Munnabhai MBBS

Okay, I lied. This was my first “real” Bollywood experience. I just didn’t know it. My mom checked it out from the library on a whim; I watched it on a whim, and enjoyed it immensely.

Starring Sanjay Dutt (and his dad, Sunil Dutt), Arshad Warsi, Gracy Singh, Boman Irani, and Jimmy Shergill.

I still consider it one of the best Hindi films I’ve watched. The story is simple enough: a Mumbai gunda (Sanjay) wants to become a doctor so his father (Sunil) will not be ashamed of him. Of course he’s willing to use unconventional methods to achieve his goal. In the process he throws the whole medical college into confusion because Munna does more with his “jadoo ki jhappi” (magic hugs) than than the rest of the highly impersonal and institutionalized can put together. A bit predictable, but not to the point of preachy. The tone is set pretty quickly in the opening scene and from then on the film is quirky, lighthearted and above all funny.

Sanjay plays a lovable goon or “bhai” (literally means brother, but you’ll run across it in this context in about half the Hindi movies you watch, so just get used to it), and I really don’t think enough can be said about how endearing he is here. Obviously the implication that Munna and gang pretty much only kidnap people who deserve it is a little unlikely, but who’s going to complain when it’s Sanjay with his big sad eyes and sweet smile? He also wears brightly colored shirts.

Okay, this one's from Lage Raho, Munnabhai but you get the idea

Arshad is the kind of comedian I like in Hindi films. Over the top, yes, but not Johnny Lever. He and Sanjay are delight together on screen. His line delivery is even funny, which something special because I can’t understand a word he’s saying.

Boman is quite good as the main “villian”. His slightly deranged laughter is pretty disturbing. Jimmy Shergill and Gracy Singh are not particularly memorable (although this is not always bad).

If I had more time I would go more in depth on this film, because I honestly think it deserves it, but I’m not so devoted to the blog as to lose too much sleep over it, so maybe another time.

It’s not surprising that Munnabhai was remade in Telegu, that it was followed with a (kind of) sequel Lage Raho, Munnabhai, or that there is a third installment on the way, Munnabhai Chale Amerika, or that Rajkumar Hirani made another enormous hit, 3 Idiots. I guess I’m not surprised by anything. I found an interview of Rajkumar Hirani talking about his three movies, and working with various actors. There’s a rumor going around that he’s going to cast Aamir as Munna in the next Munnabhai film, but since Sunil Shetty says Munnabhi is like an extension of Sanjay Dutt, that would be a wrong move. (as well as terribly unlikely; I’m sure it’s just a rumor.) On the other hand, I don’t know which would be worse, Aamirji as Munnabhai, or Shahrukh. The answer is, of course, Salman.

Music was by Anu Malik (who apparently had a hand in the music in Bride and Prejudice, which is greatly to his credit). This is not one of the really big musicals with fantastic dance numbers and all. The first song (M Bole To) is a long time in arriving. It’s fun enough, as is Apun Jaise, the only other song I remember is Chann Chann, which is pleasant but seemed kind of slow to me at the time, since I was watching a movie in a different language and wasn’t at that time particularly interested in it.



  1. March 9, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    […] good time. This one is definitely recommended. And if you’ve seen and enjoyed this, check out Munnabhai; it’s definitely another fun […]

  2. March 22, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    […] Munna Bhai Mbbs […]

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