The film stars Jimi Mistry as the eponymous character, Heather Graham as the actress he learns from, and Marisa Tomei, who helps him reach his guru status among her socialite New York City friends.
Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry), a dance teacher, leaves his native city Delhi, India, to seek his fortune in the United States. He is lured by the exaggerations of his cousin, Vijay, who has already moved to New York City. Vijay's deception is the first of several that drive the plot.
Seeking work as an actor, the naïve Ramu unknowingly lands a role in a pornographic film. That evening he accompanies Vijay and his roommates on a catering job at a society birthday party. When the Indian swami hired to address the party falls into drunken oblivion, Ramu takes his place. Lacking a real philosophy, he improvises by repeating advice he had been given by Sharonna (Heather Graham), an adult film actress he met earlier. Lexi (Marisa Tomei), the birthday girl, is so impressed that she promotes him as a New Age sex guru to her friends.
Ramu hires Sharonna, ostensibly for advice on how to be an actor in adult films, though what he really wants is more ideas he could use in his new role as the guru of sex. A personal relationship develops between the two, though Sharonna is engaged to a firefighter who thinks she's a school teacher. Complications ensue from these and other deceptions.Jimi Mistry – Ramu Gupta
Heather Graham – Sharonna
Marisa Tomei – Lexi
Michael McKean – Dwain, a director of adult films
Christine Baranski – Chantal, Lexi's mother
Dash Mihok – Rusty, Sharonna's fiancé
Bobby Cannavale - Randy, Rusty's gay lover
Emil Marwa – Vijay Rao, Ramu's cousin
Ronald Guttman – Edwin, Lexi's father
Malachy McCourt – Father Flannigan
Sanjeev Bhaskar – Chef
Rizwan Manji – Party Waiter
Ajay Naidu – Sanjay
Anita Gillette – Mrs. McGee, Rusty's mother
Pat McNamara – Mr. McGee, Rusty's father
Dwight Ewell – Peaches, Sharonna's friend
Alex Khan – Young Ramu
The Guru was filmed in two months, mostly on location in New York City, though a few scenes were filmed in Delhi.
Locations in New York City included Times Square, Manhattan's Chinatown, Central Park, Hunts Point, Queens, Brooklyn, the George Washington Bridge, and the World Trade Center. Ramu’s Broadway debut was filmed at Reverend Ike's United Palace Theater, while the setting for the finale was Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
The film features several Bollywood-style song-and-dance numbers, including one where Ramu and Sharonna sing a version of Kya Mil Gaya from Sasural that morphs into a version of "You're the One That I Want" from Grease. The song "Every Kinda People" by Jo O'Meara of S Club 7 fame is used in the film's end credits, and also included is "Don't Say Goodbye" from Paulina Rubio's Border Girl album. Round Round by Sugababes also features.
On the movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, The Guru has a 58% rating, with 50 of 86 reviewers giving the film a "fresh" rating. Based on 30 reviews, the film's Metacritic score was 47 ("mixed").
After viewing it at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Derek Elley, reviewing it for Variety, called it a "generally entertaining but rather old-fashioned sex comedy" whose "basic plot of a naive Indian stumbling through white U.S. society...shows little advance in attitudes and humor on Blake Edwards' 1968 comedy The Party." A BBC review said it "stirs together Bollywood and Hollywood, satire and romance, to create an appealing masala dish of a movie."
After its U.S. premiere, Stephen Holden of The New York Times called it a "nervy conceptual hybrid" that "lurch[es] between a loudmouthed sitcom and a crude social satire" and noted that "behind its Hollywood-meets-Bollywood banner, The Guru... is a grindingly conventional comedy that insists on tying up its subplots in pretty ribbons and bows."