September 4, 2006

Bravo-Carry On Munnabhai!

Filed under: Most Read,movie reviews,opinions — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 11:37 am
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Update: Arshad Warsi claimed today in Mumbai Mirror, that the character of Circuit was his brain child totally. “There was nothing to it (the character originally written).The guy was just a typical sidekick, a six foot oaf named Abdul Khulji, or something like that. I moulded and shaped that inconsequential character in to Circuit”..informs Arshad…hmmm, no wonder the ring of truth in the performance and my comments.



For most, moviegoing is a pastime, for some it is an escape, for others, like me, it is a passion, akin to none, indulged solely for pleasure, reserved for viewing a creative art. The seriousness of its creator compels one to associate and respond in tandem so as not to undermine the effort. Its subtle nuances enjoyed, technique applauded, emotions evoked are surrendered to volitionally and in complete abandon.
Munnabhai MBBS, belonged to a genre which brought forth the goodness so prevalent in us, yet so difficult to attain. The sequel “Lage Raho Munnabhai” was awaited with anticipation.

One cannot dismiss the trepidation, the makers might have been subjected to while conceiving the plot and capers, firstly to match up with the previous success. Secondly to provide a progression in thought and narrative, simultaneously balancing the light hearted tone which had become a trade mark for the characters of Munna bhai and Circuit.

To put it simply, they managed to whip up a delightful fare. Roping in Gandhan philosophy as the mainstay, with such ease and candour was a winning move.. Halfway through, a niggling question arose. Was this a film with a social message disguised in banter or a feel good film that had chosen to eulogise long forgotten,yet much needed,Gandhian principles? Either way, the purport had come through lavishly.

Its heartening to note that film makers are reacting to the damnation and depths our country seems to have sunk. First RDB and now this. History not only repeats itself but is also a valued teacher, is what emerges abundantly clear from both the undertakings. While RDB , however, posed questions, incited passions and anger as much as the desire to involve oneself in gainful pursuit , it provided no viable answers, unless taking up the gun was considered one.. LRM, on the other hand has attempted to address a plethora of social issues ranging from abandonment of the aged, to blind faith in astrology, to rampant usage of violence as a means of redressal. Gandhijis path or “Gandhigiri” , was presented with tact and love. Without succumbing to a preachy, crusader, a ‘talking down to’ approach.

As in the previous instance, this film is an example of scripting, direction and acting amalgamating holistically, to come up tops. If any one of these had defaulted, the result would have been disastrous as happens often with most films. As Munna would say”sab chance by luck ka baat hai”. Today one cannot imagine anyone but Sanjay Dutt in the role of Munna bhai, although he was not the first was Shahrukh Khan, who declined, for Sanjay Dutt to avail the chance of getting immortalised. Divine blessing in lieu of unsurmountable spate of unending problems faced on the personal front? Who Knows!

Nonetheless, it is Circuit aka Arshad Warsi who makes you sit up and take notice of his immense talent. Mouthing lines brilliantly scripted, does make it a cake walk for even the best. However, if there is an instance where the actor has gone beyond the scope of the written word, it is this performance of Circuit by Arshad. Whether this ultimately proves to be ‘the curse that follow the black diamond’, is too early tp predict with certainty. All one can guess is that it will be a while before he is accepted as any character other than Circuit.. quite a death knell for an actor. A case in point..Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh..never really peaked in another role.

The surprise package was Dia Mirza. She has evolved as an actress with time. Every scene she performed, though there werent that many, was a treat to the eyes, visually and aesthetically. It is a pity that she may never again reach the pinnacle as a heroine..but much like the game of cricket, one never knows how fortunes change in Bollywood.

Boman Irani, is a great actor, which is a given. As Lucky singh the corrupt builder, however he was not able to re-create the magic from the previous Munnabhai. Either the role failed to pack sufficient punch, bereft of catchy dialogues, or the role of a sardar he felt incapable of assaying, the sum total was a trifle disappointing.

Vidya Balan, it seemed as if took lunch breaks off from her Parineeta sets, donned the garb of a modern, with-it, todays gal, and delivered her lines. She was hopelessly out of place , forced and plastic in her performance. To be fair to her, it was wrong casting which was the culprit here. The role of a RJ, required the verve, vivaciousness of a Preity Zin ta-ish personality. Vidya tries but failed. Coquettish looks and coyness seemed ineffectual .

Technically, this film was far superior from the previous. The cinematographer was brilliant. Although one can see the DI (Digital Intermediate) resorted to enhance colors. Goa waters are never that blue.. but why not? Now that the producer was convinced that he had a winner at hand, his purse strings loosened, even for expensive techniques as DI, used all through the film.

Music was dsappointing except for the Cliff Richard plagiarised ‘Pal pal’. Despite this flaw, the film did not slack in pace or flow. Full marks to the director Rajkumar Hirani. Over the last couple of years, during the scripting he has lived with the characters and story to a great extent, is obvious from the handling of scenes, and ease of graphing of emotional pitch. It may appear simple, but this was a herculean effort. To get audiences to laugh,is no laughing matter.

From the looks of it , Munnabhai is here to stay, with new capers, and fresh look at problems, captivating the audience with his guileless innocence and a perfect man Friday Circuit by his side, endearing and lovable..So Carry on Munnabhai..whos complaining!

Rating: ***1/2


  1. Kaveeta, I thoroughly enjoyed the film…and am going for it again with my parents this time.It is the kind of film you can see twice without getting bored.Vidya balan looked fresh but plastic..I think.She was much better in Parineeta. Arshad was the best. But this was much better than all the recent flics like fanaa and kank and all the rest.. the best this year.

    Comment by neha — September 4, 2006 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  2. Why not 4 stars?:) It deserved that.

    Comment by dilip — September 4, 2006 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  3. @neha”I dont think I will be able to watch it again..Mr. India, Sadma, Anand, Chupke Chupke to name a few were among the only ones I saw more than once and yes..Hum dil de chuke sanam.

    @ dilip,
    According to me , cimema as a medium demands a language that transcends mere writing brilliance. The play of lighting, subtleties of shadows and a visually enthralling film deserves 4 Black.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — September 4, 2006 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  4. SRK refused..thank the Lord!!!
    Sunjay Dutt was best suited.,He was tremendous….

    Comment by anonymous — September 5, 2006 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  5. The movie – Absolutely Delightful!
    The review – spot on!
    Only a student of cinema could have given a review as balanced as this.

    Comment by Vikrant — September 5, 2006 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  6. Why thanks Vikrant!

    “Student of cinema”..yes..most definitely. Perhaps you can add another prefix..’lover of cinema’ as well. Good cinema..created with a lust for reaching out to its audience, made with passion, deserves serious viewing. Therefore am choosy about the films I review. So far,only three in six months:)

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — September 5, 2006 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  7. kav:

    abhi daikhi nahiN hay:(

    but thanks for this….will watch it someday!


    Comment by temporal — September 7, 2006 @ 2:01 am | Reply

  8. when feeling down, on one of those ‘bad luck hi kharaab hai days’, watch it Temp.It sure will perk you up:)..I have rarely laughed as much…in a film.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — September 8, 2006 @ 7:40 am | Reply

  9. Munnabhai.. lighthearted, funny and a must see for Indian cinema lovers.
    Your review was pretty accurate.

    Comment by Marina — September 13, 2006 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  10. Pretty accurate..hmmm..thanks Marina.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — September 14, 2006 @ 11:35 pm | Reply

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