Gandhigiri, Lage Raho Munnabhai – will this work?

I have some weird habits. For example – I start counting the number of tiles while seated in a waiting area OR that I don’t throw away empty jars easily and instead arrange them in the kitchen to form a shape. Another such weird habit that I have is that I try to connect with a character in any movie that I watch. But I think the last habit is not really unique and it happens with most other people. Most of us either relate to a character in a movie or have a secret fantasy of being able to play the ‘reel-life’ in the ‘real-life’. I am one of them – though the intensity dies down with every birthday that I celebrate.

That was the reason why ‘Dil Chahta Hai‘ became immensely popular amongst the youths as one could relate their life with one (or more) of Akash, Sameer or Siddhartha. ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge‘ is one of the most liked movie for teenage girls (boys also but I think it’s liked much more by girls) because of the extreme sugar-coated romantic setup. Superman is liked by the kids because they see a character who is powerful, grown-up and yet is more like their ‘friend’ than just another powerful character.

Lage Raho Munnabhai is beautiful because of the same. I, finally, got a chance to watch the movie this long weekend (when everybody else in the world have watched it weeks back) and without doubt it’s a wonderful movie, to say the least. Though I don’t exactly idolize Gandhi, but this movie showed how is it still applicable in today’s scenario and did what other movies on Gandhi could not do. The movie exploits, positively, many sentiments of the movie-goers but there are two that I will want to single out here:

  1. People, in general, are genuine and will do the ‘right things’ unless it forces them to go too much out of the way. So – if there are 2 paths, one right and the other wrong, people will choose the right one. No surprises but ‘Lage Raho…’ tried to show that choosing the right path is, even though, difficult but there are other practical ways which are still better than the ‘wrong’ path.
  2. People connect with the characters of a movie, unless it is out and out fiction. As noted above, many people can connect with MunnaBhai of ‘Lage Raho …’ because most of us have gone through a phase where we have lied and have also acknowledged it later only to find out that speaking truth was the much easier option than spending our energies in hiding that one lie.

Lage Raho Munnabhai helped me make that connection. It showed how Gandhi’s principles can be applied in today’s scenario. It showed, to everybody, that Gandhi was not a ‘boring’ character who was visible only in his Khadi Dhoti, Stick or a Spinning Wheel. It showed that it’s still not un-fashionable to follow Gandhi’s principles. It reinstated our faith in truth. It symbolized hope.

On a related note, there was a poll today in the Times of India asking that given the success of the 2 recent bollywood movies – Rang De Basanti and Lage Raho Munnabhai – who do you idolize more ‘Bhagat Singh’ or ‘Mahatma Gandhi’? Now, that’s a tough choice now. Idolizing Bhagat Singh seems easier as ‘tit for tat’ gives the faster satisfaction, though not the desired end result; while on the other hand, idolizing Gandhi needs one to be that much more patient but higher chances of the desired result. I can’t decide – my heart leans towards Gandhi but my brain says that there are many cases where that won’t work.

14 thoughts on “Gandhigiri, Lage Raho Munnabhai – will this work?

  1. Well, relating with a character of a movie is ok but relating with Gandhi dosen’t seem to the least possible or even desirable. I haven’t seen the movie and the involvment of Gandhain Principles in the movie,as I hear it,even has put a negative effect on me-so much that I don’t want to see it anymore.

    Regarding Bhagat Singh principles of “tit for tat”, that seems desirable coz that’s what happened in the french and american revolutions and they gained freedom in a much shorter time. If we had more like Bhagat Singh then I think that we ould have got independence some 20 years earlier to what we had. And according to history(not what we read in school) Gandhi had many -ve points as well which is normally not pointed out.

  2. A film is supposed to entertain a stressed mind or to invoke some thoughts to a person with intellectual powers. But a film based on all this and same time evoking the morals to a dusted subject (Gadhiwadi) in a much more contemporary manner (gandhigiri) would be much more practical.
    Where Rang de basanti was based on harsh and instant movements, Lage raho is more focused on fruit of patience that our generation is depriving under the time pressure.

  3. Siddhartha – I can only say – don’t miss the movie. You will like it :-)

    Paavani – right on! Agree with you.

    Kishor – how will you get a combo? The problem will be what principles to follow at what time and then there is a possibility of imbalance.

  4. well..ashish,i wd like to congrats u first, for brilliant brainstorming on Gandhiji .Really he was more than a Common man who had great kind of leadership quality and obviously could mobilize millions of people towards freedom struggle in a unique way.I hav really great respect for that bt what really heart me while watching Lage..rahoo…. , that since freedom we always try to promote Gandhiji and his value as a brand in India and abroad..and always show positive things abt his traits bt,do really he deserve that? He was a great leader of that time(no doubt) and personally I feel that,had he been tried honestly,India wd nt hav divided into pieces, more than that we have lost life of more than thousands of people and millions became homeless during the patrician. Had he been alive today I wd have asked him this simple question that, being a great leader of that time,who is responsible for the countless agony and disaster? And if he has even some share of it can he be gr8?and why should any one have faith in Gandhigiri?why not in Bhagat singh and Subash Chandra bosh?

  5. I have a cousin who is a college student and not at all willing to even look at the positive sides of Gandhi. When he came back after watching the movie, he was very positive towards the movie and Gandhian principles. His feedback was that this movie was not just another boring thing about Gandhi, but it showed in an entertaining way how his principles can be applied in the modern context and thought it was really nice. I feel this is the reason why this movie has become popular even among the youth and I agree with you on this.

  6. Rajeev – I didn’t know about ilaaka. It’s an interesting site and will consider writing up on the same as I get a chance to play with it a little more. Any written information that you can provide on the same will help me there.

    Raj – I hear what you said. From what I have gathered and read – I do agree that there were some ‘mistakes’ (deliberate or not) that Gandhiji made because of which both the countries India and Pakistan suffered. So, yes, he wasn’t God really :-) But does that stop us from calling him ‘great’ as well – I am not sure.

    Seema – yep, I agree. Gandhism was a yesteryears concept but the way they made it practical and stressed on the word ‘Gandhigiri’ was phenomenal. It’s a good movie – not sure how much impact will it have after the first couple of months, though. But I know that we had a discussion in our office as to how Gandhigiri can be applied in our office :-)

  7. Munna bhai is popular not just because of gandhiri funda. It has good comedy, good music and direction.

    I am not sure how far is gandhirigi valid today. Even though I would like to believe in it, I cannt say it would succed in today’s world

  8. Well said that it has made people awaken about Gandhigiri. I beleive that every path has its won pros and cons….and walking on a single path might not give you the results always….Bhagat Sing role play was small in getting us the freedom but it was an imp role which we cannot forget and that has helped us all in getting the Independance some way or the other…..

    So lets not just take one idea but have lots of idea and keep working….some idea will work someway and some will work the other way

  9. Philosphies change from time to time and also fromplaces to place.They depend upon the condition of the society.Similarly, the philosphies of gandhiji were applicable in the bygone era but not in the current scenario.

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