Book Review: Lage Raho Munnabhai - The Original Screenplay

By Joginder Tuteja Bollywood Hungama News Network

Now this is a smart piece of product launch. Just when 3 Idiots has released worldwide and resulted in a smashing response all over, the makers (producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra along with writers Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijit Joshi) have brought out the original screenplay of Lage Raho Munnabhai as a book. This 2006 release has been hailed as a modern day classic by quite a few across the globe. Hence it was just imperative that beyond the cinematic experience that audiences have enjoyed on watching this Sanjay Dutt-Arshad Warsi-Dileep Prabhawalkar-Vidya Balan-Boman Irani starrer, they also gain from the literary value that it boasts of. No wonder, the film's screenplay is most welcome as it hits the stands.

It is not everyday when a film's screenplay arrives in bookshops, especially when it comes to Bollywood films. Yes, it may be common in Hollywood and even in film libraries but for a regular viewer in India, it's a unique affair. This is the reason why one does get apprehensive about what really is in the offering.

One wonders:

a) if the screenplay format would be comprehendible enough for the 'aam junta',
b) would it actually aid the reader in actually following how the scene unfolds,
c) would it be exciting as the movie itself,
d) will it all become too talk heavy and
e) most importantly, will it be educational enough, something which is actually the prime reason behind the book being made available for public reading.

Well, the fact is that eventually the screenplay is for a select segment of audiences. For 'aam junta', it isn't quite an enticing affair to actually flip through pages and go through dialogues and the scene transition when they could rather enjoy it in the cinematic format. There could be an initial curiosity factor attached to it but going through 300 pages of text may be expecting a little too much.

However, coming to the target audiences, this book is a sheer delight. For the students of cinema, there is a lot to learn from the way Hirani and Joshi have crafted each and every scene. As indicated in the introductory chapter of the book, the one point agenda of writing any scene was that it should either be funny or emotional. If it isn't then the scene was to be scrapped. Now this is something which one really evidences as scene after scene unfold in the book. Yes, they are either funny or emotional, hence proving that the writers never compromised on their vision.

Now let's talk about the presentation aspect of the book. The fact is that just like the simplicity that one expects from the movies by Hirani, it's the same that holds true in case of the book as well. It is simple, easy to read, entertaining to be visualised and narrated in a manner that comes naturally to the reader after he/she has gone through the first 10 odd pages and become used to the format. It is educational to see how there are some background movements and body language of actors described to the finest detail as well even. In fact if at all any of the actors would have improvised on these scenes than that would have been quite some feat since Lage Raho Munnabhai pretty much comes across as a water tight screenplay.

One does get a feeling of going through a course material though while flipping through the pages. The layout is a tad dry and though it is obvious that the book is presented in the way it is to save costs, for a film belonging to this stature, it may have been worth an idea to make it a little more colourful, livelier and more enticing. But then one can make a fair guess that since the book was aimed at students of cinema rather than the 'aam junta', the presenters decide d to bring it out in the way it has.

Price: Rs. 295/=

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