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Debutant Vinayak Vaithianathan’s relationship comedy isn’t exactly original but remains entertaining nevertheless, writes Srivathsan Nadadhur


A 35-year-old Aravind, who loses his sister early in life to a tragic accident, leads a loveless yet financially secure life, running a cafe in Malaysia. When his uncle and parents pester him to marry, he returns to India and falls for a girl Leela at an unusual situation. Aravind and Leela eventually tie the knot, but is that alone enough to seal a happy future together?


Is originality a necessity to make an enjoyable commercial film? History across industries has always proven otherwise. Love Guru is a weirdly compelling mishmash of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Bodyguard with a surprise sister sentiment angle thrown in. Within a predictable family drama setup, the director structures a smart, mainstream screenplay that consistently delivers the goods.

Love Guru’s middle-aged male protagonist is an endorsement of an all sacrificing, ideal husband, belonging to the same breed as Ajay Devgn’s Vanraj in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Even when Aravind realises that Leela has married him against her wishes, he employs every trick in the book to salvage the relationship. While exploring Leela’s angst, this is a story of a husband trying to win over his wife.

Where the film scores over its reference points is its effort to understand the wife’s plight. Through Leela’s father, you notice a typical patriarch who unleashes violence on his wife for not raising the daughter right. Leela is an acting aspirant who guards her dream from her family, only to find her world shattered when she’s forcibly married to a literal ‘stranger’.

The film consistently pokes fun at the idealistic husband, whose love for his wife isn’t reciprocated. Liked you’d expect in a conventional masala fare, there are ‘bros’ doling out relationship advice – a sarcastic uncle back home and a love guru, whom he meets at a bar. As Aravind tries to understand his wife better, a delicious ‘filmi’ twist adds juice to the screenplay.

Without giving away any spoilers, cinema serves as a medium through which Leela and Aravind eventually come to terms with one another. While the humour is generally funny, not all one-liners are in great taste. Even as you know where the film’s headed, Love Guru is largely compelling because the story is told from a place of honesty and doesn’t try to pander to the galleries.

Love Guru is more focused in its first hour, as it establishes the pivotal characters, their conflicts through a healthy mix of humour and drama. Post intermission, the film tries to do too many things and a few commercial elements forcibly make their way into their narrative. The subplot around Aravind’s sister is intriguing, but it doesn’t quite complement the story as desired by the maker. The thread around the creepy film producer could’ve been handled better too.

In this commercial mix, it’s still appreciable how the director strives to make it a visually enriching experience to a large extent. Every crucial juncture in the film is backed by an identifiable visual motif while the montages in the songs, the delectable aerial shots of the village are an apt reflection of cinematographer Faruk’s artistry, exploring Aravind’s inner/outer world.

Despite its minor niggles, Love Guru is a story that deserves to be told. While the film attempts to showcase a husband’s unconditional love, it drives home the point that marriage needn’t necessarily be a roadblock to a woman’s dreams. Instead of blaming his wife for her questionable behaviour, the man tries to view the world through her lens.

Vijay Antony is an ideal choice for the film – the character has a linear graph without any major transitions or overly dramatic monologues, suiting the actor’s restrained image. Mirnalini Ravi, who didn’t have ample scope to prove her acting chops in her earlier outings, makes a meal out of a well-defined, neat role and showcases her mettle with drama through a wide range of expressions.

It’s irritating that storytellers continue to cast VTV Ganesh as the ‘relationship expert’ uncle time and again, though a few one-liners save the day this time.  Yogi Babu sleepwalks through a familiar role with ease and does what’s expected of him. Sudha’s comforting screen presence helps the film and other veterans like Ilavarasu and Thalaivasal Vijay don’t disappoint. The child artists shine in their brief appearances and Leela’s on-screen friends get reasonably meaty roles too.

Barath Dhanasekar, the composer, is perhaps one of the film’s most significant finds. Though the story is as old as the hills, his music, both the songs and the background score, brings the right vibrancy to the proceedings. The Telugu dialogues by Vijay Antony’s frequent collaborator Bhashya Sri fit the bill though the same cannot be said about the lyrics.


Love Guru is definitely among Vijay Antony’s better outings after Bichagadu. Originality may not be its strength but it’s a largely entertaining relationship comedy made with the right intentions. Mirnalini Ravi bags a career-defining role while the music, cinematography enrich the big-screen experience. Director Vinayak Vaithianathan makes an assured debut in the mainstream space.

Rating: 3/5

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