I watched Lage Raho Munnabhai last saturday. Now we see that this movie had a huge baggage on two counts
1. The reputation of Munnabhai MBBS
2. The reputation this movie itself had developed with everyone who'd seen it.
So I was going with quite lofty expectations. The movie was scheduled at 2:30 pm. We reached the mall quite early by 1:30 pm. For lunch, we had this amazing hybrid of Dosa and Russian Salad - Salad Dosa Roast or something. There still was a lot of time left. The mall didnt have much to offer. I was roaming around desperately searching for something to do. I found a LAN games parlour. People were playing on computers connected to a network. I got in and saw the kind of games they play these days. Needless to say I was impressed. They were playing some sort of adventure game. The setting is of a busy city and the objective is to reach a predefined point. You go about it using any means possible. You can choose to run. Or you can use any car provided its not locked (yes I mean stealing). You can kick the passing biker and 'borrow' his bike. In fact you can do almost anything. I was watching as one player was driving a car and was being closely pursued by the police. He crashed his car and gets out. The police officer too gets out and is about to arrest him. Amazingly and to my utter amusement, our hero actually kicks the police officer and now 'borrows' the police car instead. There is such beauty in violence!
Before I knew it, it was time for the movie and I had forgotten everything about the baggage it carried. I felt relieved - now it was just the movie - no unnecessary baggage. The movie began with the usual light hearted easy going atmosphere that is reminiscent of Munnabhai MBBS. You may not laugh out loud at each and every other joke. But there is always a smile. The innocence around could'nt be disturbed even by the villainous seeming Lucky Singh (Boman Irani). As everyone seems to be saying, the movie does give a lot to think about without being preachy. But there is a disconnect here. While my heart is going all gaga over how the movie made me feel, my mind points out how the director has exploited some pre-existing thoughts in me to make me like what I see. I like it because I relate to the film and not because it is something exceptional, or some great masterpiece crafted with immense dedication and care. It is rather a simple story of a few people trapped in this dog eat dog world who discover the master solution to all their problems.
As I mule over it again, I get doubts of whether there really is any disconnect. Isnt identifying what I would relate to itself a masterpiece in itself? What are works of art really? Someone creates a piece as an expression of his/her inner feelings. People look/hear/feel/read the piece of art and are able to appreciate those inner feelings. The piece makes them feel certain emotions that may or may not be intended by the artist. What, however is most important is that the people relate to the art in some way or the other. People dont like art per se. People like how that art makes them feel.
In that sense Lage Raho Munnabhai is a grand success. The comedy is not exceptional, the story isnt that great, but somehow the whole package seems to have a sense of completeness in it. I laugh, I cry, I get angry, I hate, I get frustrated, I feel hurt, I ponder, I like and I love. The movie brings each of these feelings out. In the end you are filled with an deep sense of satisfaction and also a feeling of love towards everyone and everything. If there was one word I would need to describe that emotion, it would be "peace".
In the rush while coming out of the hall, a guy stamped my foot. Normally I would get at least a bit annoyed and would look at him with anger. But not that day. Nevertheless he was profuse in his apologies. I actually felt the love for him, gave him a smile and told him not to bother.
Thank you for filling me with positive thoughts at least on that day.
Peace is not glamorous. But I can't help loving it.