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Remembering Gandhi

By: | Sep 03, 2006 02:31 AM

“Generations to come will find it difficult to believe that a man such as this walked in blood and flesh on this Earth” (Albert Einstein on Mahatma Gandhi)

I am a firm believer in Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy… I have spent a substantial amount of my time trying to understand the man and his beliefs but I have always failed to understand him. How can I even imagine to understanding someone who defies logic but still is so logical in his approach that my logic goes for a complete toss?

No… I do not try to follow him… I cannot! There can not be a man more opposite to Gandhi in temperament and firmament than me and as East and West never meet, neither can we…We are simply different… If he stands for the Truth, I stand for everything but the Truth… But today I am confused, not because I have suddenly turned into an avid fan of Mr. Gandhi but because I am today faced with a very difficult question… Does the Gandhi, or can the Gandhi of 1916 survive in the environment of 2006? Do his ideals still exist? Does Gandhi have a solution for today?

‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ attempts to answer this question inthe best manner it can. Although this sequel of one of the best comedies of this century, Munnabhai MBBS, is a worthy successor to its prequel, it also has a more profound and deeper meaning… the challenge of living upto a prequel is a daunting affair but to actually make the sequel tackle a contemporary subject in a philosophy that has been reviled and cursed by a major chunk of today’s generation is commendable even if considered a bit too risky.

Lage Raho Munnabhai is a brilliant movie, a movie which will make you sit back and notice and maybe think at least once after the arcs have dimmed and when all the Munnabhais and Circuits have been relegated to the back of the mind and therein lies the charm of the movie and the power of the philosophy that guides it.

Sanjay Dutt yet again proves that he is no less an actor than the Khans and Kumars of the industry. The actor manages to continue in the same verve as in the previous film but what actually takes the cake is theamalgamation of a soft and emotional heart to a tough exterior and a faith that can shake mountains. The man has come a long way from his Vidhaata days when he needed to be propped up by stalwarts and the scene wherein he faces the truth behind his faith is enough to move mountains. Brilliant acting, sir!

If Munnabhai is brilliant, can Circuit be far behind? Arshad Warsi dazzles in the role that’s destined to become his calling card in the industry. The guy has always been an excellent, even if underrated, actor and with this film it lends credence to the theory that no Munnabhai can ever be complete without his Circuit. But more than anything, the guy leaves youspeechless with his performance in the scene wherein Munnabhai comes to apologize to him after slapping him the previous night.

Boman Irani again proves a worthy antagonist to our heroes.As the loud but business-minded Lucky Singh, the guy is in full bloom. In fact, I would say that it’s very difficult to play a villain with positive attributes in our hero-obsessed and villain-bashing society but to the credit of Boman,the actor manages to play the role evenly and ensures that at no time does the audience hate him as the evil man. He’s a great actor and I am sure Boman Irani will prove that to be successful, you need to be an actor and nothing else.

The great Dilip Prabhavalkar, an actor of the caliber of a Sanjeev Kumar or Naseeruddin Shah, but rarely given his due, has been roped into play Mahatma Gandhi and that is indeed a great treat for the connoisseur. Dilip, like his namesake, the legend Dilip Kumar, keeps the audience firmly glued to the seat with his excellent performance to such an extent that sometimes the distinction between the actor and his role gets blurred and we are left with a sinking feeling that perhaps Gandhi has come back between us.

Vidya Balan as Munnabhai’s love interest plays her role with conviction but the influence of Preity Zinta from Salaam Namaste is pretty obvious. Having said that, I am confident the actress will one day be among the frontline actresses of the industry. Her body language is simply outstanding.

Diya Mirza as Simran plays her role with gusto and gay abandon. Jimmy Shergill is exceptional in his two-bit role. The actor has a lot of potential and it’s sad that he has to keep appearing in itsy-bitsy roles when he can carry a film on his shoulders. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Saurabh Shukla and Parikshit Sahni all perform to the best of their abilities. Abhishek Bachchan is fantastic in his cameo appearance.

I appreciate Rajkumar Hirani for his guts in making a sequel with such a deep and profound meaning. He is a brilliant writer-director and I personally feel he will be one day considered as an institution in himself. Unlikea few other directors who go to town broadcasting about their nonsensical films with clumsy and bold subjects and shoot in every place other than the country where the film is made and made for, the director has made an excellent use of Bombay and its locales.It’s after a long time that Bombay looks so beautiful. Every scene is well-conceived and directed and the director actually ensures that the audience does not go home with fantasy in their mind but with their feet firmly planted in the ground. I especially like the Press conference scene and the scene in the prison cell and the drunken Sanjay in the Worldspace office. Two films – Two classics! What more can I say for him than ‘keep it up’

And now coming to another important part of the film –Mahatma Gandhi… the man proves that despite being derided and humiliated, despite being scorned and laughed at, despite being written off and assassinated, he still remains a powerful force to reckon with. I cannot forget but remember that every time he speaks, the audience in the theatre went berserk and there were claps and claps galore. You may insult him, make fun of him but the man does not mind… why should he? He very well knows an empire that did the same to him…today the empire is no more but the ‘Nanga Fakir’ still exists… even after being shot dead.

The answer is out there… Gandhi is dead but he still lives on… his philosophy still exists and surprisingly it exists in the minds of those who hardly care whether he lives or dies…. But then he was always a manof contradictions… great contradictions!

I am waiting desperately for the next installment of this franchise… Phir Milenge Munnabhai!

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Additional details about Lage Raho Munnabhai

Plot Revealed In The Review: Not revealed   |   Best to watch with: Friends   |   Movie Genre: Comedy Movie   |   Best part in the movie: Script    

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