Lage Raho Munnabhai, the newest film to hit the theatres is an absolute treat to watch. It's funny, it has a good story and makes us think about the Mahatma.
After Rang De Basanti, this is another movie this year that has a social message. RDB was more patriotic, LRM is more social and moral. But it doesn't preach. It's funny, while getting across some of the principles the Mahatma stood for. It's completely different from Munnabhai MBBS, where the duo of Munna (Murli Prasad Sharma) and Circuit made their debut. Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi have excellent timing and dialogue delivery, keeping their chemistry from the first outing intact.
'Mamu' Boman Irani has a short role, and he acts well. Vidya Balan is the new face, playing the female lead. She plays an RJ. The current radio boom is apparent as this is one more movie where RJs are shown and talked about. She does a good job of the role that she plays.
The theme in a nutshell is: Munna's obsessed with the voice he listens to daily on his radio. Come Gandhi Jayanti, he gets a chance to be part of the show and meet the lady behind the voice if he answers ten questions related to the Mahatma. No wonder he makes it through. Munnabhai then fakes himself to be a professor and then takes up reading all about Gandhiji as he promises to deliver a lecture to a few people on the Mahatma. He then starts seeing visions of the Mahatma, as he goes on to follow the path he shows him, following the principles of Satya (truth) and Ahimsa (non-violence).
I think this is a very well-made movie in all respects. After Lagaan, I found RDB came close. This one also scores in all the departments. The dialogues, camerawork, choreography, music, singing, acting, timing, direction, everything's excellent.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra replaces Anu Malik, the composer for Munnabhai MBBS, with Shantanu Moitra (of Parineeta fame). Add Sonu Nigam's voice and what you get is very good music, very soothing to the ears. I like 'Pal pal pal...' the most, which has Shreya Ghoshal's sweet voice alongwith Sonu.
Shantanu Moitra seems to understand music well. His style seems to be inspired from old English classicals, very operatic tunes. 'Bande mein tha dum' keeps playing very frequently in the background; only Sonu can create magic with his vocals for such a song. It's blended extremely well with the background score.
The director, Rajiv Hirani, has me impressed. He's not only taken on a bold subject, but done complete justice to it. He's presented a message in a humorous setting. He's created humour in non-obvious places -- like the ringtones for Circuit's and Lucky's characters -- without being loud and crass. It's genuine humour and generates laughs.
Overall, I really liked this movie and recommend everyone to see it. Rajiv Hirani has handled a sensitive subject quite well, without going overboard on the humour or the lessons. It gets across its message in a very fresh format.
Will be tuned to his future releases. Vidhu Vindo Chopra seems to be doing good in the producer's seat, and would love to see him sit there for some time now.