Navigation | Who is Raju? – Loni Fink

Who is Raju? – Loni Fink

I have never watched a film and felt so conflicted and confused. Identity crisis: the one phrase I can use to describe Guide. Raju was a tour guide who could transform himself into the perfect guide for anyone of any Indian language…and English. He transforms from a man in love to a man focused on success and money. Once out of jail he hides his true identity and becomes a spiritual leader, a Swami. I left the film screening with one question on my mind: “What was that?” Maybe it’s the melodramatic flair of Bollywood films that has me up in arms, but I never felt that Raju had an identity. He is never one person for too long, and that’s terrifying to watch. An undefined character is can not be predictable, causes confusion in the audience as well as in the film amongst the other characters, and can change personalities with the flip of a switch. One might call Raju a character that keeps the audience on their toes, but I do not like him at all. The fact that he changes so drastically from a considerate, loving man to an unrecognizable business entrepreneur with a cold heart. I’m a true romantic and it was the ultimate tragedy for a man who cared so much to be so disjointed from the one he supposedly does everything for.
For the majority of the film, I watched Raju and his transformations with disgust. I could not believe that he charmed so many people and fooled others with his lies. I didn’t know until much later in the film that the concept of Raju’s identity crisis was key to the plot. This recognition occurred almost at the end of the film when Raju was fasting and was delirious. He saw two versions of himself: the fun-loving tour guide he used to be, and the Swami he had come to be. It was evident that Raju was, in some part of his conscious, aware of his lack of identity while for the majority of the film it appeared as if he was drifting through live without realizing he did not have one defined personality. I just became more frustrated with the film at this point. The protagonist was a liar who had no idea who he was and how he should treat people.
I feel as if this is just a lot of rambling, and maybe it is. However, the one thing I learned from watching Guide is that I do not appreciate characters who lie like its their job. The hopeless romantic in me that always prays for a happy ending wanted Raju and Rosie to get married, allowing Raju to finally find himself with the woman he loves. That didn’t happen, and let’s just say I wasn’t too thrilled with the ending either.

Filed by lfink at February 25th, 2013 under Uncategorized

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