Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I am referring to the movie Lage Raho Munnabhai(LRM). Rajkumar Hirani has managed to pull off the near impossible. A perfect sequel or episode (whatever you would like to call it) to Munnabhai MBBS. Probably he had no clue that the timing of the release would be so perfect.The centenary of Mahatma Gandhi's satyagraha. An unnecessary fracas over Vande Mataram. What a laugh-a-second bambaiyya riot.' Bande Main Tha Dum' (the guy had guts) is the opening line of a song saluting the Father of the Nation.The outcome is a super-duper hit resulting in Gandhi being reinvented and everyone humming Vande Mataram on the way out of the cinemahouses.

It is the victory of Gandhigiri over Dadagiri. In Delhi young men have stuck bumper stickers over their cars captioned "Gandhigiri wins over Dadagiri". BPO employeees at Mumbai,75000 in all,have decided to follow in Gandhiji's footsteps.Keep mum when faced with racial slurs from overseas callers. LRM is just what today's generation needs. A revival of values and ideals without our kids telling us 'papa don't preach'.The impact on all sections of people is huge. Eight months back 'Rang De Basanti' moved young men and women to stage candlelit vigils in the Jessica Lal murder case and speak out boldly against a corrupt and rotten system. And LRM has achieved the same result. In this case spreading Gandhiji's message.

So what is the story all about? Munnabhai(Sanjay Dutt) is back in tow with Circuit(Arshad Warsi).This time though, he is in love with the voice of Jhanvi(Vidya Balan) a RJ. To meet her, he cracks a quiz on Mahatma Gandhi and pretends to be a history professor and a follower of MG's ideologies. The Mahatma actually appears in front of Munnabhai and coaxes him to meet difficulties with the Gandhian philosophy.So he is led on the path of Gandhigiri by Gandhi himself. When Jahnvi stands to lose her second innings home (senior citizens' home) to a crooked builder Lucky Singh (Bomman Irani), Munna follows the Gandhian philosophy and fights the bad guys using ahimsa as his powerful tool. He makes Lucky's life miserable with his 'good wishes'. Dia Mirza as Lucky's daughter shows that given a good role she can act well.

There are some amazing emotional moments between Sanjay and Arshad .The script jointly written by Hirani and Abhijit Joshi is superb. Dollops of humour and laughs galore. "Bole to,kyon?" " Woheech jiska janam din par dry day hota hain". "Eh choti si dhoti mein akka country ghoom kar aya". "Tension kayko lene ka?" And words like "vaat lagana(get jacked) and "laffa"(slap). "yeda"(crackpot) and "chemical locha"(imbalance). Hirani,backed by an innovative script displays his class in the fine sketching of the characters. Actually the best scenes in the film are the ones when Munnabhai and Mahatma talk to each other.Gandhi appears each time Munna sings "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram"."Mujhe apne dil me rakho",says Gandhi. Some of the songs are very hummable like 'pal pal pal'. Boman Irani as the unscrupulous Sardarji builder acts in his characteristic manner-brilliant. Also the scene where a pensioner protesting against non-receipt of his pension by stripping himself and forcing the bureaucrat to clear his file is hilarious.There are some minuses no doubt like the Jimmy Shergill-Parikshit Sahni scenes(son-father) which could have been avoided.The son squanders all of dad's money in gambling and is scared to tell his dad the truth. And wants to commit suicide. Munnabhai advises him to face his dad and reveal all and beg for his forgiveness. Or a drunken Munnabhai taking over the radio station and going live.The cinematography is ordinary .

Sunita Lyn Williams,the world's first woman space tourist, will be part of NASA's 14th expedition as a flight engineer to the International Space station(ISS).She will be joining the expedition in mid-december. She said she is greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi who is one of her pillars of srength.She says that he has shown her how things can be achieved by putting your mind to it. Besides firing up this spacewoman to become the second astronaut of Indian origin to go on a space flight,Gandhigiri was at work behind her modesty too."I am an average person.I am humbled by the way people back in India admire my work. I have realised that you just need to have the will and fortune to succeeed".

And Munnabhai is exPM Deve Gowda's new alibi,in the battle of CDs being fought in Karnataka.His son and Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy has come under the scanner following recent releases of Bellary mining bribe CDs.Referring to Boman Irani's role of Lucky Singh in LRM,Deve Gowda said, "The sardar uses technology to place himself next to George Bush in a photograph. Like the sardar some persons here too have used technology to produce photographs of Chennigappa(Minister in the karnataka state cabinet) with currency notes. I am not going to be bothered about CD politics".

Even PM Manmohan Singh in the recent meeting of Non Aligned Movement leaders sold Gandhigiri.He spread the word of the Mahatma,the apostle of peace, making a pitch for a united front against terror."Our voice must be one of moderation,reason and harmony.If such is the voice of more than half of the people of the world then it will prevail" said Manmohan Singh.

To sum up LRM is a must-see. It has made box office records. Made on a budget of Rs 12 crores,it has earned already that much from Mumbai alone.Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra gives us one more great family entertainer.