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<i>Lage Raho Munnabhai</i> - Review

 
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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Munna and Circuit are back! The lovable goons embark on their new adventure with Lage Raho Munnabhai. The first part [Munnabhai M.B.B.S.] was a mesmeric experience and it's indeed a tough task to come up with a worthy sequel/follow-up. Will Lage Raho Munnabhai meet the monumental expectations? Will Munna and Circuit's escapades and antics in Lage Raho Munnabhai supersede the adventures and frolics in Munnabhai M.B.B.S.?

Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani have a tough job on hand and a major responsibility on shoulders. But there's good news... Like its predecessor, Lage Raho Munnabhai is a sparkling example of qualitative cinema. Lage Raho Munnabhai not only entertains, it also enlightens. Lage Raho Munnabhai is forward-thinking, but also makes you recall your roots. It promises lots of laughs and also a heartwarming message.

Director Rajkumar Hirani strikes a fine balance between humor and emotions. The comic portions are executed with panache, the drama is attention-grabbing and the emotional quotient is strong enough to turn you moist-eyed. The marriage of humor and emotions as also technique and content is what drives Lage Raho Munnabhai to the winning post. 

There are movies aplenty, but very few remain etched in your memory and possess recall value. Lage Raho Munnabhai is one of those films. Indisputably and undeniably, this Munna-Circuit outing is worth the price of the ticket and more.

All you want to tell Chopra and Hirani is, Lage raho with the Munna-Circuit series!

Munna [Sanjay Dutt] is in love with the voice of popular Radio Jockey Jhanvi [Vidya Balan]. Her effervescent greeting of 'Good Morrrrning Mumbai' on her daily radio show makes Munna's heart skip a beat each time he listens to her.

Life is beautiful for Munna. His 'dadagiri' business is flourishing and he listens besottedly to the radio for hours every day, he dreams of marrying Jhanvi. There is just one minor problem: Jhanvi thinks Munna is a 'Professor of History'.

And in all her innocence, Jhanvi even invites Munna to give a history lecture to her family. Poor Munna! What should he do?

As Munna tries to sort out this minor entanglement in his otherwise perfect life, Circuit [Arshad Warsi] comes up with a bright solution. And then, the most unusual thing occurs in Munna's life. He comes face to face with Mahatma Gandhi.

Lage Raho Munnabhai is one of the best-constructed, funniest and most clever comedies to grace motion picture screens in recent years. It's pretty evident that Hirani and his team of writers [screenplay-dialogues: Hirani and Abhijat Joshi, screenplay associate: Vidhu Vinod Chopra] have invested ample time on this script. Lage Raho Munnabhai doesn't bear any similarity to any released film [Hindi or Hollywood] and that's such a welcome relief. In fact, the USP of the film are portions between Mahatma Gandhi and Munna, which is a brilliant stroke from the writing as well as execution point of view.

But there are minor aberrations in this otherwise smooth journey. Munna's transition to a radio jockey and playing the role of a counselor seems a little far-fetched. However, one must add that despite this oddity, the sequences between Sanju and Jimmy-Parikshit Sahni and also with Dia Mirza subsequently keep you glued to the screen, not as much for the writing, but due to Hirani's master execution.

Similarly, the focus in the post-interval portions suddenly shifts to the love story between Munna and Jhanvi and you sorely miss the maddening conversation between Munna and Circuit. Again, the romantic portions are well executed, so you don't really mind this glitch.

Hirani's command over humor, drama and emotions is exemplary. Note the sequence when Munna slaps Circuit and tenders an apology after Mahatma Gandhi tells him to; it brings tears to your eyes instantly. The sequences between Munna and Circuit are, of course, the mainstay of the enterprise. Some of the sequences -- Munna readying to participate in the radio-quiz, Munna-Jhanvi's meet in the college campus or Munna-Circuit landing up behind bars -- are hilarious. Moreover, the entire track between the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and Munna is exceptional. To his credit, Hirani treats the second installment of the Munnabhai series with as much flourish as he treated the first.

Shantanu Moitra's music is soothing. 'Samjho Ho Hi Gaya' and 'Bole To Bole Kaisi Hogi Hai... Lage Raho Munna Bhai' are the best tracks, but what elevates the tunes is their picturization. Both the numbers are full of vibrant colors and imaginatively filmed. 'Pal Pal Har Pal' also comes at the right place and even its filming is eye-catching. Cinematography [Muraleedharan C.K.] is first-rate. Dialogues are wonderful and those between Munna-Circuit abound in wit and hilarity.

The characters populating Lage Raho Munnabhai are strongly written and effectively portrayed. Sanjay Dutt lives the character of Munna. He gets the best of lines and delivers them with relish. His is a wonderful, larger-than-life performance and he knows just how to present Munna best. Watching Sanju's tour de force is one of Lage Raho Munnabhai's chief pleasures.

Arshad Warsi is superb. There are very few actors who have an unmatched timing for comic scenes and Arshad ranks prominently in the list. Even a smirk or an exclamation makes you flex your facial muscles. There's no denying that Arshad matches up to Sanju at every level, in every sequence.

Boman Irani proves yet again that he's an actor with an infinite range. He's at crossroads with Munna in the second installment as well; this time he plays the conniving person who wants to usurp a mansion. He's excellent.

Vidya Balan is only getting better with every release. If she was confident in her debut film Parineeta, she acts like a complete pro in her second outing. Also, she looks extremely photogenic in a glam role. Jimmy Shergill has a brief part and he does it well. Ditto for Dia Mirza; she's perfect. Abhishek Bachchan, in a cameo, adds to the star quotient.

Dilip Prabhavalkar [in the role of Mahatma Gandhi] is up to the mark. However, the makeup could've been better. The six senior citizens are lovable, especially the actor enacting the role of a Parsi gentleman. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Parikshit Sahni and Saurabh Shukla are appropriate.

On the whole, Lage Raho Munnabhai is a sparkling follow up to Munnabhai M.B.B.S. Its strength lies not just in Munna and Circuit's chemistry, but also reliving the teachings of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. Qualitatively, it's a worthy sequel and not to be missed and even at the box-office, Lage Raho Munnabhai will march towards the winning post in the next few days.

Topics: munnabhai circuit, munnabhai and circuit
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