Reccos: Lage Raho Munna Bhai

This review was written by me a few years ago.
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Boman Irani

Lage Raho Munna Bhai is the second movie in the Munnabhai series. Though the lead characters are the same the story does not follow the first one and hence is not technically a sequel. Munna (Sanjay Dutt), a lovable goon pretends to be a Professor to win the heart of a beautiful radio anchor – Jhanvi (Vidya Balan). But as he reads more and more about Mahatma Gandhi to keep up his deception, he begins to hallucinate that he can see Mahatma Gandhi. He starts practicing Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings as ‘Gandhigiri’ with hilarious results.

The scene in the toilet (vinamrata se), the first meeting with Jhanvi, the college scene, the paan spitting scenes, the old man getting back at the corrupt bureaucrat, Circuit talking to Gandhiji, Munna’s response after the goon slaps him twice and Munna and Circuit’s scenes in jail are all excellent. Screenplay and dialogues by RajKumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi are excellent. The movie is filled with some of the best one liners in Hindi cinema.

Music by Shantanu Moitra is pretty good though they ripped off the song ‘Pal Pal’ from the Cliff Richard’s song ‘Theme for a dream’. The songs ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’, ‘Samjho ho hi gaya’ and ‘Pal Pal’ are all beautifully picturized and choreographed. Cinematography by C.K. Muraleedharan is very good.

Sanjay Dutt gives an excellent performance as Munna. He is fantastic in every scene whether he is angry and frustrated at the present day state of India, wooing Jhanvi or having a blast with Circuit. Arshad Warsi is excellent as Circuit with his great one liners and is the life of the Munnabhai series. Dilip Prabhavalkar gives a great performance as Mahatma Gandhi and deservedly won the National Award for Best Supporting Actor. Boman is ok but his performance is not as good as in Munnabhai M.B.B.S. Saurabh Shukla is good and Vidya Balan gives a decent performance. Diya, Jimmy and the rest of the cast are ok.

The movie has a message but it is not didactic or boring. Rajkumar Hirani’s direction is excellent and he uses comedy to get his message across. The movie does suffer a bit in the middle and the scenes involving Jimmy Sheirgill and Diya Mirza are a bit melodramatic. But just when you think the movie is getting bogged down there is a funny scene or a dialogue and it gets better. An emotional scene is followed by a comic scene and vice-versa.

Lage Raho Munna Bhai won the National Awards for Best Popular Film providing wholesome entertainment, Best Screenplay (Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra), Best Supporting Actor (Dilip Prabhavalkar) and Best Lyrics (Swanand Kirkire). The movie won Filmfare Awards for Best Movie (Critics), Best Story (Rajkumar Hirani), Best Dialogue (Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi) and Best Performance in a Comic Role (Arshad Warsi)

Lage Raho Munna Bhai is one of the best Hindi movies in recent times. What’s more is that it is an original film and not inspired by any other movie. It’s a clean family entertainer with a message. Just when everyone thought that Mahatma Gandhi had lost relevance in today’s world the movie shows that his principles and methods still work. The movie inspired Gandhigiri style protests which worked and this itself is the movie’s greatest contribution.

Rating: 4 / 5 (Brilliant)

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17 Comments
  1. Baba Ji 8 years ago

    LRMB to me was probably the weakest and most juvenile film among all hirani films.All those scenes you mentioned in the second para were too idealistic and impractical.Neither will a guy stop spitting if u keep wiping his stains, with a forced smile nor will a thick skinned Govt officer buckle under such childishly created pressure, to do his duties rightfully.Even towards the climax,arshad warsi convinces kulbushan kharbanda that his astrologer is fraud by making him succumb at gun point.So much for being followers of Mahatma’s non-violence! Munna bhai MBBS is hiranis best by a mile.

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      Baba Ji,

      What Mahatma Gandhi did was also too idealistic and impractical. Same with those who followed his methods like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. But they were all successful.

      “Neither will a guy stop spitting if u keep wiping his stains, with a forced smile nor will a thick skinned Govt officer buckle under such childishly created pressure, to do his duties rightfully.”

