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Lage Raho Munnabhai September 19, 2006

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

A sequel is generally about making money off the success of the original. Trying to match a successful film isn’t an easy task. More often than not you will fall into a trap. The raised expectations also add to the problems. So, when lots of critics and audience members said that this movie matches the original or betters it, I was curious.

This is a lovely movie. It grabs you from the first moment and holds you till the end. It is hard for me to believe that Gandhian principles are still implementable today. This movie might not have really changed my opinion on that but it did make me more optimistic. If the original Munnabhai was all about hope and positivity, this one is more so. It may be somewhat simplistic sometimes but that is required to provide hope. The audience was quite willing to accept this film as a fantasy but the writer-director, Rajkumar Hirani chooses not to go that way.

This is a hard movie to write. Touching all the issues that it does without faltering is quite an achievement. We have many intelligent directors and writers in the Indian film industry but none of them seem to spend enough time and effort on writing the screenplay (all movies from Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory have novel ideas but most of the recent ones not directed by him have faltered at the screenplay level). This is where Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijit Joshi succeed and everybody should take a leaf out of their book.

There is marked improvement on many levels over the original. The screenplay matches the original in terms of humor and plot. There are more capable performers in this movie apart from the ones in the original (who play different roles, considering that this is more a series than a sequel). Hirani does a better job with the direction. More money is spent and that shows on screen. The soundtrack by Shantanu Moitra is an improvement over Anu Malik’s for the original (not to say that it was bad – the peppy ‘Subah Ho Gayi’ track is reused here and the lyrics seem perfect for the sequel – “Ek Kahani khatam to duji shuru ho gayi mamu”). Also, the background score is very good. The lyrics by Swanand Kirkare (aided by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Farhad-Sajid) grab your attention with their wit and purpose.

Arshad Warsi steals the hearts of the audience once again with his performance as Circuit. Sanjay Dutt delivers another admirable performance as the lovable Munnabhai. Vidya Balan is beautiful and suits her role (quite a contrast to her role in Parineeta). Dilip Prabhavalkar playing Gandhi is a case of great casting. He feels very much like Gandhi. Boman Irani does not get as good a role as he did in Munnabhai MBBS but he as always is dependable. Some of the actors from the original like Jimmy Shergill, Kurush Deboo (the parsi doctor in the original) and Bomi Dotiwala (the carrom playing old man in the original is quite sprightly as Bomi in this one) show up in different roles here. Very capable performers like Parikshit Sahani and Kulbhushan Kharbanda are added to the cast apart from some stars like Dia Mirza. The old lady who plays Tina (Bomi’s childhood love) is very beautiful. I was transfixed for the little time that she was on screen. I’ve never seen a more beautiful woman that old.

I believe that the two Munnabhai films have reinvented the genre of feel-good films in India. Since Hum Aapke Hain Koun, all feel-good movies have been about love, family, celebrations or the cliched representation of Indian culture and values. I hope that more filmmakers go the Hirani way since we are bored to death with the rehashing of the same old formula feel-good films.

Munnabhai part 3 is apparently in the offing according to Hirani (rediff.com), where Munna supposedly goes to America (to the White House even!). The audience definitely want to see this series go on (and so do I). We have to wait and see if Hirani can match these two movies (it is enough if he gets close).


1. rohit - March 29, 2007

munaa bhai picture is best film & lage raho munnabhai is better so i like sanjay dutt

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