The magic of touch and love

Film star Sanjay Dutt addressing a Press conference, in New Delhi on Saturday.

Film star Sanjay Dutt addressing a Press conference, in New Delhi on Saturday.  

Facts first. "Munna Bhai MBBS'' is not a `funny' film. It just happens to be a happy film that will make you cry and smile through the tears. At least, that is what Vindhu Vinod Chopra claims about his very first attempt at production for another director. Promising magical therapy, the film has a cure for all ailments, even if the doctor in question here cannot quite distinguish between the heart and liver.

But what makes the Rajkumar Hirani directed "Munna Bhai MBBS'' different from other films is not the white coat donning Sanjay Dutt but his erstwhile father who makes a come back to the silver screen after a period of 17 years. Playing father and son on screen for the very first time, the movie was clearly special for Sanjya Dutt in more than one ways.

If the film's crew is to be believed then the senior Dutt had everyone on the sets in awe, and his son more than just nervous. "The strange part was that while Sanjay would say he is very nervous about acting with his father, Dutt Saab would say the hero is going to take the heroine so what am I here for. Actually they were both rather eager and looking forward to working with each other,'' said Hirani at a press conference held here today. As a smiling Sanjay Dutt too recollected, "I remember he spent nearly 30 minutes speaking to me about all kinds of things on the first day of shoot just to make me feel comfortable.''

When asked what he learnt from his father during the film, Sanjay Dutt had just one thing to say, "I learnt how to be a good father.''

Getting Sunil Dutt to play the strict and upright Hari Prasad Sharma was not easy. "Shah Rukh was earlier supposed to do Munna's role, but he developed a back pain and had to leave. Sanjay was earlier doing Zaheer's role but then we asked him to do Munna Bhai. When we first thought about who to cast for the father's role, Dutt Saab came to mind, but since we knew he had retired, we kept quite. But we finally decided to give it a try and sent him the script and he really liked it,'' revealed Vindhu Vinod Chopra.

The story of a Mumbai goon who lies to his parents about being a doctor to make them happy and gets caught, the film traces Munna Bhai's journey into the medical world and his resolve to gain a doctor's degree. Explaining the film's special emphasis on "jadu ki jhappi'' or the magical hug, Hirani said that the idea is to stress the power of love, touch and affection. "Most of us as we grow older don't hug our parents. It is about the magic of touch and love. And the power that it has to `cure' a patient.''

A couple of weeks, and whether Munna Bhai manages to bring the box office `alive' should be well clear for the medical fraternity to take note of.

By Lakshmi Balakrishnan

Photo: R.V. Moorthy

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