Munna(Sanjay Dutt) and Circuit(Arshad Warsi), those lovable goons from the 2003 flick, are back in a new adventure. The beauty of the original was its ability to sieve heart-tugging emotions with laugh-out-loud comedy. Such was the impact and novelty in Munna imparting lessons in humanity to learned doctors who’d forgotten the human factor of their profession, that the movie spawned debates and Hollywood even bought rights to remake it as Gangsta M.D.(a first for a Bollywood flick). Writers Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi retain that essential quality of clean and meaningful comedy, and in fact raise the stakes higher this time by arranging an encounter between Munna and Mahatma Gandhi!
The movie is excellent when it is on the Munna-Gandhi track, but the same cannot be said when it chooses to focus on Munna and Jhanvi. Not only does their love seem rushed, the contrivance that the screenplay falls back on to create tension between the two is very lame, as are the gang of oldies. The forgotten elderly are there as an analogy to Gandhi and his forgotten values, but frankly a very obvious one. The movie works best when it doesn’t try to force anything down your throat. Take for instance the wonderfully written scene where an old man tries to reason with a corrupt government official without losing his temper or getting frustrated but by simply demonstrating his predicament and disrobing himself! Munna’s first visit to Mahatma Gandhi Library(hinted at Mani Bhavan) is underlined by a poignant moment of sadness when the old caretaker almost cries at the sight of a visitor keen to learn about Gandhi. In fact Lage Raho Munna Bhai has lesser moments of hilarity than its predecessor, and more moving ones.
The truth is that the film could have been a lot better. But the honesty of the effort shows and Hirani is able to capture many emotional moments from the film. The film may not have released at many multiplexes in India due to differences between the producer and the multiplex owners, but is bound to take the single screens by storm. Emotional moments like the one where Munna apologises to Arshad Warsi after slapping him, or when Jimmy Shergill who plays a strayed youth returns to the righteous path after hearing Munna on radio hold the film up.
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. 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. 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.
Arshad Warsi is superb. Boman Irani proves yet again that he's an actor with an infinite range. 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. 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. Sanjay Dutt lives the character of Munna. He gets the best of lines and delivers them with relish.
On the whole, LAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI is a sparkling, it is such film that makes you laugh, makes you cry, and also makes you feel good to be a human being.