Once more, Munnabhai
What a brilliant, funny, touching, complete film this is to be sure! I watched it this weekend, late enough not to feel that I should do a full analysis that does justice to its utter brilliance, but I can only say that half-way through the film I was pumping my fists in the air and exclaiming how this is SUCH a slap in the face of all those directors who've been making silly and mediocre films for the last half century because 'the audience demands it' and because 'we can't make art films, who would watch them?'
I am glad to report that Hindi cinema has finally caught on to the fact that you can turn out a well-made, stylish, tight and totally absorbing film staying right within the limits of your genre. So DCH and Bluffmaster did it as well, but neither of these (and these are just two out of the top of my mind) had the universal appeal of a Lage Raho Munnabhai. [Digression: One point in favour of watching films at Rex as opposed to PVR: people clap, cheer and whistle and you can join right in.]
Only jarring note in the film: Vidya Balan's simpers and smiles (the woman is an Aishwarya Rai in the making). And her 'Good Moooorrrrning Mumbai' that made me feel intensely uncomfortable and extremely sorry for people in Bombay because I suspect that all radio jockeys in the city will now imitate her and imagine waking up to that day after day...
I suspect the likes of Subhash Ghai have already stopped churning out their half-baked melodramas out of sheer insecurity and this should keep them halted for another half century or so. Amen.
P.S. I was eager to see how they would explain away the last film's ending. In spite of Hirani's claims that this was a completely new film with just the same lead characters, I was a bit sceptical about how the audience would react to seeing Munnabhai single again and wooing another woman etc. Needless to say, what they've done is the only way it could have been done, underscoring the core of thought behind this zany caper of a film. Using those two lines from the previous film's hit song Mamu (Ek kahani khatam to dooji shuru ho gayi mamu) was a stroke of genius, I say.