Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lage Raho Munnabhai

Lage Raho Munnabhai has come as a huge surprise to me. Just a few days ago I was discussing with a friend about how all sequels in India are terribly made and do not lift the benchmark of excellence but push it lower still, and taking the discussion further we predicted that Lage Raho Munnabhai as well Dhoom 2 would be a flop. I should have heard by senses tingling then, because every time I have predicted a movie to go bust, it has been a phenomenal success. Gadar was one of my first predictions, followed by Munnabhai MBBS.

Coming back to the movie. Lage Raho Munnabhai has a simple straight-cut plot, simple dialogues and a tight screenplay. Raju Hirani has churned out a movie which raises the benchmark set down by his debut directorial effort. For the first time, a sequel lives beyond its predecessor. cinematography is good too. Vidya Balan looks good while Sanjay Dutt looks stoned, drunk and really old. Inspite of which he delivers. Dutt would have been thrown out of the film industry if not for his stellar acting and perfect comic timing. Boman Irani fits seamlessly into the role of a business-minded sardar and even Dia Mirza's pint sized role has substance to it.
The Gandhi could have been a better actor (like Atul Kulkarni, who portrayed the role in the same named film). But I guess a better actor would not have accepted a role like that. Jimmy Shergill has carried out his role with aplomb.

Thankfully Jaddu Ki Jhappi has been done away with in this movie. While all the other parts have been retained. All the character, big or small from the first movie have bit parts or some parts in this movie. Munnabhai MBBS came across as a venture in comedy, an experiment in clean un-govinda style, while this movie establishes its own genre of clear comedy.

Another good thing about this movie is that no twist, no sub-plot is wasted. Everything that happens, happens for a logical reason. And each action has its corresponding reaction. No loose-ends in this movie.

It is impossible to make a perfect movie. Lage Raho Munnabhai too falls short in one place. And one place only. Vidya Balan's talent has not been used to its optimum. Each actor has a meaning, while the only meaning to Vidya Balan's character, Jhanvi, is that she is the female for whom Munnabhai falls head over heals. Agreed it is this very fact, that pushes him to read more about Gandhiji, hence encounter him and hence follow Gandhigiri. And hence bring about a revolution in his usual manner. But Balan's character could have had more substance than someone who flips her hair away from her cheek. In one of the dance sequences, it looked like Arshad Warsi has deliberately toned down his more than great dancing so that it would not over-shadow Sanjay Dutt (In the petrol-pump). Other than that, Arshad Warsi makes waves with Circuit because of the wider scope given to his character.

The songs are good, not too many in number but they can never be too less. The movie starts with the trademark,
Chanda Mama so gaye, suraj chachu jage,
dekho pakdo yaaron, ghadi ke kaate bhaage,
ek kahani khatam to duji.. shuru ho gayi na mamu
which very evidently emabarks on a new episode of Munnabhai's life. The title track makes for catchy listening, while the Pal Pal trach has made its way into my mom's favorites. The movie has been shot widely in Mumbai. With the exception of Goa, where the Munnabhai and his entourage go on a holiday.

On a more personal level, this movie has pleased me immensely. Simply because till a month back I used to debate with people about how great a man Gandhiji really was. At that time I knew of only one person who idolized him as much as me, if not more. And from last week, since this movie has been released, I can clearly see the people from my class, who till some time back bad-mouthed the great man, believing in his principles. I always knew and hated the effect media had on youngsters, because of the all the negativity it radiated. But this movie again (RDB being one) has used its power positively. Now I will not have to beat my brains with he people who degrade and abuse Mahatma Gandhi but simply point them to the movie, because if they don't believe that he was in all actuality a great man, then, they are knuckleheads.

Words to Remember From this film: Sorry to sound so cliched, but-
dimaag mein Chemical Locha
was the best dialogue. Coming close to it was,
Bapu ne yeh naho kaha tha ki dusre tamache ke baad kya karne ka
chal ab sorry bol!!

