Yesterday was Mahatma Gandhiji’s birthday and thus I have selected this song about him. The song is simple and will appeal to youngsters. The music of this song sounds vaguely similar to Aao bachchon tumhe dikhayen… from Jagriti (1954).
Movie: This song appears in 2006 hit comic drama Lage Raho Munna Bhai (Carry on, Munna Bhai) produced by Vidhoo Vinod Chopra and directed by Raj Kumar Hirani. It is a sequel to Munna Bhai M B B S (2003), with Sanjay Dutt playing the lead role of Munna Bhai, an underworld don from Mumbai. In the sequel, the lead character begins to see the apparition of Mahatma Gandhi. After interacting with Gandhiji, he starts to practice, what he calls Gandhigiri or his version of Gandhism, with the objective of solving problems of common people. The movie bagged several awards on the national soil as well as on the international front.
The main objective of the director in making this movie is to create awareness about Mahatma Gandhi, whom many people in India have forgotten. During an interview, he said that a tea vendor near where they shot the movie did not know who Mahatma Gandhi was.
He added, “The boy was curious, he was a big Munna Bhai fan and kept asking the name of the film. The first working title was ‘Munnabhai Meets Mahatma Gandhi,’ and Shantanu (Moitra, the music director) told him. So he said, ‘Munnabhai to theek hai, yeh Mahatma Gandhi kaun hai?’ (‘Munnabhai is fine, but who is this Mahatma Gandhi?’) So this is the sad state of affairs today. I was shocked. And it’s not just the chai-wallah. A few days ago on TV a lot of politicians were asked India-related questions on the news channels and I can’t believe a lot of them don’t know 2 October is Gandhiji’s birthday! Many didn’t know his first name. They kept saying, ‘what’s in a name, we respect his ideals.’ But come on! How can you not know his name?”
Murli Prasad Sharma or Munna Bhai (Sanjay Dutt) is a gangster, who loves the voice of Janhavi (Vidya Balan), an RJ. He plots to meet her when she announces a quiz contest about Gandhiji, to be aired on October 2. As a preparation for the contest, Munna’s sidekick Circuit (Arshad Warsi) abducts and bribes a few professors to give answers to Munna Bhai.
Munna Bhai wins the contest and he is granted the chance to meet Janhavi. He tells her that he is a professor of history and a Gandhi expert. She asks him to give a lecture on Gandhiji to a group of senior citizens, who live in her home Second Innings House. Munna Bhai stays at a Gandhi institute for 3 days and nights to study about the Mahatma. To this end, he forgoes food and rest. It is at this time that the song is heard in the background.
Song: This song fetched the lyricist Swanand Kirkire the National Film Award for Best Lyrics in the year 2007. The music of this song was composed by Shantanu Moitra.
This song eulogizes Mahatma Gandhi, talking about his physical stature and his contribution to the Indian freedom struggle. Toward the end, the song requests the Mahatma to come back to help us fight our own kin because they are the ones in the 21st century India, who are torturing and killing each other.
Video: Cinematography is by C K Muraleedharan.
The video begins with Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi standing in front of the bust of Mahatma Gandhi. Sanjay Dutt begins to read a thin book on the Mahatma in the library. Then he takes thicker books. He lies down on the library table and reads with the help of a small table lamp. He keeps shifting from one place to another.
Next, he is seen sitting on a chair and reading a book. Suddenly, he smiles. He continues to read until…until he sees the apparition of Mahatma Gandhi in a white dhoti with a stick.
Artists: The playback singers of this song are Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal and Pranab Kumar Biswas and onscreen performances are by Sanjay Dutt,
Cultural Influence: It is a tragedy that today many young Indians do not know, who actually was Mahatma Gandhi. This movie was made to create awareness about the Mahatma’s contribution to the Indian freedom struggle. The video is watchable.