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More of Munnabhai, promises director
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Director Raj Kumar Hirani is busy planning a sequel to the hit "Munnabhai M.B.B.S." This time it will be "Munnabhai LLB", with much the same cast - Sanjay Dutt, Boman Irani and Arshad Warsi. This time the protagonists barge into the legal profession instead of a medical school.
Says Hirani, "I have agreed to make 'Munnabhai LLB' for the same producer (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) on condition that if I see it isn't working we'll scrap the whole project.
"I have enough faith in my producer to know he'll allow me that luxury. No point in working on a project that you aren't happy with."
The legal profession isn't known for its sense of humour. Laughs Hirani: "I know. Vinod and I are trying to figure out how to block the loopholes. We'll have to set up our own team of lawyers to counter the backlash!
"But we aren't going to hit out at the judiciary. Yes, we'll take a dig at lawyers but not the law."
While Abbas Tyrewala will do the dialogues again, Gracy Singh will be conspicuous by her absence in the cast of "Munnabhai LLB".
The film will start in December and will be release by September next year.
But the big one for Hirani is another project, a huge epic film spanning 60 decades of independent India.
"It'll open in 1940 and then come to the present times. But I won't call it a period film. Again it's light-hearted comment on the socio-political system, like 'Munnabhai...'"
The language and characters in "Munnabhai LLB" would be the same as the first.
"Initially I was against a sequel. You know I struggled to do something else. But everyone wanted to see the same characters again. So what I'll do is take them back to before 'Munnabhai MBBS' and take them forward into the legal system as though 'MBBS' never happened.
"This time Munnabhai fights for a woman's legal rights. The legal sphere has great scope for humour. Can you imagine Sanjay Dutt as a lawyer landing up in a courtroom in an orange shirt?
"When I started writing my script everything started in place. If at any point I found any scene resembling anything already seen I'd have dropped the idea."
Meanwhile, Hirani has made an ad with Boman Irani for Promise toothpaste.
"Just to keep my machinery oiled. The ad for my own production company took just two months...Otherwise I'm very happy having Vinod Chopra as my producer. And I see no reason to make films for any other producer. He takes the whole burden of production and distribution on himself while I focus on making a film."
Hirani is amused at the Tamil and Telugu versions of "Munnabhai M.B.B.S."
"I attended the shooting of the Telugu Munnabhai. It was called 'Shankar Dada M.B.B.S.' Whatever I saw was déjà vu. Of course, much louder.
"Frankly, the impact that 'Munnabhai...' has made stuns me. I never expected it. Parents ask their children for a jadoo ki jhappi (a magical hug like in the movie), and vice versa. What more impact could I've hoped for?"