A Pleasant Surprise: Lage Raho Munnabhai

220

Vincent M. Hills is a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in History and minoring in Religious Studies. This post was originally written for Dr. Rollens’ course, REL 360: Popular Culture/Public Humanities.

Lage Raho Munnabhai is a prime example of the statement that “appearances can be deceiving.” What at first glance looks like a mediocre comedy ends in a film that not only provokes laughter, but also serious thought. The movie attempts to show that people, regardless of their social status or religious affiliation, can learn valuable lessons from Mahatma Gandhi. The film’s protagonist Murli is in love with a radio DJ whom he has never actually seen. As he makes his first appearance, it is obvious he is supposed to be some type of “thug”. Murli wins a contest and is eventually interviewed by Janhavi, the radio DJ. He tells her a series of lies that make her fall for him, and the movie is about him trying to further his relationship with her using Gandhi as his “Jiminy Cricket,” his invisible companion who supplies him with all the information he needs to be an expert on Gandhi’s life. From this point on, the purpose of the movie—to demonstrate the relevance of Gandhi to a variety of people—becomes clear.

Continue reading

Deifying Gandhi: National Icons and Moral Authority

munnabhai

Emily Vork is a sophomore majoring in History, Religious Studies, and American Studies. This post was written in response to viewing Lage Raho Munna Bhai as part of Dr. Sarah Rollens’ course, REL 360: Popular Culture/Public Humanities.

What makes a person worthy of being treated as a national icon? There are so many people who show up throughout history and stand out, even today. They remain in the collective mind of a region—or a nation, or the world—and history looks fondly upon them. Towards the top of the list of internationally-recognizable names is Gandhi—the famous nonviolence activist from India. But, of course, you already knew that.

Continue reading