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:
- 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.
- 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.