The Village Voice Film Review: The Guru
Bolly-go-lightly hybrid The Guru manages to have its dosa and eat it, too—allowing that culture is a con game, while seeking pleasure in the deception. Dance teacher/Grease fan Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry) leaves Delhi for New York, where he becomes an East 6th Street waiter, a porn flick tyro, and an accidental society sage. Befriending Ramrod Studios headliner and anxiously affianced schoolteacher Sharrona (Heather Graham), Ramu translates her spiritual take on carnality into profitable karmasutric mumbo jumbo for his gullible patrons. As a dirtier Deepak, Mistry is blankly sweet, suitable for his role as Subcontinental Rorschach. Authenticity is gleefully moot here: An agent calls Ramu “Indian, or—excuse me, Native American,” while Marisa Tomei’s New Age burnout delivers a line of cell-phone patter as precise and vacuous as a DeLillo outtake: “I want the suede not the leather. I want every color.” The Guru shows similar appetite.
Film review by Ed Park originally appeared on villagevoice.com on Jan 28, 2003.