Phir Hera Pheri (2006) and Krrish (2006) were more successful follow-ups to their predecessors Hera Pheri (2000) and Koi ... Mil Gaya (2003) respectively, but in terms of content they fell short.
With Lage Raho Munnabhai, director Rajkumar Hirani and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra have delivered the first worthy successor to an original Hindi film, in this case Munnabhai MBBS (2003). The film is not a sequel but a new set of escapades in the lives of Munna (Sanjay Dutt) and Circuit (Arshad Warsi).
Therefore, a lot of thinking has gone into writing this screenplay and the outcome is outstanding. Just like the original, Lage Raho Munnabhai delivers clean humour, excellent one-liners, touching moments and a message without any loud preaching.
Local goon Munna flips over the voice of popular Radio Jockey Jhanvi (Vidya Balan). To impress Jhanvi, Munna pretends to be a history professor and promises to give a lecture on Mahatma Gandhi.
Munna's sidekick Circuit advises him to read all the books on Gandhi to improve his knowledge. In the process Munna comes face to face with Gandhi's illusion, leading to a lot of hilarious situations. Meanwhile, Lucky Singh (Boman Irani) tries to usurp a bungalow occupied by aged people and run by Jhanvi.
Munna's life becomes associated with Jhanvi and the aged people. It also puts him at loggerheads with Lucky. Munna gives up his gangster lifestyle and starts to follow the advice of Gandhi by adopting the path of truth and non-violence.
If the sequences between Munna and Circuit bring the house down, the part between Munna and Gandhi results in a lot of soul searching but the smiles go all around. Kudos to Hirani for coming up with a clever screenplay filled with dollops of humour, drama, emotion and moral values. Dutt was born to play Munna and he simply lives the character. His depiction of a goon with a golden heart is easily the best in Hindi films. Warsi's performance is par excellence. His wisecracks and antics as Circuit are sure to win your hearts.
Balan looks gorgeous in the film and gives glimpses of her immense talent. Irani is excellent and proves he can fit into any character. Jimmy Shergill once again has a small but good role. Diya Mirza as Lucky's daughter leaves her mark. Dilip Prabhavalkar as Gandhi has a positive impact but could have done with better makeup. Abhishek Bachchan adds to the glamour quotient.
Shantanu Moitra's music and songs add to the narration of the film. The track Samjho Ho Hi Gaya and Aane Char Aane have been picturised brilliantly and are a delight to watch. The film's mainstay however, are the dialogues; they are simply brilliant.
This is a rare, original gem. I hope the makers of the film continue with the Munna-Circuit series. Watch this film and for all you know, you may just stop lying and end up speaking the truth.
Critic's Warning: None. Watch it with your family.