Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thy Experiments With Gandhi

No other Indian movie in recent history has attracted so many editorials and serious articles. No other Indian movie in recent history has made the nation sit back and reflect on the relevance of the ideals preached by the 'Father of the Nation' in the 21st Century. No other movie in the recent past has managed to mix comedy with a social message with such success. Lage Raho Munnabhai(LRM) is undoubtedly a landmark in the history of Modern Indian Cinema.

So, how relevant is M.K.G. in the world of S.R.K. ? How relevant is ‘Swadeshi’ in the century of Globalization? How relevant is the focus on Cottage Industries in the era of Industrialization? How relevant are ideals on Celibacy and Austerity in the world of blatant Materialism? Not much really.
But as with the preachings of any great leader, some of Gandhi’s ideals remain contemporary even in this day and age. Lines like “Be the change you want to see in the world”, and “The most important battle to fight is overcoming ones own demons, fears and insecurities” will remain as useful in 2020, as they were in 1920. LRM has remixed Gandhism in an unprecedented manner.

A part of the film’s appeal also lies in the oxymoronic identity of the lead character. A funny-rogue, who leaves his core-competence to follow a non-violent path, is just the kind of character-contrast film-buffs would love. A humorous ghost, a benevolent step-mother, and a polite police-officer are some other oxymorons which might click in Bollywood.

Bollywood seems to have woken up to the commercial potential of sequels in a big way this season. Sequels and remakes can get a head-start over other films, by piggy backing on the success of their originals. But very few people today remember that the first Bollywood sequel, ‘Nigahen’ (starring Sridevi, Sunny Deol and Anupam Kher) was made in the late 80’s. It was the 2nd part of the hit ‘Nag-Nagin’ drama ‘Nagina’ (starring Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor and Amrish Puri). Perhaps the fact that ‘Nigahen’ sank without a trace at the Box Office, deterred hindi film makers from joining the sequel bandwagon for almost 2 decades.

Even in Hollywood, where sequels are more of a norm than an exception, only 2 sequels, Godfather-II and Terminator-II, have been regarded as better than the originals. In this regard, Bollywood seems to have started better, with ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ and ‘Krrish’ outdoing their predecessors.

Irony of the season:-
One of the accused for the Mumbai Bomb Blast’93 plays a disciple of the Mahatma in LRM.

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