Friday, February 15, 2008

Munnabahi Meets Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi!!

The second innings of Munna Bhai and Ciruit in 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai' is one breaker of an innings! It's good than the first one, draws more laughs and punches and the characters have a more humane personality that explores the other side of 'bhaigiri'. The plot is truly the winning card of the movie, not to discount the effective casting, dialogues that are a mix of funny and introspective, a rib-tickling screenplay, enjoyable situational songs and a first rate direction. Sanjay Dutt as Munna Bhai and Arshad Warsi as Circuit wear their characters as their second skins, more comfortably, more snuggly and are more lovable than their avatars in the earlier Munna Bhai MBBS. Ditto for Boman Irani who dons the role of Lucky Singh, a sardarji builder; a meanie with a heart. Vidya Balan also puts her best foot forward as a radio jockey who makes Dutt's heart goes hmmm... Dia Mirza and Jimmy Shergill justify their cameo appearances. A surprise element during the climax is a thoughtful addition and cheers the audience, specially the female audience threefold. Though the film is not a sequel to Munna Bhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai retains the characters of Munna and Circuit in the lead roles and their nontoxic, almost childlike idiosyncrasies. This idea also gives an unlimited scope for possibilities the hit pair of Munna and Circuit can indulge into in future. Lage Raho Munna Bhai is a story about Murli Prasad Sharma aka Munna who meets Mahatma Gandhi and undergoes a heart transformation. For Munna, breaking bones and abducting people at the snap of his fingers was easier than the courage it required to walk on the path of non-violence and truth. Hesitatingly and unwittingly he takes the road less traveled, which is thorny and full of obstacles in return for self revelation and a guilt-free conscience that fears nothing and no-one. The 'Gandhivad' is turned into 'Gandhigiri' by self proclaimed Professor Murli Prasad Sharma for its practical implementation in the present day, without sounding preachy or heavy-duty. There is a similar 'offering the other cheek' when someone slaps you, confessions of truth and also the 'satyagrah' for a bunch of old people who lose their house called 'Second Innings' to the manipulative and greedy Lucky Singh. Sad but true that our nation won freedom but lost its people, Murli tries to revive faith, courage, truth and justice in people from different walks of life. With his new found doctrine or the chemical 'locha' in his brain, he triumphs over the cynics or the lost souls and also wins the love of his life. An interesting observation can be made between Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra's 'Rang De Basanti' and Rajkumar Hirani's 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai', the fact that though the theme of both films is more or less the same, the approach to resolving the conflict is in complete contrast with each other, like two ends of the same thread. Yet both films succeed in their own unique ways and deliberate the depths of human emotions and reflections in an identical manner. In the end, hats off to Vidhu Vinod Chopra for creating a film that is a wholesome entertainer and succeeds in giving a heartfelt message in the times where films are made merely to fulfill the whims and fancies of egoistic filmmakers.

It was admired by the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, who stated that the film "captures Bapu's message about the force of truth and humanism." The film was collectively well received by critics and at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival ,was declared a "blockbuster", and was the recipient of a number of awards. It is the first Hindi film to be shown in the United Nations.

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