Since young, I didn’t have many non-Chinese friends. Throughout my 6 years in primary school, I only knew 2 Indians who were my classmates (and both were very good looking and smart). In secondary school, there was only 1 Indian classmate in my first 2 years there and I was in a pure Chinese class in Upper Sec. I guess it was because I took Higher Chinese all those years. But come JC and there was no non-Chinese in my class again! Hence although I appreciate racial harmony, I don’t have many non-Chinese friends in the first place.

Then I come to work and find myself in a totally different environment at Office Below! Here Chinese is the “minority” – 6 out of 13. The rest consists of 4 Indians and 3 Malays. And it’s very interesting as I get to learn more about their culture, language etc. I’m also guilty that while most of them can understand at least a bit of Chinese, I don’t catch a single word of Tamil or Malay! And quite a number of them are very keen to learn Chinese! I feel ashamed haha.

And while Singapore consists of mainly Chinese and we have so many things catering to our ethnicity group, it hasn’t really occurred to me how deprived the other races might be! For example, our main necessity – food. There aren’t that many choices of food for the Muslims and while we can happily eat their Halal food, they can’t eat the non-Halal stuff that we eat! And then there’s TV. While we’ve 2 Chinese channels catering to our needs, other than other channels that we can watch too like Channel 5, Central etc, they don’t seem to have much to watch too.

Which is why I found it bizarre when my Malay friend started introducing Hindi movies to me (and I didn’t even know the difference between Tamil and Hindi movies in the first place!~). I was thinking, why is a Malay watching an Indian movie? She doesn’t even understand what they’re saying and has to see the subtitles! But come to think about it, it’s the same as us watching Japanese and Korean dramas haha, except I always watch those that have been subbed.

Anyway one day during lunch (we packed lunch to eat in the office), she took out a DVD and we started watching. I tell you, it’s such a darn funny movie la! I laughed like siao (I did warn them that I’m easily amused and I laugh super loudly at everything) throughout the entire 2 hours! Hmm, yes, we slacked for 2 hours at work just watching DVD. Shhh don’t tell our boss, but yes, it’s a darn good life haha!

It’s actually a bit slow to be catching this movie, Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., cause it is a 2003 Indian musical comedy. It’s so good that it was the recipient of a number of awards and being hugely successful, sparked off the production of subsequent Munna Bhai films, becoming the first in the popular Munna Bhai series of Bollywood.

The entire storyline is a laugh – you look at it and you know it’ll be damn hilarious. Plus the dialogue was really well written, like acupuncture needles pin-pointing your 笑穴 every single time they spoke. And it was perfectly cast, with the attention grabbers being the pair of 老大 (Sanjay Dutt) and his sidekick (Arshad Warsi). The 老大 is like Bollywood’s version of Mr Bean except that he does speak and his actions aren’t exaggerated, but the blank face is there haha. And the sidekick is like Gurmit Singh, so you know how cool this guy is.

 

The amazingly hilarious story line is as follows:

The lead character is Murli Prasad Sharma, nicknamed “Munna Bhai” (“Brother Munna”). Bhai means a crime don in the Mumbai underworld. He ran away from his home in the village at 15 as his father was very strict with him and wanted him to be a doctor, but he only enjoyed making trouble. Years after he left home, his father called him and he lied to his father that he is a doctor now. Therefore whenever his father and mother visit him in Mumbai, his entire gang and the neighbours (who are frightful of him) put on a show – his house becomes the faux Sri Hari Prasad Sharma Charitable Hospital (named after his father), the gangsters become doctors and the neighbours act as patients.

One year, however, Munna’s plan goes awry. His father meets an old acquaintance, Dr. Asthana and the two older men decide to marry Munna to Dr. Asthana’s daughter, Dr. “Chinki” Suman. It is at this point that the truth about Munna is revealed. Munna’s parents are heartbroken and leave.

Munna Bhai, who despite his lifestyle is anxious to please his parents, decides that the only way to redeem himself is to truly become a doctor. Therefore he decides to go to school in order to obtain an M.B.B.S degree. With the help of his right-hand man Circuit and others, he “gains admission” to the Imperial Institute of Medical Sciences, where he runs into Dr. Asthana, who is the dean of the medical school. His success there becomes dependent upon the (coerced) help of Dr. Rustam Pavri.

While Munna Bhai’s skills as a medical doctor are minimal, he shows great compassion towards those in need and transforms those around him. Despite the school’s emphasis on mechanical, Cartesian, impersonal, often bureaucratic relationships between doctors and patients, Munna constantly seeks to impose a more empathetic, almost holistic regimen.

Dr. Asthana, who sees all this as symptoms of chaos, is unable to stop it happening. He becomes rapidly more irrational, almost to the point of insanity. Meanwhile, his daughter, also a doctor at the hospital, becomes increasingly fond of Munna Bhai, who in his turn becomes unreservedly infatuated with her. However, Munna is unaware that Dr. Suman and his childhood friend “Chinki” are one and the same. Dr. Asthana tries several times to expel Munna, but is often thwarted by Munna’s wit or the affection with which the others at the school regard Munna.

Eventually, Munna is shamed into leaving the school of his own accord. But of course it’s still a happy ending. Munna later marries Dr. Suman, learning for the first time that she is “Chinki”. Subsequently the medical school – under new management since the retirement of Dr. Asthana – begins to imitate Munna’s radical methods of treatment. Munna and Dr. Suman open a hospital in Munna’s home village, where they implement Munna’s ideas daily. This earns Munna the nickname “Munnabhai – M.B.B.S.”, although he has no such title. Munna’s parents reconcile with him.

It’s not simply a comedy. It also teaches some values. I never ever thought that I would enjoy a Bollywood movie but this really made me think otherwise! When I find a movie funny, I can watch it over 5 times and still laugh at the same stuff. I’ve the VCD of Korean movie “Guns & Talk“. I enjoy it so much that I’ve watched it over and over again, till the point when my family became irritated with my startlingly abrupt and thunderously loud laughter and asked me how it’s possible for me to hear something so many times and still find it funny each time. Somehow I just can haha.

I’ve borrowed the Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. DVD from my friend and can’t bear to return it cause I haven’t find it sick to laugh at the same old funny parts yet! In fact it’s so good that I’m going to ask her help me buy a copy so that I can keep it. =P

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