Producing franchises is considered to be part and parcel of Bollywood business these days. Such has been the rise in franchises being produced in the Hindi film industry during the last decade that it seems as if “Every successful film is being made into a franchise”. Now while a majority of these franchises do not do justice to quality there are few that completely justify quality. So here is presenting the two best “entertaining and engaging” franchises made in the last decade (according to me) in Bollywood
1. Munnabhai MBBS/Lage Raho Munnabhai
Based on the adventures of a lovable rogue and his sidekick the “Munnabhai Series” first hit the silver screens in 2003 with the release of “Munnabhai MBBS”. This is a movie that marked the debut of a “genius” of a storyteller called Rajkumar Hirani, and was produced by the passionate and always animated Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The basic plot of the story written by Hirani himself is based on Munnabhai a rogue played by Sanjay Dutt and his desire to become a certified doctor. Through his journey of wanting to become a doctor Munnabhai is supported by his sidekick Circuit (Arshad Warsi) and his ladylove Dr. Suman Asthana (Gracy Singh) the daughter of main antagonist Dr. JC Asthana (Boman Irani), the dean of a medical college. Laced with great sense of humor, some brilliant direction, and outstanding performances this movie has certainly become a Bollywood “cult classic” to remember.
The brilliance of Munnabhai MBBS was followed up by an even “bigger and better” sequel in 2006 when the very same team( i.e. Hirani and Chopra) released “Lage Raho Munnabhai”.The plot of this extremely well made movie was woven around Munnabhai, Circuit, and the ghost of Mahatma Gandhi. It was essentially based on Munnabhai being able to hear, see, and talk to the ghost of the Mahatma, and thereby help spread “Gandhigiri” in the society i.e. the philosophy of Gandhi. The ladylove of the lovable Munnabhai in this movie is a radio jockey i.e. RJ Jhanvi played by Vidya Balan ,and the antagonist is a crooked Punjabi businessman played brilliantly yet again by Boman Irani. This movie too is laced with dollops of great humor, great direction, and splendid performances and definitely is a must watch just like its prequel.
2. Ishqiya/Dedh Ishqiya
“Dil toh baccha hai Ji” the song from the 2010 released “Ishqiya” quite aptly captures the true essence of this wonderful movie that revolves around crime and romance. Directed by the extremely talented then first time director Abhishek Chaubey (Udta Punjab fame) this movie revolves around a “Chacha-Batija” duo (i.e. Uncle and nephew) played by the great Nasseruddin Shah (Khalujaan) and the talented Arshad Warsi (Babban) who happen to be petty criminals.While the story is based on what happens when this duo encounter a femme fatale in the form of a widow called Krishna Verma played by Vidya Balan. A intriguing story line combined with good direction, wonderful performances, and some soulful music is what makes this movie called “Ishqiya” worth falling in love with.
If Ishiqiya had an intriguing story line then “Dedh Ishqiya” its sequel released in 2014 possesses a far more powerful plot. Once again directed by Chaubey (this movie proves his talent) the story this time round is set in the world of Urdu poetry. The plot of this wonderful sequel is based on Khalujaan and Babban encountering two seductresses in the form of the elegant Begum Para played by Madhuri Dixit, and her beautiful assistant Muniya (Huma Querishi). In addition, this movie also quite beautifully handles the sensitive issue of “lesbianism”. Aided by brilliant direction, power packed performances, and great use of the elegant Urdu language this movie is certainly a great watch , and along with its prequel makes for a great movie franchise.