Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Truly, Lage Raho Munnabhai!

The below is a personal account of the events that unfolded on the 5th of September, 2006, which includes the Prelude, the Movie and its Review and an Epilogue.
Any resemblance to the living/dead is strictly NON-Coincidental. To my buddies, who have been parodied in the below post without their permissions, I have only my hypocritic apologies to offer. :P

Main Characters (Strictly in order of importance :P):
Sarvesh Kalkar
Srikant "Chindi" Raghavan
Dhanesh Gandhi
Vishal Prasad
Hariprasad Kumar
Ashwath Rajan

Setting the Stage:
With great difficulty and reluctance, I opened my eyes at 7.30am IST, with the help of the hysterical scoldings of an irate mother and the weary rantings of a disillusioned father. :P .... With greater reluctance I dragged myself to college. And when Ashwath mentioned the idea of watching the 1.00pm show of "Lage Raho Munnabhai" at CinePlanet, Sion, at the cost of bunking classes, I showed such enthusiasm that it belied any reluctance previously exhibited. The problem was that unlike myself and Ashwath, others in the group did not exhibit the same non-chalant and "dont give a damn" attitude towards such trivial issues like attendance (sigh!). Finally, after much dilly-dallying and pooh-poohing, the other characters were convinced that the mission was indeed worth the risk. :P

The Prelude:
So off we set to Sion, the melting-pot of central Mumbai, in an S.T. bus which ironically seemed to be the smelling pot of Navi Mumbai. :P .... We reached Cine Planet at 12.35pm IST, well before the show began and bought the tickets. Having got some time on hand and lots of tiffins and even more hungry gluttons around, we proceeded to decimate each other's tiffin boxes - all this within the external premises of the Multiplex, while in front of the good, the bad and the super-gud-items! :P .... We then went inside the premises where, after a quick visit to the loo (which happens to be a gr8 place for soul-searching :P), we - you guessed it right - proceeded to gorge on more delectables :P
Finally, we were seated in our seats, only to see ads of Gangar Opticians flash repeatedly as we heard in the background, the repeated playing of the (irritating) title song of a soon-to-be launched K-serial! Oh no! Not another one! If the title-song was anything to go by, this will be a new low set by Ekta Kapoor and her demented set of "writers" :P
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (within which I exhausted my Cup-Corn and my Coke was ravaged by all but me), the Censor Board certificate flashed and the SHOW finally BEGAN!!

In between the show, however, it was brought to our notice by the usherer that one of us must be seated in the row behind (immediately behind my seat). Obviously, each person was reluctant to depart such esteemed company! :P .... However, we noticed immediately the presence of a rather attractive bird, which certainly seemed more desirable than the prospect of Masculine company! :P .... Seeing this, Mahesh was courageous enough to offer to take the seat behind. Hardly a few seconds had passed, when the usherer profusely apologized and notified Shri Mahesh to leave the bride-groom's throne and return to his previous seat! :P .... Mahesh, ofcourse was very bitter and disappointed, so much so that, in a style typical to his, he chose to express his anger in a rather profound string of never-before-heard expletives! :P .... That he would continue this practice throughout the day (and perhaps for the rest of his life :P) is no secret.

The Movie and The Review:

Show-Stopper! He's THE Man!

I will keep this one short, coz I am sure that each one of you must either have watched it or must be in the process of concretizing the plans. Such is the power and pull of this franchise and deservingly so.

The Movie starts off with that (in)famous song - "Subah ho gayi Mamu!" and a gag that will leave you laughing your arses off. As usual, Arshad Warsi as Circuit steals the show with his wisecracks that range from the silly to the absurd, but never fails to tickle the funny bone. It then proceeds to slowly unravel both the characters and the plot and switches from one gag to another, from one subplot to another with great ease.

The casting is just spot-on.:P .... Boman Irani as the evil-Builder/doting father delivers another great performance. Dia Mirza and Jimmy Shergill have their bits and essay it with conviction. The oldies group also does its bit with some fine ensemble acting. Sanjay Dutt as Munnabhai is just sublime - his interactions with "Gandhi" are very nicely done. The actor who essays the role of "Gandhi" has delivered a rock-solid performance. But, the one man who steals the show completely is Warsi as Circuit. I hope Mr. Hirani writes many more scripts centering around this great caricature of a gangster's goofy chamcha!

Vidya Balan is ofcourse just a whiff of fresh air, amidst the tanned/exposed and hyped up set of actresses - she blends perfectly into the role and besides, its a great visual treat to see her on screen. However, the one thing that she does wrong is the "Good Mooooorrrrrning Mumbai!" - The phrase is repeated so often and with such an annoying intonation, that you wish to personally throttle Miss Balan (although thats a vey bad idea :P)!

