Munnabhai carries on

Lage Raho Munnabhai

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, Jimmy Shergill, Diya Mirza and Dilip Prabhavalkar

3.5* / 5*

After the success of Munnabhai MBBS, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani have come together again for the second in the series. Armed with a non-violent screenplay fraught with item numbers and one-liners, they venture into Munna land with Lage Raho Munnabhai.

Munna alias Murli Prasad Sharma (Sanjay Dutt) and his aide Circuit (Arshad Warsi) continue with their comic capers and adventures. Munna falls in love with the vivacious radio jockey Jhanvi (Vidya Balan) who works with Worldspace Radio. (This one’s a well planted in-film brand which doesn’t do much to intrude in the storyline).

Jhanvi trusts Munna when he narrates his story of being a History professor after winning a quiz on Gandhi, thus borrowing the technique to pass the exams from Munnabhai M.B.B.S. But in the process he does meet Mahatma Gandhi in the library who advises him to stick to the truth.

Meanwhile Lucky Singh (Boman Irani), a land shark, wants to take over the old age home run by Jhanvi, which incidentally is also the place that she also calls home. Munna, who befriends the inmates and Jhanvi after giving a History lecture there, takes off to Goa with the inmates for a holiday. Meanwhile Lucky usurps the place. When Munna learns of this, he tries to use force but is unable to defeat Lucky. He then wields Gandhi’s weapon of Satyagraha and protests across Lucky’s house with his angry old men and Jhanvi for company.

But his experiments with truth alienates him from Jhanvi as he tells her the truth about being a goon in real life. However, he gets himself to anchor Jhanvi’s radio show as he has already ensured change through some advice with the aid of Gandhi.

Lucky’s daughter, played by Diya Mirza wants her father to be good and soon realises the truth about him.

In this feel good movie, the question is not whether the old men get back their home. The question is how plausibly it is done.

The in-film placements of some products in the film are not imposed. Even the ICICI feel in the title track (the ad was directed by Chopra) as well as the dialogue Hum Hain Na from Ninad Kamat who plays a lawyer doesn’t look forced.

The feeling that Munnabhai meeting Gandhi could just be a result of his over imagination and hormonal reactions is also well put not expecting the audience to take the Dandy Satyagraha with a pinch of salt.

The emotional moments are rocking in the film… especially when Munna apologises to Circuit after slapping him.

The scene where Victor D’Souza (Jimmy Shergill)realises his folly after hearing Munna’s advise on radio also gives way for the lachrymal to overflow.

But even though the film shows promise, it falters on a few counts.

1) How come an educated girl like Jhanvi believes Munna when he tells her that he speaks like a goon because people only understand that language?

2) How Munna gets to co-host and then host a radio show and whether he gets paid for it or not is left to imagination!

The truth may be bitter at times, but it has to be said. Thanks Gandhiji.

Spoiler: A well known star who has played cameos recently in many films plays the man Diya Mirza is about to marry.

Box office prospects: The film will have a wide initial following the film’s release in all multiplexes and theatres.The fairydust from Munnabhai MBBS will rub on to this one as well. And the aura of Mahatma and Munna will continue luring the audiences in.