Friday, September 01, 2006


Lage Raho Munnabhai

Munnabhai MBBS was a laugh-aloud comedy; its sequel Lage Raho Munnabhai engages your mind, heart, emotions and sense of humour. You don’t see too many films like that in Hindi cinema. They are either mindless comedies (like Golmaal) or shrill sermons (like Rang De Basanti). A film that lets you have fun while it gives you a lesson on Gandhian values is not so easy to come by.

With a superbly crafted screenplay and fabulous dialogue (Rajkumar Hirani –Abhijat Joshi), director Hirani starts out with the idea of making you chuckle, and while you stop for breath, gives you a thought to hold on to. Of course it is too simplistic—the film is placed in a universe untouched by the kind of maniacs that plant bombs in trains; and where people are essentially nice, it is easy to talk of Gandhian values. (To get humour in a situation of monumental tragedy, only Roberto Benigni has achieved in Life is Beautiful.) But then who talks of peace and non-violence in the movies these days? For that, Lage Raho’s few hiccups can be overlooked.

Munnabhai (Sanjay Dutt) is back with his devoted sidekick Circuit (Arshad Warsi) with his “no tension Bhai” mantra. Now Munna has gone and flipped for Janhvi (Vidya Balan), a radio jockey and it’s Circuit’s job to ensure that Munna wins the quiz that will allow him to meet her— he does that by kidnapping a few history professors!

But to impress the bunch of old men Janhvi shelters in her bungalow, the fake Professor Murliprasad Sharma, has to do his own reading, and Mahatma Gandhi enters his soul. Gandhi (Dilip Prabhavalkar—odd make-up) appears to him, with solutions to all life’s problems— Munna’s and those of others who listen to Jahnvi’s radio programme (like in Good Morning Vietnam and Salaam Namaste, everybody listens to t he radio!) From “Dadagiri” Munna moves to “Gandhigiri” and finds that it works like a charm.

Lucky Singh (Boman Irani) is after Janhvi’s bungalow, and sneakily grabs it. Munna and the old folks have to use Gandhian tactics to win the battle. But it’s not as solemn as it sounds—Munna, Circuit and Lucky Singh (the irrepressible Boman Irani in his element) make it very funny, and occasionally moving.

Munnabhai with his muscles, orange shirts and lovelorn eyes is the hero, but the film is kept buzzing because of Circuit, who has the best lines and the best expressions. Munna and Circuit are such an endearing team, they could be turned into a franchise, and go on till suitable plots can be found.


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