Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Boman Irani, Diya Mirza, Jimmy Shergill & Dilip Prabhawalkar
Director: Raju Hirani
Sequels have become a trend in Bollywood. Before this year, sequels have not been successful in Bollywood. Many producers this year have decided to go against the curse and bank on sequels to largely popular films. So far, it has been looking good as the producers have been reaping the benefits. The year is not over, and there is more to come for sure. The main problem with sequels is, can the live up to the original and actually be a better film? Lage Raho Munnabhai faced a similar task as it is a sequel to the blockbuster Munnabhai M.B.B.S. Trying to outdo such a movie is definitely no easy feat. Munna and Circuit sure had a tough task ahead of them. But now that the movie has finally come and the initial euphoria has kicked in, we can finally ask the question is it a worthy sequel to the original? More importantly, is it better than the original? Well I can overwhelmingly say ‘yes’ to both questions! Lage Raho Munnabhai is one of the finest works to come out from Bollywood this year. This is surely one movie that is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face once you exit the movie theater. Now this might be a sequel to MBBS, but it is not a continuation of that film. They bring back the central characters of Munna and Circuit and put them in a totally different situation. While most of the previous actors from the original were brought back, they are playing different characters this time. Now if this was a continuation of the first film, then I believe there would have been a chance of the movie faltering because of all the expectations that would have surrounded. Now granted, this movie was big on hype and expectations, but because people did not know what to expect this time around, it lacked the hype and hoopla other sequels have been creating. What makes this film such a joy to watch is its novel concept. We have never seen something like this in Bollywood that is for sure. This is something no sequel can say because as we all know, there is nothing original about sequels. Munnabhai can easily be heralded as the best sequel of all time, let alone this year.
Much credit must go to the captain of the ship, Raju Hirani. Here is a man who is only two films old, but has proved his mettle in both films. He has only directed the two films in the Munnabhai series, but it’s not like we’re complaining. The man has given us an instant classic with the original and now he goes ahead and delivers yet another one. What else can we expect from a man who has been trained by one of the best, namely Vidhu Vinod Chopra? Anyone who has been mentored by him has gone on to be rather successful. Raju Hirani is just one of many. Hirani, along with Abhijit Joshi, have written the brilliant screenplay for the film. I believe Hirani deserves more credit for his writing than his directing, as he dishes out a completely original and innovative screenplay. It is full of great dialogues, whether it is to make the people laugh or cry. What impressed me the most was his handling of both the humorous, as well as, the emotional quotients of the film with such ease. Usually, when a film consists of both parts, it hurts the film as it’s tough for people to go from viewing one type of film to another. Hirani does an outstanding job making the transition from humor to drama. Not once do you feel the narrative has changed. It just feels like one smooth ride with no hiccups at all. Here is hoping Raju Hirani gets the opportunity to direct films outside of the Munnabhai series as he truly does have the talent to make wonderful films. He should not be limited to only this series because he is an amazing storyteller, who I am sure he has more stories to tell us other than Munna and Circuit’s escapades. With a man like Vidhu Vinod Chopra backing him, I am sure it will not be difficult for him to get his opportunities. In my book, his success ratio is still at a hundred percent.
The music of the film, as a whole, is strictly average. Shantanu Moitra, who gave the brilliant music of Parineeta, is not on par this time. This is expected though, as this movie was expected to have chartbusting music. The songs are good to listen to as you watch them on screen. In other words these are situational tracks. Not really songs you can put on the CD and actually listen to and enjoy them. But rather songs that you enjoy as you watch the pictuization of them. The best of the lot are Lage Raho Munnabhai, Pal Pal Har Pal, and Samjho Ho Hi Gaya. Lage Raho Munnabhai and Samjho Ho Hi Gaya are tracks you enjoy while watching the movie, while Pal Pal Har Pal is a song that has nice melody and can be appreciated nonetheless. Whatever may be the case, the movie’s music is best appreciated while watching them in the movie, nothing more.
The performances in the film are wonderful and definitely do not disappoint at all. Sanjay Dutt, as expected, gives a brilliant performance. If you saw his performance in the first film, you would know that he would deliver nothing but the best in the sequel. That is exactly what he did. He proves yet again why he is one of the best and most consistent actors in Bollywood. He makes you laugh, he makes you cry, and he makes you feel for him. Sanjay Dutt IS Munnabhai. There can be nobody who can play the role with as much ?lan as Baba can. This is the role he will forever be remembered for. Lage Raho Sanju Baba!
Arshad Warsi delivers a dynamite performance. Just as expected with Sanjay with Munna, Arshad was also expected to deliver the goods as Circuit because of the past movie. He might have outdone himself and given his best performance to date. He clearly has the best lines and scenes in the film. It is great to see him and Sanjay together, as they have outstanding chemistry. The scenes they share together are absolutely unforgettable. It’s too bad the romantic quotient of the film had to sideline Arshad in some parts because he truly was the show stealer in this one. One clearly wanted more Circuit in this one. Nonetheless, what we got was amazing.
Vidya Balan as Munna’s love interest Jhanvi delivers a solid, controlled performance. Now you clearly cannot expect another Parineeta here as she does not get the scope she got in that film. But still it is hard to believe she is only two films old because her performances are so natural. Her time is surely coming and it will not be too long until she wears the crown in the industry.
Boman Irani is where he is today because of the wacky doctor he played in MBBS. This time around he plays a wacky Punjabi known as Lucky Singh. Whether he’s a doctor or a greedy Punjabi, he still delivers the goods. He plays the negative character in the film, just like the original, but obviously not a villain. He is truly a gifted actor and proves it yet again in this film. He delivers loads of laughs as well.
Jimmy Shergill and Diya Mirza don’t have big roles. As a matter of fact, they are special appearances. They do well with what they have. One just hopes an actor the caliber of Jimmy Shergill gets better opportunities because he clearly deserves it. Diya has the looks, but her acting does not match up.
Last, but not least, the hero of the film has to be Dilip Prabhawalkar as the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He gives a wonderful performance as Gandhiji. It makes you feel as if you really are watching Gandhi on screen reciting his principles to Munna. He was a delight to watch and will definitely put a smile to the face of all Indians.
Lage Raho Munnabhai accomplished what no other sequel has yet to do: it outdid the original. For the first time we have a sequel that is actually better than the original. That easily makes this one of the best movies of the year. It does not fail in any departments whatsoever. It meshes the comedy and drama perfectly and leaves a smile in your face when it is all said and done. This movie is a winner all the way and on its way to becoming a classic. Do not give this one a miss. Watch it as soon as possible, or you will truly regret it. Hats off to the entire team of Lage Raho Munnabhai. Take a bow because you deserve it. All I can say is Lage Raho entire team of Munnabhai! We wait with much anticipation for the next one.!