17 Feb 2009

Feature film review

Review of GURU Feature Film
By – Aditya Bastola

This is a review of GURU feature film director by Mani Ratnam. The review highlights in three perspectives; the changing role of nation state, the gender relationships – pre and post marriage with the focus on the main characters of the film, and significantly the role of media in capitalist era. The primary focus of the review is to highlight key issues related to the said perspectives on the footing of Gender, Development and Globalisation.

The feature film takes off on the aspirant character of Guru (Abhishek Bhachan), who is ready to perform any role to fulfil his dreams. He is characterised as an intelligent lad, with full hopes of achieving success and optimistic in nature.

Given the perspectives which this report signifies is the changing role of the nation state, in the post independence era, the government of India adopted a welfare approach for its growth and progress. Over the period, priority was emphasised on industrialisation. Industrialisation was considered to be the key step towards growth and progress of the nation. It was then, the entrepreneurs were motivated and supported through various means to strengthen their efforts. The politicians and the bureaucrats joined hands with the aspirant proprietors to make India, a self-sufficient nation, so considering the vision of Gandhi. Reflecting on the GURU, it features the process, how Shakti Company (a company in the film) adopted to politically manoeuvre their leaders and the officials. For e.g., analysed from the movie, when imports took place, majority of the machines used in the polyester making were exempted from import duty, on the basis of being imported for repair work. Similarly Shakti Company had permission to operate 6 units for polyester making, but instead there were 12 units in total operating. All such functioning strategies of the company went unnoticed until highlighted by the media. Official on duty, were ignorant about cross examination. This highlights power manipulates power, and vis-à-vis the power which has been in existence was distributed amongst those future powerful idealised by the nation state. The film, clearly demarcates that, it was then the process which had had been initiated to make the rich - richer and the poor - poorer. The Capitalist nature of the state had already percolated and seeped deep into the veins of the policy makers and visionaries of India on the rhetoric of India being a welfare state.

Like-wise, the changing role of the nation state, the feature film also indicates with the growing concern to achieve one’s dreams and hopes followed on the foothold of developed nations, the gender pattern changes. In the film, the aspirant character married the women, in need of wealth and prosperity. He as a matter of humbleness accepts the brother-in-law so that he could assist him in all endeavours, legitimately making him the 50% partner in business, which did not sustain due to incapability of undertaking the risk factors in entrepreneurships. The woman featured performs a role of a wife, a mother and a significant character to support the aggressive capitalistic nature. This means, the wife was expected to perform the domestic roles and the care taker of the children, with being equal partner in the Shakti Company, where no decision-making capacity was entrust on her.

This clearly indicates, with growing nature of the society from socialism to capitalism, the burden on the women has been increasing. For e.g, when the women becomes an equal partner but has no voice in the decision making, the risk factor of the business increases her vulnerability towards abuse, her innocence becomes her own burying ground.

Thirdly, reflecting on the perspective of the role of media in the capitalistic era, featured in the film, it highlights the capability and the manipulation which can take place at a given time frame. Media in the capitalistic era supports the powerful so that re-distribution of power takes place. Footages from the feature film indicates, that media is the only key informant which could empower people through dissemination of information and take decision governing their life. Such as, when the discloser about Shakti Company’s lack of business ethics went on print; the public wanted their shared to be returned. If such information was not disseminated, all such activities would go unnoticed. Similarly, when the media wanted Shakti Company resume its activities, they could take all efforts to support the capitalist.

Thus, concluding, the growing concern for development points a hinge on every citizen that conceptual understanding need to be in place to recognize the gender roles and the changing pattern or phase which capitalism takes on every toehold of the poor, marginalised and the women.

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