Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect
Lago raho Munnabhai has by now become a Bollywood icon, well known for its bubbly, peppy and digestible presentation of Gandhian philosophy to a generation that knows little of and about him. For this, it has been applauded with good reason. But the attention to the Gandhigiri spawned by the movie has eclipsed the attention and spotlight that the film provides to another much needed focus – our senior citizens.
The attention and dignity accorded to the elderly through out the movie is truly laudable and there is even a lively, foot tapping song in the celebration of ageing. In fact the entire sequence around which Sanjay Dutt resorts to Gandhigiri is to restore to a group of senior citizens their house which has been unscrupulously seized by a builder. The bunch of happy go lucky senior citizens presented in the film have their travails all right but through the film , they are presented , not as objects of pity or charity but as people with their own rights to the pursuit of happiness.
Never does Vidya Balan as the vivacious and chirpy radio jockey cum part time care taker of the house ever reflect that her responsibility is a chore or the residents a burden in even the slightest of ways. The song Bara Aaane says it all .. That age , properly understood and supported is never a burden to be borne but a contagious joy to be shared.
This idea needs to be shared with increasing frequency. More and more people are living to longer lives but not all are living joy filled and purposeful lives. In fact a very large number are living out, empty, directionless lives without any other purpose other than simple sustenance from day to day. Often their families and our society itself is increasingly learning to weigh people by the thickness of their wallets and the length of their bank statements.
We have not yet found engaging roles for the wealth of experience, insight and life skills that they carry and that they can transmit to us and our children. After all, though their bodies may be frail, the minds are still sharp. Although globally, bodies like UNESCO, identify and celebrate “intangible human heritage”, in front of our very eyes, men and women bearing the scars as well as memories of such epochal events of our history like the Freedom Struggle and the Quit India Movement of 1942, the Second World War, the monumental exodus of the partition, the witnesses of the wars of 1962, 1965 and 1971 walk before us day in and day out as repositories o our heritage, neglected, unwanted and uncared for.
There is much talk and justifiably so of the fact that we who live in the present are but custodians of the earth , its resources and all that God has entrusted to us so that future generations may inherit and use it. We are called to be responsible stewards to ensure that all of this happens. Munnabhai reminds us that we have some way to go.
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