      Read this

      “Patel, a resident of Ataliya village in Karjan walked into the EPF Office on Wednesday morning, and began removing his clothes. He later threatened to commit suicide, which prompted the authorities to assure him of prompt payment, even as the police rushed to the spot. His action also led to the immediate suspension of the official who had demanded a bribe of Rs 1,000 from him.”

      http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/miffed-with-delay-in-release-of-pf-dues-man-strips-and-threatens-to-commit-suicide/289027/

      http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-03-27/ahmedabad/27747990_1_regional-pf-pf-money-pf-office

      “Even towards the climax,arshad warsi convinces kulbushan kharbanda that his astrologer is fraud by making him succumb at gun point.So much for being followers of Mahatma’s non-violence! ”

      The movie was a comedy and it was about Gandhigiri (mixing Gandhiji’s methods with Dadagiri) – remember Sanju slaps back when he gets slapped on the other cheek too.

      In the US, back in July 2007 the USCIS released the monthly visa bulletin which allowed anyone who started their GC process before July 2007 to apply for the last stage of GC. They then went back on the bulletin and issued a new bulletin. I used to be a member of one online Indian immigration group and they were discussing how to apply pressure on them so that they follow the original bulletin.

      One of the members proposed sending roses to USCIS inspired from LRMB. At first everyone ridiculed the person for making the suggestion and said this is not some movie and all that. After a while a few more supported the person and then only a few people said that we will send flowers and others can join if they want to. The group at first did not support it either. Later the news got leaked online and it was picked up by the newspapers. Now everyone joined in and so did the group.

      So they sent truckloads to flowers to USCIS and it was shamed. The news came in all newspapers and even on TV and they had to change back their decision.

      Here is from wiki

      ‘In the United States during July 2007, piles of flowers were sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office by individuals who were legally in the U.S. but caught in a green card backlog. This was an act of Gandhigiri (or nonviolent protest) copied from Lage Raho Munna Bhai.[15] There have been positive reactions to this event. The USCIS shipped the flowers to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval hospitals. A 15 July 2007 editorial in The Baltimore Sun argued, “let’s hope their protest gets results – because Americans are fortunate to have living among them people who are this ingenious, and this thoughtful of others, and this capable of channeling anger into beauty.”[16] On July 17, the USCIS announced that “it will accept applications from foreign professionals seeking permanent residency through an expedited process, reversing its earlier decision.” USCIS Director, Emilio T. Gonzalez noted of the Gandhigiri protest, “The public reaction to the July 2 announcement made it clear that the federal government’s management of this process needs further review […] I am committed to working with Congress and the State Department to implement a more efficient system in line with public expectations.”[17]’

      http://ibnlive.in.com/news/gandhigiri-works-green-card-seekers-make-us-change-heart/45183-2.html

      Munnabhai M.B.B.S is funny too and LRMB is the sequel. The only reason I think this is better its because Raju Hirani made Gandhi relevant in modern times when people did not think much of his methods. All Raju Hirani movies have melodramatic scenes.

      I loved 3 Idiots when I first saw it. I even wrote a 4 star review back then and called it the best movie of the year. But now when it comes on TV I find it very cheesy and melodramatic. It has not aged well for me at all.

      3 Idiots Movie Review by Sputnik

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      Check this from a documentary on checkpoints in Palestine made by a Israeli.

      • Baba Ji 8 years ago

        sputnik,this is good research on ur point and well appreciated. πŸ™‚
        well,Gandhigiri might work at some level and for some ppl.Anycase its a film and some amount of cinematic liberty is ok.

        • Author
          sputnik 8 years ago

          Thanks Baba.

  2. aryan 8 years ago

    I too agree Gandhigiri always the right path.

  3. dwnpiyush 8 years ago

    I wouldn’t get into the debate on whether Gandhigiri is right or wrong. Mahatma Gandhi has always been a touchy topic for me. But on the fllm, even I thought it was brilliant when I saw it. Strangely haven’t seen it again so hardly remember the sequence of events. Even I think that Munnabhai MBBS was a much superior film with a greater repeat value.

    Like Baba commented earlier, a lot of the stuff Hirani shows can be termed as juvenile. But according to me things have to be seen in the perspective of the overall tone and tenor of the movie. In that sense what Hirani does is take a simple message and weave it around an entertaining plot. His sense of humor is certainly over the top- The 3 Idiots ‘Balaatkaar’ scene may be the most over the top comic scene that worked in recent times. In some other film it would have been deemed offensive. Same goes for the climax delivery scene. But in context of the way the whole film was treated- it didn’t come across as offensive. It was light hearted stupid humor- exactly how the characters in his movies are treated. The way they laugh- the way they shed tears. Hirani has developed a genre of his own, and it remains to be seen how his next few movies turn out.

