Munnabhai M.B.B.S., Lage Raho Munnabhai, 3 Idiots, PK, Sanju – this is the filmography of a genius named Rajkumar Hirani who is lovingly known as Raju Hirani. Most of the audience and members of the critic circuit divide Cinema into two broad groups – Art Cinema & Commercial Cinema. But this man has broken those fences. His cinema is worshipped by the masses and clapped by the critics. They win awards too and give a stronghold to one’s career.
Every single person who is associated with the movie-making business wants profit. That’s why a good story is a prime requirement. The idea of stories that we see on movies is largely based on the time we are living. Each era has some kind of challenges and moviemakers over the years have tapped in this area to create stories. Some directors simply highlight the features of the time like Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur or Raman Raghav 2.0. And then there are some directors like Ritwick Ghatak or Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who have tried to bring a revolution through their lenses. But Raju Hirani is a man of vision who doesn’t like walking the road with strong slogans to change the system. He has his signature way of striking the belief system of people.
My answer to the mentioned question of why Raju Hirani movies influence people has four answers that are mentioned below.
Larger Than Life Characters:
Larger than life characters doesn’t necessarily mean that the central character has to wear a Prada/Louboutin, walk-in stilettos, carry machine guns, etc. In Raju Hirani movies, the “larger than life” characters are different than what you have seen so far in Bollywood. They may not be rich but they are filled with extraordinary and revolutionary thoughts. Think of Munnabhai – a mafia of sorts who is fueled by revenge and instead of taking up the gun takes the route of simplicity and humanity to change the dean of a medical college (rather change the norms of the society). Think of PK – an alien who has no address in this big world, has no wealth, or has no motive, still gets robbed. He questions the methods we run the world and wins our hearts.
These larger than life characters are required in a country that is still considered to be poor. But the reality is in our country the percentage of middle-class is more. And that means there is a dream among masses to grow more and achieve success. This is where Raju Hirani succeeds. His movies are an inspiration to many because his characters always start from scratch and work very hard to gain success in the end.
The Art of Saying Simple Things Simply:
There is no need to stretch things unnecessarily when it can be resolved with simple discussions. Farhan Qureshi of 3 Idiots wanted to become a wildlife photographer but he couldn’t say those words simply to his father. Because he belongs to a middle-class family where his dad thinks that if my son becomes an engineer, we will lead a better life with comforts and luxury (that was a rampant thought in the ’80s and ’90s in India and still continues). That scene where he returns home skipping his “campus interview” and talks to his dad – makes everyone cry their heart out.
His Unique Campaigns:
Just think of the campaigns that his characters perform on screen and you will understand why his movies are so special. The campaigns that he runs in his stories are about bringing a change in the lifestyle of people with simple mechanisms. With Munnabhai M.b.B.S. he made “Jaadu ki Jhappi” so famous and so endearing. Whosoever in your family or close circle is shouting or throwing tantrums must be hugged. Why? Because no one actually is bad or walks with bad intentions of hurting others. He/she must be having a reason for that behaviour. And rather than judging, one must be compassionate and considerate towards them. With a simple hug, the anger melts down and you can then connect with that person in a better way.
In Lage Raho Munnabhai, he taught us “Gandhigiri”. The face of Baapu whom we see on notes has become almost obsolete in current times. Raju Hirani simply took up the Gandhian simple and honest way of living to bring changes. But again, the change won’t come in a single day. (Remember that pan stain scene?)
In 3 Idiots, he made one thing very clear to students and parents – don’t run after success, run after excellence, then, success will follow you. Whatever one likes, wherever the passion lies – one should continue honing that only day after day. That’s the simplest way to be both- happy and successful.
Reassuring Faith In Good:
In spite of so many dark areas, mistakes, and atrocities, he always shows us that “good” always meet us in the end. The evil or bad-men in his movies don’t die or get punished. He makes these characters understand the value of goodness and their ideology and principles change. That’s how life should also be. There is always a good and bad person inside all of us. The moment one understands the fact that there is nothing valiant about being bad – the change happens. That’s what happened to Lucky Singh in Lage Raho or Dean in Munnabhai or Virus in 3 Idiots. Therefore, he also hammers on the theory of “forgiveness”. Those who have done something bad must be forgiven so that they get a chance to improve themselves.
Now, who else can connect with the audience like that?