enough. Guru, Shyam, and Manik light the funeral pre, though thereafter they will remain as enemies. (We could say that Meenu represents the force of Love that transcends all. However, Love does not prevail because they are all working out the truth of things. Truth has to be established for love to be dominating. Until then it cannot transcend all.)
  • The court brings the various allegations against Guru and his company. He remains silent however, apparently without the strength and will to respond due to his state of health. The court master asks Guru to respond to the charges, but decides to wait until the next day when the press will be there at the court. Meenu dies, and her body is disposed in the traditional funeral pyre.
  • On the way to the court, a man tells Guru that he has prospered because of him, and wishes him well in the court case against him. At the hearing Guru says that he wants to speak (now that he knows the press is there.) He uses the class argument, that the rich have always excluded people like him in business. That the government is always being bribed by the rich. He says that these judges represent the government, and resent his rapid success. He goes on to say that he has made money for many others, not just himself. He argues that he represents the people of his country coming out of poverty. He says that his own courage is the common man’s courage, and they (the court) can’t take that away from him or the people.
  • Guru’s arguments are: (1) that he bribed and kick-backed just as the government officials do. (2) that he knows the value of money. He made it for himself and has thousands of shareholders. (3) that the country should not go begging to the World Bank for funds, infrastructure, etc. He aspires to move out of poverty himself. (4) that the country should take to entrepreneurship so they don’t have to be a third world country. (Comment: The US became the global economic leader because of entrepreneurship.) (5) that the government or anyone else cannot take away his courage, which is also the common man’s courage. (6) that it is time that India transcends the current limiting laws and backward governance.
  • Sensing that the people are seeing that the corruption is there more in the court than in Guru, only 2 of the 29 allegations are judged valid. Guru’s company is merely levied a fine. (Guru’s arguments are just too compelling for the court to act strongly. His arguments about how they (the government) supported the rich, and hence they the court as an adjunct compel them to be lenient. Otherwise, they would draw the wrath of the people and the press. Guru has come up with a winning strategy that has saved his skin. In a society that now values emerging out of poverty above all, they are willing to, no almost totally, perhaps blindly accede to his arguments. The press accepts it in full, and the people follow. )
  • Sensing In his speech, he seems to have risen to a higher idealism, likely enhanced by his stroke.
  • We see the first scene of the movie again where Guru is outdoors speaking of his dream to himself before an empty stadium. Now however when the scene turns around again see that now he is not talking out loud to himself, but to a huge gathering of thousands of employees who wildly embrace his dream and his desire to create not just the biggest company in India, but the entire world.


  • For another interesting movie analysis on the building of a business, please see House of Eliott
  • KEYWORDS: <title> Guru, Indian film, India, meaning, summary, review, overview, synopsis, analysis, capsule, characters, scenes, accomplishment, success, values, money, business, corruption, bribery, garment industry, the press, Bollywood, polyester, shareholders, stock, India</title>

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