Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lage Raho Munnabhai

I saw this movie two days ago, and I think this is one of the greatest Indian movies. Kudos to Raju Hirani! He is one of the very few people in India that I would love to meet and chat in my lifetime. The others being Abdul Kalam and Pranay Roy.

I rate most of the Indian movies very low and don’t watch too many of them. For me, the top criterion for judging an Indian movie is ‘originality’. Both Munnabhai movies (MBBS and Lage Raho) score 100% on this. What stumped me when I watched the first one was its freshness- it was completely original with no pretense and no clich├ęs drawn from other successful Hollywood or Indian movies. The second one is even better. It’s extremely hard for most Indian movie makers to handle a serious topic such as this. They made a mess with both Bhagat Singh movies. I came out of the movies having lower respect for Azad and gang than what I had. The director did a lousy job. Most other Indian movies- present and past could not handle serious issues very well- they lost out on what they wanted to convey.

Here is a great movie. Lage Raho kept the audience enthralled and captivated in its grip- the director took me (and other audience) through all the highs and lows, through extremely sentimental stuff and then within a minute to boisterous laughter. He played with me like popcorn tossing in a popcorn-making machine and I allowed him to do that. I was sad, I was happy, I laughed to my heart’s content, and thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Conveying the message of Mahatma Gandhi to the present generation is extremely tough. His image is eroding very fast and he is becoming less and less of an entity in Indian scheme of things. However, Raju Hirani took this extremely tough message and conveyed it to Indian masses through his favorite characters- Munnabhai and Circuit. The screenplay was excellent. There was not a single moment when I felt distracted or got bored- I was just glued to the screen all the time. The banter, the language, and his new words- Gandhigiri, etc, are fresh once again. He has built up each character with great care and the actors live up to their unique characters.

By tying up Gandhian messages with modern India- old people drink beer and party in Goa, the protagonist being a Gandhian (in contemporary sense) resorts to drinking liquor, the director has made Gandhi valid in our lives once again without losing his core and original message. By touching upon dignity of work, relevance of truth and satyagraha in contemporary world, discarding superstitious works like Vaastu, Astrology and Numerology, Raju Hirani captured real Gandhi (without other idiosyncratic practices that seem to bother many people).

Must watch!

4 comments:

  1. Munnabhai 1 was superb. I love the message they conveyed - "love can heal what purely 'commercial doctorgiri' cant". They also showed, correctly, the state of mind of some of our doctors today - the Director of the hospital/college saying "Ek patient sirf ek bimaar shareer hai aur kuch nahin... aur kuch nahin." The Munnabhai makers seem to have done a good job with their second venture as well. Should watch Lage Raho Munnabhai.

    "Gandhigiri" - nice term :p

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  2. Both movies are milestones and no doubt the original ones (very rare in indian cinema)
    However,MBBS has merely scraped the surface of Patch Adams taking the basic premise of an older guy going to Med School, creating havoc and curing patients with humour/love...

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  3. the Hollywood original Patch Adams was far better than the Indian copy of Munnabhai I

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  4. Just watched the movie yesterday. I found it unconvincing despite being of noble intention. Anyway, I'm happy to see that people are taking away good messages.

    As mentioned already, Munnabhai MBBS had the basic idea lifted from Patch Adams.

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