Munna Bhai: What will happen to the lovable gangster now?
'Munna Bhai MBBS', the first film of the series came in the year 2003, while the second hit the screens in 2006.
New Delhi: Last two days have seen an ocean of moral and physical support for Sanjay Dutt after the Supreme Court sentenced him to five years in jail, out of which he has already completed 18 months, which means he will have to spend another 42 months behind the bars.
The actor-producer was convicted under the Arms Act for illegally possessing weapons and was awarded six years imprisonment by the TADA (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court. However, the apex court reduced the sentence from six years to five years. Now, Sanjay Dutt needs to surrender before the court within four weeks. In a message sent out to media, Sanjay Dutt talked about exploring the legal possibilities, but the current scenario doesn't seem to be in his favour.
If Sanjay Dutt goes to the jail then the people suffering with him would be the producers who have taken Dutt in their films. He is currently shooting for KS Ravikumar's 'Policegiri', and is expected to simultaneously work on Apoorva Lakhia's 'Zanjeer' remake. His name features in the cast of Rensil D'Silva's 'Ungli' and Rajkumar Gupta's 'Ghanchakkar'.
Sanjay Dutt is also doing a cameo in Raj Kumar Hirani's 'PK' as his association with Hirani goes back to 2003 when the two joined on a project called 'Munna Bhai MBBS'. They again collaborated together in 2006 on 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai'.
These two films achieved Sanjay Dutt the acclaim he was dreaming for 22 years as 'Rocky', his first film as hero, was released in 1981.
Sanjay Dutt was supposed to return with another 'Munna Bhai' film soon, though not with Raj Kumar Hirani but with Subhash Kapoor.
Subhash Kapoor, in an interview given to IANS, said, "I can't imagine 'Munna Bhai' series without Sanjay Dutt. But unfortunately, things are not in our hands. I feel it a very harsh punishment. I am surprised as much as you all are surprised with this news."
However when he was asked about other possibilities he added, "I will have to speak to the producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra about it. I can't take a call on that. In the next two days, we will have a chat and discuss what needs to be done."
He also said, "Our film has not yet gone on floors, but just imagine about other producers and directors, who have done films half-way with Sanjay."
There is a little probability of makers refusing to make the third film in the series without Sanjay Dutt in the lead but Munna Bhai is one of the most popular Bollywood franchise and thus sooner or later, somebody will decide to make a film with the similar storyline.
If that happens then the makers would be looking for an actor who could replace Sanjay Dutt as Munna, a benevolent gangster.
Ranbir Kapoor can be a good choice considering he has a long career ahead of him but Munna Bhai carries a cultural baggage with him, and he also needs to team up with Circuit (Arshad Warsi), so he should be a senior actor than Warsi.
Salman Khan can be another choice but he is too big to be the next Munna, plus his portrayal of Chulbul Pandey has already acquired a cult status and the audience would be comparing Chulbul with Munna, which will only make it difficult for the originality of the character to sustain.
Aamir Khan appears a more suitable actor for the Munna Bhai series. His acting capabilities are appreciated but his physique might not go well with the requirements of the role, don't forget Munna is a gangster.
Playing Munna Bhai means bringing the character to life on the streets of Mumbai, that too with wit and humour. Munna is much more than a street fighter and Anil Kapoor and Govinds are too old to make a comeback as taporis.
Ajay Devgn has a very serious image while actors like Imran, Emraan and Shahid look too suave to play the role. Sunny Deol is also not doing many films.
Akshay Kumar has done such roles in the past and he has been liked by the viewers in a 'tapori' role. His image is the closest to Munna Bhai, but even he would find it difficult to step into the shoes of Sanjay Dutt as Munna is the representative of lower middle class Mumbaikers.
Same is the case with South Indian actors, either they are old or very song-dance friendly.
What if Munna and Circuit both are replaced by new actors?
Then it could be a tribute to Hirani and Sanjay Dutt's creation of a gangster who was more like a big brother who we approach in case of every trouble not related to studies. (With inputs from IANS)