Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect 
THE UTTAR PRADESH government in India has recently made Mani Ratnam’s film Guru tax-free. By exempting this film from entertainment tax and making the price of tickets cheaper, the government has made it possible for more people to see the film than would otherwise have. In fact in recent times, most films starring Amitabh Bachchan or his son have been made tax-free. Although the exemption in most cases are made on political considerations of one kind or the other, in the context of Guru, the ethical implications of the move set against the main message of Guru Bhai are worth some thought.
Typically movies are exempted from entertainment tax when they bring to the table apart from healthy entertainment, some ethical values that the government would like to see diffused. Some of the movies that have worthily enjoyed this exemption in various states in the last few years are Swades, Black, Lagaan and Rang De Basanti. Few would venture to argue about these films and their artistic merit.
Guru is supposedly loosely based on the life of a prominent industrialist of recent times. Abhisekh Bachchan as Guru Bhai, the protagonist begins his career in Turkey working for Shell. From there on, he steadily ascends the corporate ladder, eventually coming back home where he wants to be his own boss. He marries his friend’s sister Sujatha (Aishwarya Rai) so that he can use the dowry as his capital. Soon he moves to Mumbai, the ever-happening place where he reaches the pinnacle of materialism while steadily slipping in his ethics and morals. His friend of previous generation and well-wisher, Manikdas Gupta (Mithun Charkavarty), finds Guru’s means of acquiring power and money abominable.
The moral of the movie, one might say is that it is okay to manipulate everything for one’s own success and material gain. By endorsing a movie that gives out this message, is the Uttar Pradesh government trying to say that this is the way to go? That in these days of 8 or 9 or 10 per cent economic growth, success is also that matters and the means are damned? It would seem so and the irony of a movie that presents capitalism at its crassest being rewarded by a government, purporting itself to be socialist in its ideals and inspiration, cannot be missed.
In a telling observation on corporate governance, Ratan Tata remarks to Rajdeep Sardesai in the course of an interview, “There is always a view among some segments of the industrial community that they are above the law and that they can manage the environment.” Ratan Tata agrees in the interview that it is still possible in India to “cut corners and get away; if you need, you can peddle influence with politicians, or influence someone, bribe someone.”
Well, anyone who lives in India knows that life is all about managing the environment through whatever means and Guru Bhai will show you how if you go and watch the movie in UP where the tickets have just got cheaper. But it is unfortunate that the ethic of unscrupulousness is the direction that the state government seems to be endorsing by its gesture of exempting the movie from entertainment tax.
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