While the 1st half delivers most of the rib-ticklers, the 2nd half has its share of funny moments, although they are far and few. There are many high-points in the movie, so many so that its difficult to pin-point any one. The 2nd half of the movie admittedly becomes too saccharine and sentimental - at times, the situation is dramatized to such an extent, that it becomes a superficial and forced attempt to elicit teary responses from the audience. In that sense, the movie could have done away with less melodrama and a more mature view of the situation.

Another small point that must be made with regards to the melodrama is the annoying practice of showing flashes of either smiling/weeping faces, which accompanies each of Munna's accomplishments. In the 1st movie, they had wide-eyed, smiling nurses and weeping sweepers/ward-boys in the background - thats okay (by okay I mean tolerable). But here, Mr. Hirani employs the services of Barbers and customers at the Barber's, Police Inspectors and regular people - and strangely all the faces were masculine. Mr. Hirani, a feminine face is far more astute at portraying emotions - its not Rocket Science to get that. Atleast the nurses were decent and visually pleasing. Whats with the Masculine attraction, Mr. Hirani?

Where the movie delivers, however, is the perfect blend of Gandhian values, Patriotism and a modern-day India which thrives on individualism. It doesnt overload viewers with a barrage of statistical information or documentary style detached narration or "preachy" dialogues. What it uses is :
kick-ass street-smartness + wisecracks by Circuit and Munna + Gandhi's Teachings + Patriotism
And this results in both 'paisa-vasool' entertainment and also ensures that you leave the theatre with a renewed sense of hope and vigour to your bit for your country. True, that this brand of pop-partiotism and wisecracking-Gandhism is hardly a concrete solution to India's problems, but what the heck! You certainly wanna believe badly that the solution could be a gun-toting Munnabhai and his knife-toting sidekick Circuit.

Bottom-Line: This is NOT as humourous as the 1st movie - it doesnt pretend to be either. What it is though is pure family entertainment at its best. After a long long long time, Bollywood has produced a movie without Raakhi Saawant and item numbers, without crunching explosions and 3rd rate special effects, without borrowed Hollywood/Japanese/Korean scripts. This movie is sweet, innocent and pure, yet street-smart and total dhamaal. Go and watch it with your friends and/or family - this is one movie that everyone can enjoy! Kudos to Mr. Hirani and his team! They have stopped making movies like these!
(Yea, I know, I promised to make it short :P)

After the credits started rolling, we all made our way rather silently out of the Multiplex, each perhaps thinking about Gandhi-Giri :P
Then, Shrikant suddenly purported to see Mahatma Gandhi - he then revealed that it was Dhanesh Gandhi whom he was seeing! :P .... After many more such witless wisecracking, we made our way to Gurukripa, where the paapi pet was fed some more.
Finally, we sauntered our way home, each choosing his own mode of transportation, each knowing that any "Gandhi-Giri" on Mumbai's buses/locals will result in instantaneous death. :P
And so, I conclude an epic event that unfolded on this day, which left us all heavier in the abdomen, lighter in the wallet and thoughtful in our minds. :P

Until some more nonsensical string of words can be formed by this Turing Machine, bbye! :P

Some Links:
LRM Priemere Pictures


Kunal said...

really nice review...looks like u guys had a good time..n thanks for not revealing the plot...i shall be making plans soon..

Rajiv Iyer said...

@Kunal - thx a lot .... am glad it helped u make a choice .... keep visiting! :D

Anonymous said...

hey man........it seems that ur taking ur job of an "EDITOR" very seriously.............god keep "IT" up............

Anonymous said...

.......... i mean 'GOOD keep "IT" up......please edit that..........

Anonymous said...

by the way i am sarvesh.........

sarvesh said...

raghupati raghav raja ram........

Rajiv Iyer said...

@Sarvesh - thx 4 visiting and yea, intend to take my post of "editor" very seriously indeed! :D

Janardhan said...

Bravo!!gr8 posting!!!

Hari K said...

mindblowing blog.... i luved the way u described Miss.Balan :-p and her pic is awesome ... nice work.... keep it up

Rajiv Iyer said...

@HPK, atlast u got thru to my blog! :P .... thx a lot 4 visiting :D

nandu said...

awesome post yaar...well described...mahesh ka sochega toh hassi aata hai...also,i agree,circuit ka role is the key to the success of the movie.

Rajiv Iyer said...

@Nandu - yea, Mahesh ka sochega toh hassi aata hai - just imagine if u were present on-spot - bahut timepass kiya yaar! a hell of a lot of fun! :D .... keep visiting!

Anonymous said...

excellent work.
i liked ur description about mahesh,vidya balan.
by the way i am mahesh

Rajiv Iyer said...

@Mahesh - use "other" while commenting .... nyways, thx 4 visiting .... as far as ur description goes, hav just written the truth :P .... no offense :P