The Guru (2002 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Daisy von Scherler Mayer|
|Written by||Tracey Jackson|
|Music by||David Carbonara|
|Cinematography||John de Borman|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The Guru is a 2002 British-French-American sex comedy film written by Tracey Jackson and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer. The film centers on a dance teacher who comes to America from India to pursue a normal career but incidentally stumbles into a brief but high-profile career as a sex guru, a career based on a philosophy he learns from a pornographic actress.
Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry), a dance teacher, leaves his native city Delhi, India, to seek his fortune in the United States. He is lured by the exaggerations of his cousin, Vijay, who has already moved to New York City. Vijay's deception is the first of several that drive the plot.
Seeking work as an actor, the naïve Ramu unknowingly lands a role in a pornographic film. That evening he accompanies Vijay and his roommates on a catering job at a society birthday party. When the Indian swami hired to address the party falls into drunken oblivion, Ramu takes his place. Lacking a real philosophy, he improvises by repeating advice he had been given by Sharonna (Heather Graham), an adult film actress he met earlier. Lexi (Marisa Tomei), the birthday girl, is so impressed that she promotes him as a New Age sex guru to her friends.
Ramu hires Sharonna, ostensibly for advice on how to be an actor in adult films, though what he really wants is more ideas he could use in his new role as the guru of sex. A personal relationship develops between the two, though Sharonna is engaged to a firefighter who thinks she's a school teacher. Complications ensue from these and other deceptions.
- Jimi Mistry – Ramu Gupta
- Heather Graham – Sharonna
- Marisa Tomei – Lexi
- Michael McKean – Dwain, a director of adult films
- Christine Baranski – Chantal, Lexi's mother
- Dash Mihok – Rusty, Sharonna's fiancé
- Bobby Cannavale - Randy, Rusty's gay lover
- Emil Marwa – Vijay Rao, Ramu's cousin
- Ronald Guttman – Edwin, Lexi's father
- Malachy McCourt – Father Flannigan
- Sanjeev Bhaskar – Chef
- Rizwan Manji – Party Waiter
- Ajay Naidu – Sanjay
- Anita Gillette – Mrs. McGee, Rusty's mother
- Pat McNamara – Mr. McGee, Rusty's father
- Dwight Ewell – Peaches, Sharonna's friend
- Alex Khan – Young Ramu
Locations in New York City included Times Square, Manhattan's Chinatown, Central Park, Hunts Point, Queens, Brooklyn, the George Washington Bridge, and the World Trade Center. Ramu’s Broadway debut was filmed at Reverend Ike's United Palace Theater, while the setting for the finale was Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
The film features several Bollywood-style song-and-dance numbers, including one where Ramu and Sharonna sing a version of Kya Mil Gaya from Sasural that morphs into a version of "You're the One That I Want" from Grease. The song "Every Kinda People" by Jo O'Meara of S Club 7 fame is used in the film's end credits, and also included is "Don't Say Goodbye" from Paulina Rubio's Border Girl album. Round Round by Sugababes also features.
On the movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, The Guru has a 58% rating, with 50 of 86 reviewers giving the film a "fresh" rating. Based on 30 reviews, the film's Metacritic score was 47 ("mixed").
After viewing it at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Derek Elley, reviewing it for Variety, called it a "generally entertaining but rather old-fashioned sex comedy" whose "basic plot of a naive Indian stumbling through white U.S. society...shows little advance in attitudes and humor on Blake Edwards' 1968 comedy The Party." A BBC review said it "stirs together Bollywood and Hollywood, satire and romance, to create an appealing masala dish of a movie."
After its U.S. premiere, Stephen Holden of The New York Times called it a "nervy conceptual hybrid" that "lurch[es] between a loudmouthed sitcom and a crude social satire" and noted that "behind its Hollywood-meets-Bollywood banner, The Guru... is a grindingly conventional comedy that insists on tying up its subplots in pretty ribbons and bows."
- The Guru from The Numbers
- The Guru at Box Office Mojo
- Production Notes for The Guru from contactmusic.com
- The Guru at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Guru at Metacritic
- Review, an August 18, 2002 article from Variety
- Review, an August 21, 2002 BBCi article
- Review, a January 31, 2003 article from The New York Times