It's back to Gandhian values with 'Lage Raho..'Sep 16, 2006 Arpana
New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Munnabhai's experiments with Gandhian truths have made Raj Kumar Hirani's "Lage Raho Munnabhai" a smashing hit.
While Hirani employed the classic 'jadoo ki jhappi' (the magic hug) to reform a medical institution in "Munnabhai M.B.B.S.", in "Lage Raho..." he broadens his canvas and draws from Gandhian philosophy to cure society of its ills.
The film's success proves that though Gandhi is remembered only on his birth and death anniversaries his values are immortal.
The Gandhian values - conveyed in a tongue-in-cheek manner - have been received well by the youngsters too.
"I found Gandhi's presence in the film very outstanding - especially the way it was juxtaposed against the film's main theme. Gandhi's presence - by way of his morals - has been neatly showcased," says Nayan, a young journalist.
"Gandhi's lessons on non-violence can be seen everywhere in daily life. There may be different views and perspectives about him but each one of us follow him till today, consciously or unconsciously.
"Who wants the Iraq war? Who wants Lebanon bombings? Who wants bomb blasts in passenger trains? We are all votaries of non-violence," she adds.
Actor Abhay Deol echoes the same views.
"With his 'ahimsa movement' he gained freedom for the country. He didn't even have to raise a finger. The Dalai Lama is trying the same formula to resolve issues. I think in this age of terror nothing can be more effective than Gandhian philosophy," Abhay told IANS.
"Lage Raho..." is a perfect blend of humour and intellect and the bonding between Gandhi and Munnabhai has bowled over viewers.
"I enjoyed professor Munnabhai's tryst with Mahatma Gandhi more than doctor Munnabhai's friendship with Circuit in part one of the movie. The film teaches without preaching," says Madhulika, a young professional.
"Gandhi-ji is more relevant in today's times than he was at the time of Independence. His theory of non-violence should be practised even now," Anupam Kher was quoted as saying.
Undoubtedly, "Lage Raho..." is an ambitious film and it succeeds in its endeavours, which is the greatest achievement for its maker.
Everyone appreciated the film because Hirani has not portrayed Gandhi as an historical figure like Shyam Benegal in "Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero" and Ketan Mehta in "Sardar".
Munnabhai treats him like a commoner and he talks to him in his typically Mumbaiya lingo. As a result, it's easy for people to connect with Gandhi's values and principles.
For instance - in a scene where Munnabhai is playing a radio jockey a harassed caller tells him that he is fed up of his neighbour, who spits at his door.
Munnabhai asks Gandhi who suggests that whenever his neighbour spits, he should immediately clean it and one day his neighbour will realise his mistake and stop doing that.
The caller reluctantly follows his advice and as Gandhi-ji predicted, the guy stops spitting.
Children who are more into "Superman" and "Spiderman" movies and computer games also enjoyed the film.
"I enjoyed the film. I liked Gandhi's part more. He is humorous and I think the actor who has played Gandhi has done a great job.
"I won't mind seeing more films on our national heroes but it should be in the same format. I know about Gandhi but I learned one thing from the film and that is his mother's name," Srikant, a Class 9 student, told IANS.
In the film there is an old age home called "Second Innings" where children dump their aging parents. Hirani has used this as an analogy for Gandhi and his forgotten values.
Hirani also makes fun of Ekta Kapoor's fixation with the letter 'K' and touches upon quite a few issues plaguing society.
"The movie comments on social problems and beliefs in a very humorous way, especially superstition of girls being labelled 'mangalik' (born under Mars). It deals with how successful children dump their elderly parents and the stupidity of believing in astrology and bribery," says Anjana, a mother of two.
"It also brings out the importance of saying sorry to those who are close to you whom you take for granted," she added.
The film entertains - but also forces the audience to introspect about the social ills plaguing society.
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Lage Raho Munnabhai