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Groove to Gandhi, get it'
- Books on Bapu fly off shelves, schools block bulk tickets

Bapu is back, thanks to Bollywood. In the 59th year of Independence, Lage Raho Munnabhai — or rather Munnabhai meets Mahatma — has revived interest in Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhigiri is the flavour of the season and GenX (and GenEx) can’t seem to have enough of the man they called Mahatma.

Proof of the popularity: books on Bapu are flying off the shelves, schools are scrambling to make a rare Bollywood block booking, children are asking their parents more about the man who, in Circuitspeak, “Angrezo ki vaat laga di”, and Mahatma merchandise could soon be the ultimate cool statement at youth hangouts.

“People are actually buying books on Gandhi. We have ordered more titles for our Calcutta store,” says Rajiv Chowdhry of Oxford Bookstore, where the bestseller post-Munnabhai has been My Experiments with Truth. The demand has even prompted a special display rack at Landmark of books on Gandhi, alongside VCDs of movies and documentaries. “After I watched the movie with my two kids they started asking me questions about Gandhi. So I bought them a few books,” says shopper Arindam Sen.

Even schools want their students to meet Munna, Circuit and Mahatma. “The way his teachings have been woven into the movie, riding on humour, is something today’s youngsters should watch,” says a teacher of La Martiniere for Boys, from where two batches of 160 students each have seen Munnabhai at 89 Cinemas. Sri Shikshayatan is learnt to have booked 100 tickets for the Monday morning show at INOX (Forum).

And soon, youngsters can wear their newest fad, Gandhigiri. “We hope to have special Gandhi T-shirts (not “chhoti si dhoti”) on the racks before October 2,” says Gautam Jatia of Landmark. Satyajit Ray T-shirts had been a sellout once, and now Gandhi is hot property.

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