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Movie: Guru
Cast: Venkatesh, Ritika Singh, Tanikella, Nasser, Raghu Babu, Zakir Hussain and others
Dialogues: Harsha Vardhan
Music: Santosh Narayan
Cinematography: K.A. Shaktivel
Editing: Satish Suriya
Stunts: “Stunner” Sam, "Real" Satish
Producer: S. Sashikanth
Story and Direction: Sudha Kongara
Banner: Y Not Studios
Release Date: March 31, 2017

Victory Venkatesh, who has been breaking barriers by opting some different roles off late, is back with a gripping sports drama called 'Guru'. This movie is the remake of Tamil 'Irudhi Suttru' and Hindi 'Saala Khadoos' starring Madhavan in the lead role. The film did well in both versions and was liked by the critics. Venkatesh too liked the script very much that he decided to remake it in Telugu. 'Guru' is a faithful remake of the original without any notable changes and directed by Sudha Kongara who directed the original. Venky's towering performance as the determined coach is a treat to watch.

Aditya (Venkatesh) is an aggressive boxing coach who always has problems with the sports federation and unable to tolerate small mistakes and unnecessary politics in boxing academy. With this attitude, He transfers to Visakhapatnam as the coach for Visakhapatnam boxing academy to scout young women boxers. Left with no choice, Aditya heads to Vizag and spots a local slum girl called Ramudu(Ritika Singh). After seeing her careless attitude and raw fighting spirit, Aditya lures her into boxing by paying her salary. Ramudu is a natural talent but equally arrogant and stubborn. It takes a lot of time for Aditya to convince Ritika and make her a boxing champion.The twist in the tale arises when the aimless Ramudu starts going against Aditya and his goal. The rest of the story is as to how Aditya molds the local girl and makes her the Indian women’s boxing champion.

Undoubtedly, 'Guru' belongs to Venkatesh. He has given his career best performance with this film. He gives away unnecessary heroism and lets Ritika Singh take center stage. Venkatesh’s emotions and the way he puts up a fight with his subtle yet intense emotions till the last scene shows what an actor like him can pull off if given a good subject.

The extremely impressive newbie Ritika Singh steals the show with a knockout performance. This is the third time that she is cast in the same character, but Ritika shows no signs of disinterest and is as good as in the original. Mumtaz Sorcar as Ritika's sister has once again come up with a commendable performance. Nasser is too good and Tanikella Bharani is effective.Zakir Hussain, Anitha Choudhary, and Raghubabu have performed their roles.

Although it was made with low budget, 'Guru' is technically a very strong film. Credit should go to director Sudha Kongara for sticking to the story and presenting the film in a realistic manner. Sshe has done a brilliant job with the film. Be it her narration or the way she has showcased Venkatesh in a completely new way, everything looks amazing.

Film's Cinematography is rich and the scenes inside boxing ring are filmed in a professional way. The artwork is decent. Music by Santosh Narayanan is just average, but the background score is top notch as it builds tension and elevates emotions in key scenes. The editing in the second half is taut as it does not waste much time and finishes the film in a crisp manner. Dialogues by Harsha Vardhan should get thumbs up. There are some colloquial phrases in the film that our heroes normally don't dare of using them.

On the whole, 'Guru' is not a perfect film, but it is one of the finest sports dramas that are made on Indian screen. Raw appeal and keeping it grounded is what separates it from other sports dramas. People who haven't seen the original, will like 'Guru' and those who have seen it will be satisfied with one of Venky's finest performance to date. Commercially, 'Guru' will surely be liked by the overseas audience for its class taking but we need to see how the masses embrace it.
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