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      dwnpiyush,

      Nice to see you here. Please comment here more often.

      Agree with you that Hirani has developed a genre of his own. The whole movie is one comedy scene followed by one melodramatic scene followed by a comedy scene and so on.

      Take 3 Idiots for example. After the guy Jay Lobo dies Rancho goes to the Dean there is a serious scene where he blames the Dean. And then immediately its a comedy scene in the class. A guy just died and in the next scene everything is forgotten. Its all normal.

  4. dwnpiyush 8 years ago

    “Take 3 Idiots for example. After the guy Jay Lobo dies Rancho goes to the Dean there is a serious scene where he blames the Dean. And then immediately its a comedy scene in the class. A guy just died and in the next scene everything is forgotten. Its all normal.”

    Isn’t that how it happens in real life too? I have seen many such instances when people are all sober and sad one day, and the very next day they resume their regular stuff. It’s because at heart hardly anyone cares about anyone except oneself and one’s close family and friends. Rest are all paraphernalia. And quite understandably so.

    On Raju Hirani, I am actually disappointed that he is making so few movies. Now that I come to think of it, I directors like him, Aditya Chopra, Sooraj Barjataya, can hardly be called great directors. They make so few movies. They take so much time. I, for one, can hardly believe that film-making is their love. If it had been, they would have made more films. Take any director from the past. Those guys were prolific. Take Gulzar- the man made 15-20 movies in 20 years- All of them were different stories- yes they had some common elements- but that were just the Gulzar stamp. The man had it in him to experiment. People like Yash Chopra, BR Chopra, Manmohan Desai- all of them were so prolific.

    I will comment here more often. I dropped in to tell you that you are doing a great job with the facebook page- and of course the forum here. Cheers

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      Agree with you that people do move on. But the way things happen in Raju Hirani’s movies seems that it is frivolous. In the scene Aamir goes to Boman and says that he is the cause of that guy’s death and talks about his way of teaching being wrong. And then when Boman takes him to the class he cracks a joke saying that “kamzor students ka saath nahin chodta” or something like that. So there is no seriousness at all.

      After HAHK, Sooraj Barjatya was hailed just like Raju Hirani is being hailed now. But the movies that he made after that paled in comparison to HAHK. Aditya’s later movies pale in comparison to DDLJ. Aditya at least runs a production house and is probably very involved with all those movies.

      Agree with you that Gulzar, Yash Chopra, BR Chopra, Manmohan Desai were so prolific. Ram Gopal Varma is the most prolific now. Ashutosh and Vishal are also prolific to a lesser extent.

      Recently I had posted a interview of Vishal Bharadwaj and he was saying that Shekhar Kapur is such a good director but he doesn’t make any films and that he just likes to talk about making films. In that interview Vishal also said that he has requested Gulzar to direct a movie many times and that he will produce it but Gulzar declined saying that making a movie takes up too much time.

      Thanks for your appreciation. Do post your Monday Recall movie reviews too. I just saw on your Facebook status that you wrote about Masoom this week. It is one of my all time favorites.

  5. hithere 8 years ago

    I like the merging the idea of Gandhi into film but I still prefer first one. That was more innocent. This was in some way more contrived.

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      I watched Munnabhai M.B.B.S again just a couple of weeks back on TV. I think it is contrived too. May be because it was the first time that Raju Hirani made such a movie people feel that it was innocent or less contrived.

      The whole Anand Bhai track or Jimmy Sheirgill track (which was inspired from a scene of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest) or hugging a janitor or the carrom queen scenes are contrived.

      • hithere 8 years ago

        That is why qualified it with “more” πŸ™‚ Most movies are manipulative or contrived to some degree. It is true for Munnabhai MBBS also.

        • Author
          sputnik 8 years ago

          ‘That is why qualified it with β€œmore” :)’

          No “more” arguments from my side. πŸ˜‰

  6. Author
    sputnik 5 years ago

    Lage Raho Shetty Bhai : Blockbuster Qtiyapa

    • cr7 5 years ago

      Its an old one . But hilarious as usual . TVF and AIB both doing great .

      • Chaalu-Chaiwaala 5 years ago

        Yeah, seen ot back when Sputnik posted in a comment. This one is also nice.

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