Today is October 2. Gandhi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. A holiday for most of us. Or, as Munnabhai puts it, dry day.
Rarely has a movie captured the imagination of a nation in recent times as Lage Raho Munnabhai (LRM). Blending comedy with a strong message through the words of Gandhi and Munnabhai (a role played amazingly well by Sanjay Dutt), the movie is set to become one of Indian cinemas biggest blockbusters. More importantly, it is having two side-effects. It is reawakening a desire amongst Indian youth to know more about the Father of the Nation. It is also bringing about behavioural change in some the adoption of Gandhigiri to tackle challenges.
Gandhi has been a forgotten figure for most of us. We learnt about Gandhi in our history textbooks. Some of us also saw Ben Kingsley play Gandhi in the Richard Attenborough movie. While in school, we stood in silence for two minutes to mark the time when Gandhi was assassinated. We see a photo of Gandhi every so often on TV serials and movies when they show police stations or court rooms. And of course, the ubiquitous presence on currency notes. That is Gandhi for most of us.
Every year, around October 2, the media publishes articles and broadcasts programmes discussing the relevance of Gandhi to modern India. Some channels will broadcast movies and documentaries about Gandhi. And then, the day passes. Life carries on.
This year, a movie has forever changed the perceptions of Gandhi for a young India. The line, Bande mein tha dum, has become some sort of a signature byline defining Gandhi. His principles of satyagraha and being true to yourself are starting to find favour in a mass searching for an identity. If the year started with the movie Rang De Basanti (RDB) bringing to life the problems of corruption and a generation in search of a mission, LRM has taken the cause further but in a more benign way.
LRM has gotten rave reviews since its release just over 4 weeks ago. People have been watching the movie in large numbers even now rare for movies now in India where, in Hollywood-style, they tend to fade within a couple weeks of release. The word-of-mouth has been extremely strong for the movie. So, if you havent seen the movie yet, it is time you shouldeven if you dont care much about the underlying message, go watch one of the most original entertaining films of the year.
Tomorrow: LRM Reviews