By Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
For every 'Ramayana', there is a 'Mahabharata'. For every Ram, there is Krishna. And now for every Munnabhai, there is a Gurubhai!
One may ask, what's the reference here? Well, it is as simple as this – while the character of Munnabhai is ready to bring his other cheek forward in an event of a person slapping hard, Gurukant Desai believes in not even letting the other person come closer, let alone throwing a slap!
The logic is straightforward – it's the survival of the strongest. And it can be achieved by both means.
While Munnabhai (played to perfection by Sanjay Dutt) was a reflection of a generation that wants to take a peaceful route in order to make the world a happy place to live in, Abhishek Bachchan in 'Guru' has his own small world to worry about.
A world that comprises of him, his family, his near and dear ones and his shareholders (which he considers as his own 'parivaar' - a family), not necessarily in the same order.
The emotions are all the same. It's just the way they are reflected on a character's persona. So while Munnabhai can cry over a round of drinks if his father [Sunil Dutt] has met with an insult [in the hands of Boman Irani], Guru doesn't think twice before opting for a career abroad after he has let down his teacher father by failing in exams. One needs an emotional support [Circuit a.k.a. Arshad Warsi] to get into the act, the other builds his own self as a support!
This doesn't take away from the fact that both the characters are soon en route to be termed as cult by all means. They may have different principles, philosophies and way of functioning but the common factor is that both speak the language which is understood by 'aam junta'. Munnabhai may chose 'Gandhigiri' over 'dadagiri'. On the other hand, 'Guru' too doesn't complain much if he has to choose between using force or saying 'salaam'.
Kya karen, he says, you are damned either ways!
This is what brings us to a pertinent question about who reflects the real India....the real WE? Is it Munna that every one desires to become or is it 'Guru' that one secretly admires?
Is this a debatable topic? Certainly yes! But then isn't world anyways made of complex situations, complex people but certain simple solutions!
In his younger days when 'Guru' goes about using media for his battle against the cloth contractor's colonial ways, we sympathize with him, we clap along and we even cheer him when he announces that his name 'is' and not 'was' Gurukant Desai. Why? Because a win for an underdog always gains brownie points!
But then why do we feel elated when he uses (the keyword is 'uses' here!) the same media in later years to spread negative stories about rivals? Just because he wanted to settle personal scores? Or was it because in him, we actually saw a messiah who knew how to take care of his 'parivaar' made of few thousand people?
So what if it was unethical or sheer illegal - probably it was just a father figure that we saw in him that made us feel protected! What would Munnabhai have done in such a scenario? Well, we can always have a debate!
Coming back to what makes Guru a man that walks away with all the accolades even after it is crystal clear that he has been guilty of corruption and illegal ways of running business. Well, the reason comes out quite prominently in a single line comment that the Enquiry Commission Head [Roshan Seth, delightful as always] makes - "After all, we can't hang him!". This clearly states that Guru has after all not committed a murder and if one looks carefully, it was all done for his 'parivaar'.
A 'parivaar' that made him happy and made him sad. A 'parivaar' that could make him smile along when they cheered with the company's growth and a 'parivaar' that could make him go down in a paralysis attack when they booed him for all the corruption charges he faced! And to think of it, probably this was the moment when he required all their support! Never to let down his 'parivaar' and actually also using them for his own survival, Guru executes a master stroke in the end while facing the Enquiry Commission.
So what does he do? Well, he simply walks out of the enquiry session with a 'namaste' and readies himself for a kill when his supporters (public and media alike) are there in full force during the final hearing. He knows his strength, sheer leadership, and he knows how to take people along when it comes to getting things done his way! In this sense, while Munna may have tried to use Gandhian approach of 'satyagraha' to drive home a point, Guru instead believes in taking things on a fast track while challenging the basic establishment.
In the end, the question popped up by both is simple - Why to continue believing in a law just because it is existing for long? Because if it has been made, it can also be changed. The difference? Munna may wait patiently for it to change as per the natural course of action, Guru being a 'bania' [as he proudly calls himself in the film] realizes the value of time and pushes things to pave the way. Now that could be through a push or a 'salaam', as is his belief!
What is most remarkable about Guru coming across as a man who truly reflects the kind of person we actually see as a leader is the fact that his wife [Aishwarya Rai] is always with him. She is an equal partner in all his acts. So whether it is letting go of her very own brother [Arya Babbar] or accompanying Guru to his cashier's [Darshan Zariwala] house in the dead of the night to spread negative information in media or requesting Guru's mentor Nanaji [Mithun Chakraborty - brilliant after a long time]) to avoid any further confrontation or last but not the least, facing the Enquiry commission as a co-accused.
She may agree that her 'angrezi is kamzor' but she is not one dumb village belle or a pseudo-urban woman who fakes detesting her husband's way of doing business! Instead she supports him throughout and works along with him for the growth of her 'parivaar'.
Talking about Munnabhai and Gurubhai and the ones close to them! If one looks carefully, they both have trusted allies. If Munna has a Circuit, Guru has a Motabhai (played to perfection by Manoj Joshi). They care for them, even reprimand them, but never ever leave them. So if Munna can feel sentimental about Circuit's nice little gestures of bringing 'Hakka noodles' at the dead of the night for him, in the heart of his hearts, in a lighter vein Guru knows that Motabhai was the one who introduced him to belly dancers [Mallika Sherawat]!
Still, Munna and Guru reserve the right to slap and push Circuit and Motabhai respectively when they make a mistake (Circuit accidentally uses force in Munnai's sweetheart old age home while Motabhai hires goons to threaten Nanaji). And they don't shy in shedding a tear or two later.....because they love and care!
So what does one aspire to become? Is it Munnabhai or Gurubhai? A difficult choice! Because though on the surface, they come across as two distinct personalities with different ways of working, from inside they have a common agenda - happiness, self respect and an identity for one and all!
Hence while 2006 had cheers of 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' all over, 2007 is certainly going to echo with 'Gurubhai Gurubhai Aaye Chhey'!
Yes, they both are here...and they are within us. Though in different form, shape and proportion!