An M.B.B.S. is the Indian medical degree, the equivalent of the American M.D. However, in the latest Bollywood hit, Munnabhai M.B.B.S., it comes to stand for much more than that. Here is the official synopsis:

Munnabhai is a happy man. He lives with his gang in the bylanes of a dhobi ghat’ in Mumbai; takes pride in being a social worker’ (they actually settle financial disputes’ through dadagiri’ [kidnapping]); and enjoys his booze, babes, brawls followed by a good night’s sleep. Not much bothers Munna.

Except his parents’ annual visit from the village. Munna’s father, Hari Prasad Sharma, an upright, moralistic man believes that his son is actually a doctor running a charity hospital. Every year, when his parents arrive, Munna and his gang bathe, shave, don white coats and stethoscopes and pretend to be diligent doctors.

This year, however, the clever charade falls apart. Hari Prasad Sharma’s runs into an old friend, Dr. Asthana, who has a daughter called Suman. The two decide that their children, both doctors, would make a perfect match. Munna tries hard to save the situation, but his father discovers the truth. And all hell breaks loose.

Hari Prasad Sharma, now broken by the truth, removes his white spotless pagadi’ and cries. Munnabhai then takes a decision that would change many lives : he decides to become a doctor.

Munnabhai MBBS is a hilarious and heart warming story of a local goon’s journey into the medical world — a place he neither belongs to nor believes in. It is a classic story of a right man in a wrong place.

The film is reminiscent of Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School, with Munna’s gang always ready to help him out of a jam; but is much more fun. In one scene Munna is having trouble seeing an autopsy because there are so many students crowded around. When the professor tells him to get your own body” — he calls his mates and they promptly deliver — except the tourist isn’t quite dead. I haven’t laughed so hard in a while — and there are wonderful song and dance scenes. This isn’t low budget silliness like 80s Hong Kong movies, this is a very polished and sophisticated comedy that is heads and shoulders above the crap coming out of Hollywood this Spring Break. Highly recommended!