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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Movie Review - 'Lage Raho Munna bhai'

Well! went to this movie due to persistent colleague who insisted that I should watch the movie...considering the fact that I had already read quite a bit about it and almost all the reviews at the time the movie was released, I was prepared for the movie. I wasn't disappointed.

At Sevagram Ashram recently, one of the Ashramites told me how the number of young visitors have increased since this movie! She mentioned of a case where a young girl sat in front of Bapu kuti and sang 'raghupati raghava' like the protagonist in this movie and expected Bapu to appear once she opened her eyes!! What an impact, certainly 'better than many Professors on Gandhism' as the heroin in the movie says.

It is a serious movie by commercial standards and not too commercial by serious standards. Resurrecting a historical character to promote a value which otherwise would sound rather stereotype (in the earlier version Munnabhai lies to his father, who disowns the son on realizing that he has lied to him, like the stereotype father in many many movies before) in a movie has made a great impact. And unlike 'rang de basanthi' where the main characters enter and exit the historical events at their will and their life can go on as usual till circumstances overtake them, here, the historical character is an independent wholesome character in the doesn't place any demands on the protagonist and yet is very assertive...typical Gandhiana.

The gradual change in the protagonist and the methods adopted to change and the immediate changes in people seems of course rather convenient, but, then, it is a movie.

A middle aged lady sitting next to me in the theatre and clearly not following the mumbai lingo (is it over emphasised?!) said during the interval, "they have tried to promote Gandhian values through a comedy movie I think"...the message has reached.

The team that conceived this movie and created this nice entertainment deserves all the praise and the commercial success that this movie has brought about...and for those who ask the perennial question 'whether Gandhi is still relevant in this country', lage raho is a surprising answer.

One may almost say, 'lage raho Bapu or better lage raho Gandhigiri'.

Gandhi is too big a persona and for too long we have reduced a discourse on him to a serious debate without any humour, 'lage raho...' offsets the balance. Bapu would certainly be happy with this movie.

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