Film: Guru Sishyaru
Cast: Sharan, Nishvika Naidu, Suresh Heblikar, Dattanna, Apurva Kasaravalli, Hruday, Ekanth, Harshit
Director: Jadesh Kumar Hampi
Duration: 2 Hours 43 minutes
An unwilling hero’s heroics
Sports films aren’t very common in Sandalwood. Over the decades, we have seen only a handful of them. Sports being central to the plot have never been a popular subject. Guru Sishyaru is however a welcome change. It is an oasis in this drought of such stories.
Guru Sishyaru is undoubtedly one of the best sports films to come out of Sandalwood and an perfect entertainer for the entire family. It is a film that is made for the big screen where you get to become part of the action. There is tremendous effort that has gone into making this a a big-screen experience and it shows.
Manohara (Sharan) is a lazy dandy who is ageing but does not find any work interesting. He is forced to take up a drill instructor’s job in a village school and reluctantly agrees for the sake of his old master. The village he goes to turns out to be in the midst of all kinds of problems. The school especially, where he is to become an instructor is falling apart, literally. Not surprisingly, our hero has to mentor it.
In the meantime, there is a kho-kho team in the village which comes under his mentorship. But our hero has a easier plan to make it look successful. Things come crashing down and it is not just Manohara’s reputation at stake now. It is the entire village. How the underdog master, trains the underdog team of Kho-kho players to emerge successful forms the rest of the story.
It is a clear-cut narrative which does not deviate from its motive. There is of-course a love angle that Manohara has to deal with and the usual capers that village life brings about. But when what he had not bargained for hits him, it is for the tough man in him to do the talking. Manohara has to fight for his self-pride and to save the village.
We know from the beginning that he is destined for this task. How he does it and how Jadesh Kumar showcases this heroic act of the underdog is the more serious, but also more entertaining second half of the film. Almost the entire second half of the film is dedicated to the kho-kho match. To the director’s credit he makes it worthwhile. The fun, thrills, excitement of the game and it being central to the plot brings out the cheering from the audience.
The script does not stick just to Sharan. There are stories of all the other characters entwined in the narrative. Each young player in the team has a story of his own and so do many of the other characters. That is what makes the film believable. It does not go over the top but uses interesting incidents to prop up the main plot.
Technically, the film is bang on and provides the right impetus to the narrative. The performances of the actors are also on the spot. Star kids making their debut in this film have performed well and should make these Sandalwood stars proud.
And Jadesh Kumar should be proud for having made a sensible, entertaining and worthy film.
-S Shyam Prasad