Here is a film clip from the movie.
I have a unique perspective on what is a Foreign Film. To me a foreign film would be anything that is produced in Hollywood or North America or England or any English speaking country. To you, my colleagues and Professor my Films would be Foreign. I grew up on Bollywood with my Idols coming from India and Pakistan. So let my premise be that I would have to write on a Hollywood Movie done in the style of Bollywood and I hope that appeases the perception of a Foreign Film. When did I see this film? only recently as a friend rented it in Pakistan as a Comedy and I was a bit surprised by its plot.
However my choice is The Guru, as the plot pokes fun of the best parts of the Bollywood / Hollywood phenomena.
Ramu Gupta a dance teacher, leaves his native Bombay to follow his dreams. Ramu dreamt of becoming a singer and actor in America, where dreams come true. His American-base cousin, Vijay Rao, came for a visit, and bragged about driving a Mercedes and living in a penthouse. Ramu goes to America and discovers that Vijay works as a waiter in an Indian Restaurant, drives a taxi-cab for a living, has never owned a car, and lives in a small apartment with his two room-mates. So Vijay was living the “American Dream” . For what he told Ramu was pure fiction, a fantasy of a life. Ramu gets a job as a waiter in the same restaurant as Vijay, but is fired. Seeking work as an actor, the naïve Ramu lands a role in a questionable film. That evening he was working with Vijay on a job at a society birthday party. When the Indian Guru hired to “teach” at the party falls into a drunken stupor, Ramu takes his place. Lacking a real philosophy, he improvises by repeating advice he had been given by Sharonna, a film actress he met earlier. Lexi ,the birthday girl, is so impressed that she promotes him as a New Age Guru to her friends.Ramu hires Sharonna, for advice on how to be an actor , though what he really wants is more ideas that he could use in his new role as the Guru.
The plot is funny and deals with an American stereotype of the Eastern Cultures’ mystique’s and the need for Enlightenment through a Guru. Someone who tells them what to do, what to think and even how to have sex. The film is charming with Bollywood dancing and Ramu’s transformation into THE GURU. But as the film is based on deception many improbable moments ensue.
Lexi looking for Enlightenment is completely taken by Ramu’s “light of Truth” She declares him to be a true GURU – A free thinker as Enlightenment is FREEDOM.
The theme that I saw in the film that relates to The portable Enlightenment reader is this. In the Search For Enlightenment, in this Film, Americans grasp at anything including a fictional Guru who is creating his own Philosophy that works for the moment.
Enlightenment is described “as a man’s release from his self incurred tutelage.” Well Ramu seems to have an understanding of this as he is no longer following any rules that he knew. Tutelage is described “as a man’s ability to make use of his understanding without direction from another.” Again Ramu’s inventiveness seems to indicate that circumstances, luck and twists of fate rendered him as Enlightened. “An issue with tutelage lies not in the lack of reason but in a lack of resolution and the courage to use it without direction from another.” So again Ramu for the moment escapes what is essential to Tutelage he was courageous and took control of his own direction. Lexi needs to have a Guru is at the root of the Movie. Her perceptual “Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so many people remain under lifelong tutelage.”
You have a book to tell you what to do, a Dr. who tells you what to take, a Priest who tells you what not to think. Or how to think. Tutelage means you need not think but you just pay others to do the work for you. Ramu became very Rich due to tutelage. And Lexi was only to happy to pay Ramu for his “knowledge”
Of course this is just fiction, but The Portable Enlightenment Reader has sufficient dialogue that previous ages of those that were and are considered Enlightened may have acted or written their brands of Philosophy in a so called fictional treatise. However and I do quote Descartes.
“I think, therefore I am“. Ramu thought of himself as a Guru and therefore he became one.
And why is such a theme unique to modernity? Modernity is noted as “a post-traditional post-medieval historical period”, the age that the philosophers lived in, those centuries of cultural and intellectual movements occurred between 1436 and 1895. The term became linguistic usage in the seventeenth-century, derived in the early 1690s, from debating: “Is Modern culture superior to Classical culture?” — A literary and artistic quarrel among the Académie française .From these usages, modernity denoted the renunciation of the recent past, favoring a new beginning, and a re-interpretation of historical origin. So out with the old and in with the New. Ramu chose to throw out his life in Bombay, and capitalized on what is New, America, and people’s perception of him as Guru.
Written by Cristoph De Caermichael
Disclaimer – The plot thickens as I was hired to write many a student’s essay and provide these international students from India, Pakistan, Iran, Korea, China etc. with a look into the world of how to write. It was a simply a tool. The references to gender, race and culture, stem from the clients POV and not my own. A writer has to write and all these are exercises for that pursuit.