THE GURU was a hit in Europe long before it made its way to the States and that’s a darn shame. Its infectious good humor and playful smarts is something no moviegoer should have to do without a minute longer than necessary. Playful is also the way I’d describe two of its stars, Jimi Mistry and Heather Graham, when I interviewed them on January 15, 2003. After months of first making the film and then doing press for it all over the world, they’ve developed witty rapport that doesn’t miss a beat no matter what sort of question is thrown at them, whether its about the hazards of nudity on the set, or deconstructing the film’s underlying message about sex and honesty.
THE GURU is a fluffy confection that mixes the exuberance of Bollywood with measured lunacy of 30s screwball comedies and adds just a dash of The Joy of Sex to leaven the mixture with a millennial sensibility.
Our hero is Ramu, played by Mistry, an Indian dance teacher who was marked as a child by seeing John Travolta in GREASE. Not for him the hyperbolic excesses of Bollywood production numbers. For him, its American stardom as a dancer or nothing. As he says to pretty much anyone who will listen, his feet have to follow the beat of his heart, and that heart lies in New York where he can follow his dreams with the help of a pal who has made good. Alas, things are a little rougher than he expects. The film co-stars Marisa Tomei (interview here for THE WRESTLER), Michael McKean, Dash Mihok and Anita Gillette. It was directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer from a script by Tracey Jackson.