Things I learnt From This Movie: GANDHIJI ROCKS!! this was just reinforced by this movie.. not that I needed it!!
Also, no matter how well Sanjay Dutt acts, he will always look drunk and stoned.
Lastly, Arshad Warsi shines more than his gold chains in the film!!


J said...

Gandhi revived. Even I always insisted that he was a great man and used to explain to people the same. This movie explains many reasons why he was a great man, not completely depicted by the movie Gandhi itself.
Seems a lot of thought has gone into writing the script for the movie. mixing comedy along with Gandhi fundas a very good and difficult combination.
Arshad has a done a good job as well.

pragni~dreamcatcher~ said...

wow that was quick!! yeah... its very difficult to create this kind of a successful combination. And more than that, sensible combination. I really cant explain how happy I am that this movie is around Gandhiji.. it just makes the movie more personal to me.

I used to wonder earlier, why they wanted to call this movie, Munnabhai Meets Mahatma, now I understand it.

Aniruddha said...

Yes an amazing movie .. great acting by everyone and a great theme ...

but then again, I dont want to start a debate here, we can do that offline ;) but Mahatma Gandhi's principals work only in the country like India and only against England where only a small number of people are trying to rule a very very high number of people .. in the opposite case, it does not work ! Dont get me wrong I believe in his principals as well ! But just being (for lack of a better word on top of my head right now)open-eyed about it ..

anu said...

am yet to see the movie..will let u in on my comments wen i see it...
take care

pragni~dreamcatcher~ said...

ani- hmm maybe the quirks he shows are difficult to implement in real life..but something about them strikes true..

anu-go see it babe..with shugu!! its a rocking movie..

'nonnymus said...

Dunno abt the movie, i still have to see it. but im very happy and very impressed with your post. have always trusted your opinion on a movie. You'll make a wonderful movie critic. Maybe you should add a category...
very well framed post. keep it up!

Mitesh said...

@Ani: Actually the whole point of the movie was that Gandhi's principles can be applied to solve real life problems, unlike the belief of most people that his principles worked only during Imperial rule.
>Gandhi's principals work only in the country like India
Gandhi's principles have been used successfully in many countries worldwide - SA, US etc.

The Hot Wave said...

I gotta see the movie yet!! and I'm looking forward to it after this review...

pragni~dreamcatcher~ said...

Mitesh and Ani- I dunno how many people have the guts to apply Gandhiji's ideologies in real life today. It all boils down to the easier route out, which Gandhiji has said is easier in the short run but more difficult in long one.
I think that applied for all countries too..

creative genius said...

as rightly said i do not remember any hindi sequel as good as this one...
i think its a really good script with the good screenplay and apt actors to match it up, its a good movie as a whole.
Things i like abt the movie
-Its a movie for all ages.
-Makes ppl understand that gandhi's principle do not die with him

creative genius said...

I guess not to offend anyone but it a narrow minded approach to say that gandhis principle can not be applied to todays world.

sundar said...

Gandhiji would forever rock for anyone who bothers to expore his me, he has personified integrity...

pragni~dreamcatcher~ said...

Creative Genius- Its not a narrow minded approach per se, but an individual perspective.

Sundar- True. Thanks for dropping by!!

anu said...

i finally did see it..loved it..was laughing almst thru out..there hs bin so much debate goin on abt gandhiji n hs principles hr..i think its the fact tht they r tough to apply 2day which makes people think tht they dnt wrk..coz they require a lot of grit n patience whch our fast lives dnt giv us..other thn tht i really dnt hv nethn to say..leav the debate to all u intellectual guys..
ps..dint see it wid 'shugu' coz he hd seen it wid hs frnds..saw it wid palak n charu..

pragni~dreamcatcher~ said...

hear hear.. anu speaks!!

Too bad for Shugu.. missed out on the fun with u!!

By the way, you are as intellectual as these guys..more maybe. None of them are gonna be doctors a few years later!!

thief said...

who the fool liked tht stupid movie,i can't understand a word or make out wat iz all abt,munna wat a name for the main lead,our country takes really cool one not a rubbish,gaandhi-gandhi(watever) he definetly is the person i loved a bit others rubbish,wasted my money like anything,no dead cool persons