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The Guru 

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Fans of Indian cinema may be appalled by this American version of a Bollywood musical, and to be fair, its production numbers are awful, lacking the color, composition, and editing rhythm that makes their Eastern counterparts so magical. But as a romantic comedy this is a cut above the norm, satirical in its treatment of both spiritually bereft New Yorkers and materialistic Indian immigrants. Jimi Mistry stars as a Delhi dance instructor with a head full of old John Travolta movies who journeys to Manhattan in search of wealth and stardom but soon discovers that the only career paths open to him are waiting tables or driving a cab. That changes when he meets two lovely women, a porn actress (Heather Graham) who agrees to school him in the mystic dimensions of sex and a bored socialite (Marisa Tomei) who decides he's the Deepak Chopra of the bedroom. The supporting cast is excellent, including Christine Baranski as the socialite's brittle mother and Michael McKean as a fly-by-night porn director, watching in openmouthed disbelief as the hero auditions for a role by re-creating Tom Cruise's underwear dance from Risky Business. Daisy von Scherler Mayer directed a clever script by Tracey Jackson, from an original idea by producer Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth, The Four Feathers). 91 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Esquire.


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