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By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Though the film has some uncanny resemblances to the life of the industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, Mani Ratnam insists the plot in his latest film Guru is rooted to a cinematic reality. "Hopefully it'll have some connect with real life," he says amidst hectic sessions of background music with A.R Rahman.
Why did Mani cast Abhishek in a role that required a huge historical and chronological journey? Mani can't seem to get enough of his Yuva lead. "Abhishek was the first choice for Guru and I am very happy about his work. I think he is growing remarkably as an actor. If you shift me back to the start and ask me who you will cast as Guru I will go back to Abhishek."
This is also the second time that Mani has worked with Aishwarya Rai. "I was quite happy with what Ash did in Irruvar. I thought she was quite remarkable, given that it was her first film and in a language (Tamil) that she did not know. In Guru she was speaking Hindi, so it must have been much easier on her. She has done the role with a lot of dignity and poise. She remained very close to the character and has done it with ease. In a film that is based on Guru she stands tall and strong."
Mani has finished the film in record time. Why the rush? Is it because he needed to get into your Aamir-Kareena starrer Lajjo right away? "No rush at all! I'm just doing work that I am paid to do. It was planned as a single-schedule film and we finished our major work by June-end. Aamir-Kareena film has now been rescheduled to the second half of 2007."
Looking back, does Mani Ratnam see Yuva as an experience that didn't connect as much with the audience as you hoped it would? He refuses to find excuses for the film's failure? "There is always room to try something new. Be it in content or form or look. And when you do try something new there is always a chance that that it may not connect fully with the audience. That is a risk that a filmmaker has to take. If you take the credit when it works you have to take the blame when a film does not. But that should not stop you from growing and take a few more steps ahead. That's where Guru has taken me."