Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Once more, Munnabhai

What a brilliant, funny, touching, complete film this is to be sure! I watched it this weekend, late enough not to feel that I should do a full analysis that does justice to its utter brilliance, but I can only say that half-way through the film I was pumping my fists in the air and exclaiming how this is SUCH a slap in the face of all those directors who've been making silly and mediocre films for the last half century because 'the audience demands it' and because 'we can't make art films, who would watch them?'

I am glad to report that Hindi cinema has finally caught on to the fact that you can turn out a well-made, stylish, tight and totally absorbing film staying right within the limits of your genre. So DCH and Bluffmaster did it as well, but neither of these (and these are just two out of the top of my mind) had the universal appeal of a Lage Raho Munnabhai. [Digression: One point in favour of watching films at Rex as opposed to PVR: people clap, cheer and whistle and you can join right in.]

Only jarring note in the film: Vidya Balan's simpers and smiles (the woman is an Aishwarya Rai in the making). And her 'Good Moooorrrrning Mumbai' that made me feel intensely uncomfortable and extremely sorry for people in Bombay because I suspect that all radio jockeys in the city will now imitate her and imagine waking up to that day after day...

I suspect the likes of Subhash Ghai have already stopped churning out their half-baked melodramas out of sheer insecurity and this should keep them halted for another half century or so. Amen.

P.S. I was eager to see how they would explain away the last film's ending. In spite of Hirani's claims that this was a completely new film with just the same lead characters, I was a bit sceptical about how the audience would react to seeing Munnabhai single again and wooing another woman etc. Needless to say, what they've done is the only way it could have been done, underscoring the core of thought behind this zany caper of a film. Using those two lines from the previous film's hit song Mamu (Ek kahani khatam to dooji shuru ho gayi mamu) was a stroke of genius, I say.

14 Comments:

At September 12, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Jabberwock said...

Ditto about Vidya Balan. I thought she had great promise after Parineeta but unless she finds more challenging roles (and a director who motivates her to do them like an actress rather than a Colgate model), she'll spend her career looking self-consciously pretty. (She brushed her hair back 47 times during the course of the film - I was counting.)

Great film though, will try to see it again soon. I can write long hymns in praise of Arshad Warsi - can't recall the last time I saw such a well-sketched character portrayal in a mainstream Hindi film.

P.S. Don't worry, radio jockeys have hit rock bottom already - can't go any further.

 
At September 13, 2006 9:12 AM, Blogger Shreemoyee said...

Should wait for Eklavya before writing off Ms Balan. Arshad Warsi has great comic timing. Guess we are in for a series.

 
At September 13, 2006 6:30 PM, Blogger the cowlick said...

I think the dialogue etched in my memory for life is: "Ballu is thear?" That man is a genius!

 
At September 13, 2006 7:17 PM, Blogger 30in2005 said...

I'm not commenting on this post but instead on the one about KANK ( as I was not sure if you go back and check for new comments/ get them in the email).

Autumn swishing leaves in New York you may be spared from till Karan Johar brings out his next big film. Meanwhile sorry but we will probably have to endure SRK with outstretched arms on some bridge (Malaysia me thinks) in the upcoming Don where he will ham his way through the remake of an epic.

 
At September 13, 2006 7:17 PM, Blogger 30in2005 said...

Oh, and I oved the second Munnabhai more than teh first and am quite glad it was not a sequel type story but a brand new beginning. And Arshad Warsi's comic timing is super!

 
At September 14, 2006 12:14 AM, Blogger N said...

Really looking forward to seeing it this weekend after reading your take on it.

 
At September 14, 2006 10:51 AM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

Jabberwock: HAve bashed Ms B some more on your blog, but I think we are the only two life-members of Stop Vidya Balan From Smiling Society.

Shreemoye: Hmm, Eklavya. And i'm not writing her off, just that I think she needs to work on the self-consciousness factor in her work.

Cowlick: :) I kept flashbacking to that too. Another of my favourites: Circuit after Batuk Maharaj has fainted at his feet: "Chal uth tere ko sorry bolna hai." Too much only. A re-watch is needed to fully appreciate all the Circuit one-liners.

30in2005: I check all last 10 posts obsessively for comments, so no hassle.

Yes, we've definitely not seen the last of that, more's the pity. And I liked the second one better too. It was a much more difficult script and idea to pull off, and that so gracefully.

N: Please do. Completely unmissable film.

 
At September 14, 2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Sheetal said...

Agree about Vidya Balan. Smiles too much. I don't know why I must compare, but Gracy Singh I found much warmer and sweeter.

 
At September 14, 2006 5:40 PM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

Sheetal: Where have you been my dear? And yes, she's more 'natural' if nothing else. Also she's not trying to look pretty all the time.

 
At September 14, 2006 5:47 PM, Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Oy, stop shirking. Write a full review.

And kindly note that I am third member of "The-hell-with-Vidya-Balan" Club.

J.A.P.

 
At September 15, 2006 5:48 PM, Blogger udayan said...

Hey ! Bang on with your analysis on Lage Raho and Vidya B. Only small crib I had with the movie was that music sucked a little compared to the first one. People were expecting great things from Shantanu Moitra also after Parineeta and Yahaan.

Otherwise the movie was as perfect as it can be. And compared to this, the first movie looks like it has been shot on a shoestring budget.

You won't believe this, but we were having a party at a colleague's place just before the release where the upper two stories are occupied by VVC!! The security guard came and complained twice about our loud conversations because "Saab kam kar rahe hai !". We of course, didn't give a damn. Now after watching this movie, think we would maintain a stony silence in that general vicinity out of respect !

 
At September 19, 2006 8:55 PM, Blogger MellowDrama said...

Want to see it but i live in Vizag and chances are the damn thing will get released here in TELUGU.arrrgh

 
At September 20, 2006 2:07 PM, Blogger Reeta Skeeter said...

lovely movie... watched it twice... me... btw I hv also solemnly sworn to be upto no good :p love HP!!

 
At September 20, 2006 5:28 PM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

JAP: What, like how you did yours?

Udayan: Err, it took me so long to reply to your comment because I read 'VVC' as 'W-C' and was wondering who that could be. And yes, I've always liked VVC's work except when he made a dud called Kareeb.

Mellowdrama: You can watch the Telegu remake. It'll come along soon I'm sure.

Reeta: Second viewing coming up for me too.

 

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