Guru - ഗുരു (1997 Malayalam feature film)

Guru is a 1997 Malayalam-language Spiritual fantasy film directed by Mr. Rajiv Anchal.

The leading film Star Mohanlal’s biggest Malayalam multi-starer of it’s time is credited for many firsts’ of it’s kind.

Guru was the first Malayalam film selected and submitted as Indian’s official entry to the Oscars for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 70th Academy Awards.

This was the first time in Indian cinema, the background score of a film was recorded completely outside the country. The leading Indian maestro Ilayaraja had composed and conducted the background scores and songs. He created an evergreen symphonic fusion of Indian classical and European Folk along with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Hungary.

While Guru was edited by award winning film-editor B.Lenin, the film’s foreign collaborations and promotion was coordinated by Herbbie Sidhu. With a production cost of ₹30 million, the film is credited as the biggest budget Malayalam language production of its times.

Guru went on to bag three awards each at:

Screen South Awards:

  • Best Actor (Malayalam) – Mohanlal
  • Best Cinematography (South) – S. Kumar
  • Best Director (Malayalam) – Rajiv Anchal

Kerala State Film Awards

  • Best Art Director – T. Muthuraj
  • Best Makeup Artist – Pattanam Rasheed
  • Best Costume Designer – S. B. Satheeshan

Raghuraman (Mohanlal) is the son of a local Hindu temple’s priest in an idyllic village where Hindus and Muslims live in complete harmony. When an ambitious politician’s goons, disguised as Muslims, cause trouble at the local temple, tensions breaks out between both the communities leading to widespread religious riots. Once his family is killed in these riots, Raghuraman joins a Hindu extremist gang to take revenge by attacking a group of Muslims who have taken refuge in an Ashram (where a Spiritual and Holy Guru lived and worked). After infiltrating the Ashram, he meets Vaidehi ( Sithara) who suggests him to meditate for a few moments. During meditation, he experiences an altered state of consciousness and perceives being transported into another world.

In this new world of his vision, everyone is blind in that valley. They believe the sense of sight to be a lie and that is blasphemous to even talk about eyes. Children are taught from a very young age that sight does not exist. Raghurāman befriends Ramanagan, the valley singer in love with Princess Syamantaga ( Kaveri). Once he saves Ramanagan from death, he becomes first disciple of Raghuraman and considers him as his Guru.

Raghuraman tries to convince an ignorant group of blind people in the valley that he can see and there is a world of sight, but they refuse to believe him and warn him that such talk will get him killed by their King Vijayanta (Suresh Gopi) and the elders.

Raghuraman observes that when a baby is born in the valley, the juice of a special fruit is given to the infant by the midwives immediately. Ramanagan informs Raghuraman that Ilama fruit is from the sacred tree which was given to them by a goddess when the infants of the valley started to die upon being born. Intrigued by this, Raghuraman climbs the tree and eats the tasty and highly addictive fruit which is called Ilama pazlham (Ilama fruit) by the valley people and the seeds of which are extremely poisonous. After eating Ilama fruit, Raghuraman turns blind and helpless. He is captured by the king’s soldiers and is ordered to be executed by forcing him to eat the seeds of Ilama pazlham, a very rare and cruel punishment.

After forced-feeding the crushed seeds of Ilama fruit, soldiers abandon Raghuraman to die. However, he wakes up hours later and is awestruck to realize his eye sight being restored. He uses his newfound knowledge to spread the truth about their blindness and the cure. He convinces Ramanagan, his family, Princess Syamantaga, her parents and their group of friends to trust him and eat the seeds and they too will gain their eyesight. The news spreads like wildfire and more and more people join the convoy and eventually gain back the lost eye sight.

When the King and his advisers learn of this, they arrest Raghuraman in order to kill him. The people who got back their eye sight respond by starting a rebellion. They storm the palace with weapons where Raghuraman begs them not to use violence and that it achieves nothing.

At this point Raghuraman comes back to the real world. Raghuraman wakes up and realises the meaning of his vision and drops his weapons. The extremist group begins their assault on the refugees in the Ashram but Raghuraman rushes to save them, irrespective of their religion.
Violence is not a solution for anything is the underlying message!