We’ve heard of films that are fictional or realistic. What do we call those films that are an impeccable concoction of both? Realistic fiction? Fictional reality?
It happened first, and then it happened again. First we saw him dressed in dhoti carrying a lathi in his hand and giving us those signature quotes on ahimsa, then we saw him dressed in quintessential regal attire with the unmistakable Maratha king dialect. Know what I’m talking about?
It was first seen in Lage Raho Munnabhai. We saw our great national icon the late Mahatma Gandhi (Dilip Prabhavalkar) come to life on screen giving his, now world-famous, quotes to a notorious but lovable Munnabhai ( Sanjay Dutt) to help him ensure a date with his muse, Jhanvi( Vidya Balan). What came to be termed as ‘Gandhigiri’ in the movie went on to become a nationwide craze. The scenes in which Munnabhai has illusions of Gandhi rendering him tips and guidance are handled well.
It was a one-of-a-kind story, when a real-life character was incorporated in a film and was shown conversing and giving advice to a character of the film. And, when the real-life character was that of Gandhi, it couldn’t get any bigger or better than this. What I liked most about the movie was that although it attempted to remind us all of the teachings of Gandhi, at no point did it seem preachy or boring. It was all there for us to see, understand and implement on our own. Hats off to Rajkumar Hirani!
Then came another one, Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy. This movie was made on the lines of Lage Raho Munnabhai, but the movie was in Marathi and indeed had a vernacular flavor to it, that of the ‘Marathi Manus’. Here we saw the great Maratha king, Shivajiraje Bhosle(Mahesh Manjrekar) come to life and advise in the imagination of a Marathi manus(Sachin Khedekar) living in Mumbai and who’s presumably exploited by anyone other than the Maratha clan. In the end he develops immense confidence and is ready to take on any challenge!
This movie too went on to become an instant hit.The unique point of this movie has to be the necessarily stressed point, to safeguard and cherish the valour and pride of the great Marathas. Whenever the common man faces any adverse situation, he visualises Shivaji giving him encouragement to stick to his roots and take on the world. Wish we had someone like this at hand :)
Both movies have a bound script, and great performers to back it. This whole idea of bringing up an influential historical character to life to help us solve our current problems arising out of low self-esteem, and show a focussed way to a confused generation seems very matter-of-fact. Though the movies did have a good impact, I hope no other such movie is made anytime soon or the ‘novelty’ factor will be lost.
By the way, if asked for an opinion as to who should be seen alive on-screen next, what would you say?