L-Still from Lage Raho Munnabhai; R- Dilip Prabhavalkar
Over the years, several actors have played the role of Mahatma Gandhi on screen. While most films and documentaries have chronicled his role in the Indian Independence movement, the 2006 film Lage Raho Munnabhai introduced the role of MK Gandhi in an out-and-out comedy film set in world decades after India gained independence.
The actor who played the role of Mahatma Gandhi in Rajkumar Hirani's 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' looked at the role and convinced not just Munna but us as the audience as well. Dilip Prabhavalkar who played the role to perfection got the look, the mannerisms and the voice of the late freedom fighter right.
In the film, Sanjay Dutt's Munnabhai pretends to be a professor of history with deep knowledge about Mahatma Gandhi to impress a woman he likes. However, in order to justify his lie he mugs up all possible information pertaining to Gandhi, so much so that he gets a vision of the great man when he thinks about him. Through Munna, the film finds different ways to apply Gandhi's philosophy in daily life. What makes this a memorable film with Gandhi's presence is that it does not try to advocate hyper-nationalism, but rather tells that genuine patriotic feeling lies not in grand gestures but in acts of humanity.
So who is Dilip Prabhavalkar?
Prabhavalkar is a Marathi actor, director, playwright, and author. In his career spanning over four decades, he has worked in Hindi and Marathi theatre along with featuring in movies and television.
The actor who also has a Masters in biophysics was working with a pharmaceutical company before getting bit by the acting bug. It was only in 1991 that he decided to take up acting full-time. While the actor started off doing roles in children's play, his first major performance was in Lobh Nasava Hi Vinanti, a play written by Vijay Tendulkar and directed by Arvind Deshpande, which was well received. He went on to do several plays and eventually appeared on Marathi television.
In 1995, Prabhavalkar featured in his first Hindi film titled 'Beqabu' featuring Sanjay Kapoor and Mamta Kulkarni. He did several supporting roles in Hindi cinema before he landed 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' which was released in 2006. The film also got him his first National Award for Best Supporting Actor. He essayed the same role for the Telugu remake of the film titled 'Shankar Dada Zindabad' for the same role. Later on, he continued to work primarily in Marathi cinema.
Dilip Prabhavalkar was last seen onscreen in the Prime Video original film 'Modern Love Mumbai' as Nazrul.