Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lage Raho Munna Bhai aka Rang De Basanti



Watched "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" yesterday. Although, I do not write film reviews but this movie made me write one.

Like most others in the country, I had adored Munna Bhai MBBS. The Movie - was not an original idea. It was inspired by one similar hollywood movie. But the inspiration was well developed and suitably indianised. In fact one cannot use the word copy in this context. It was brilliant execution, in my view.

I had also appreciated the genius of thought in the Aamir khan starrer - Rang De Basanti (RDB). The idea of gelling martyrs of the yesteryears with generation-x of today was brilliant. The entire movie was executed with great finnese, as well.

So when I sat through the sequel of munna bhai - it did not take great intelligence to understand that the inspiration for this movie was RDB. Like the first time the inspiration was worked upon very well and so one does not feel bad at all shelling out a fortune to sit through this simple yet touching movie, however it remains an inspired movie to say the least.(Spoilers ahead if you haven't watched the movie already).

Its a neat copy of an idea - simple too. What did RDB do? It took some heroes from our freedom movement and weaved an artful story of how their passion and depth of thought can influence our so called spoilt brats of generation-x. It was a successful idea and worth copying. So what do you do? You dig out another freedom fighter as your protagonist. Now when the original had already picked up the more aggressive heroes of the freedom movement - who should be your obvious next pick - who else but Gandhiji - the one and only who represents the other philosophy.

What else can make it unique? RDB was a serious movie - so you keep the brand Munna Bhai alive by weaving it with a funny (really) theme. You can ofcourse not make a comedy of Gandhiji in this country and so the movie is with a serious message - and I must say, the movie succeeds in sending that message bang into your head. The simpilicity with which it makes Honesty still the best policy - is touching, inspiring, commendable and what does one say....... eye opening.

Some of the sequences are just too good - one cannot but associate oneself with the characters quite closely. Some of my favourite - the one where Munna Bhai offers an apology to Circuit - excellent dialogues, super delivery. Another one when the Munna Bhai's crush invites him to deliver a lecture on Gandhiji at her old age home and Circuit tries to avoid it finally losing the battle - excellent sense of timing by Arshad. Then the impossible sequence when Munna Bhai directs a depressed young man to share truth with his father - through the medium of (yes believe it) radio (do you again remember RDB - see I told you so) - the sequence ended up becoming quite believable - thats a huge achievement. Even the sequence when Munna Bhai goes on a satyagrah was carried out well.

Of the cast - Sanjay Dutt is better than he was in the original Munna Bhai, Boman Irani makes his mark yet again - fluent, flawless and with ease he carries some of the toughest characters that bollywood has to churn out. He deserves another series of awards for this role. Vidya Balan is like a gust of fresh air - charming and very authentic in her role - also effortless, she is a good actress. However the best of the lot is - Arshad Varsi. An actor whom bollywood has not yet utilised. The character of Munna Bhai will be simply devoid of any attraction without this yet another spectacular performance by Arshad. He has that sense of timing and expression which makes him a natural at comedy.

The editing is great - you are rivetted to your seat from the word go. The pace is fast enough to gloss over some obvious loopholes and before I talk about them let me commend a very well written script which makes the this movie very very effective.

Talking of loopholes I was rather amused that, circuit who generally would find a great funny way of cheating his way out of any situation for Munna bhai, could not think of a creative solution to Munna Bhai's problem of delivering a lecture on Gandhiji at an old age home. Remember the way he helped Munna Bhai top the PMT exam, or the way he helped him get an exclusive "body" for his practicals at the medical college, or the way he helped generate immediate logistic support to the whims of Munna Bhai - in the first version. In this one what idea does he come up with - a Library carrying literature on Gandhiji - for Munna Bhai to read. Somehow it simply does not go with the theme or the overall plot. Also the sequence in which Munna shares the truth about himself with her love - the reaction and the instant breakup should have been developed a lot better. The music is better than the last time but not outstanding. However the picturisation of "Lage Raho ..." was marvellous.

All in all - very good value for money. A surprisingly good sequel. Go ahead and watch it.
PS. Photograph Courtesy http://www.apunkachoice.com