Friday, January 22, 2010

3 Idiots: After-thoughts

Saari umra hum mar mar ke jee liye
ek pal to ab hamein jeene do jeene do
I heard a lot about it by my non-TJY friends while I was on the yatra. I also listened to and loved the ‘give me some sunshine’ being played on the PA system almost everyday while on the yatra! The euphoria which it created made me finally watch it. Yes, finally, saw ‘3 Idiots’ today. [I wish we had a way to make ‘3’ capital to indicate that ‘3 idiots’ is a proper noun and avoid confusion, if any]. But that was not the first thing which made me curious about the movie. Apart from Aamir Khan, despite his short-term-sanity-loss in Ghajini, the innovative way of promoting the movie drew me towards the 3 Idiots.

Sticking ‘Capacity: 3 Idiots’ behind autos was pretty innovative. It’s better than ‘Sanam Bewafa’ written on the auto's black backs with a heart pierced by an arrow. In addition to promoting the movie, it also had a safety message. People who have traveled in shared-autos in HiTec City, Hyderabad would know risky it is, in more than one way, to travel in an autorickshaws with 9 other people! Also, meeting the local people (instead of going to the high profile parties) was also unique. Given the theme of the movie and the fact that the movie viewers are common people who look up to such ‘starts’, it made sense to promote the movie that way. I think this is the first time such marketing techniques which involve common people was use. However, conventional way of marketing - creating alternate reality game, merchandising, etc - was also used.

‘3 Idiots’ is a good commercial movie. Generally, ‘good’ and ‘commercial movie’ don’t go together and are considered antonyms in some purists' dictionary.

The theme of 3 Idiots is not only fresh but also very relevant. Somehow, there is this obsession in India to go for engineering (and, perhaps, then MBA). Every parent wants his child to be either an engineer or a doctor. The most ‘logical’ think for a student to do if he’s getting good academic score consistently is to go for engineering or medical. A lot of other social issues were highlighted – parental pressure, teacher’s pressure and marks centric exam system (and education system, as a whole) which award the one who can cram the most. By hinting that the house of Raju (Sharman Joshi) was like that showed in a typical 1950’s film, Rajkumar Hirani showed that the evils of dowry still haunt India. Poor public healthcare facilities and inflation of food prices were also hinted upon in the form of comedy. Raising social problems with the help of humor is a rare art in Bollywood.

The music, the timing and the lyrics of the songs are amazing. Full marks to Swanand Kirkire for the poignant lyrics and Shantanu Moitra for the apt music. Aamir khan, Madhavan and Sharman Joshi did look like a college students. All the actors, including (surprisingly) Kareena Kapoor acted well. Scattering the use of science in daily life - like using the fact that salt water is a good conductor of electricity, etc – was very good which, I am sure, a lot of educational institutes will adopt. The story was well paced. The screenplay was very good. Moving the story back and forth in time added the element of curiosity to the movie as the audience continuously tries to join the dots. The climax of the film - Mona Singh's delivery - was like the final engineering exam! It covered a lot of concepts of engineering!

If Yash Raj were to move with time, back in 1990s, I would have projected them to make movies like ‘3 Idiots’. However, apart from the costumes, not much changed. 3 Idiots had all the basic elements of a Yash Raj movie and would perhaps bear the same criticism of critics that Yash Raj movies bear. 3 Idiots is a movie depicting an ‘ideal’ scenario and not a real one. 3 idiots ask people to follow their dreams. Great. Nothing wrong with it. But, from what I understand, the problem is that not many people know what their dreams are. Our dreams are limited by our environment and resources. A poor person who has to struggle to get his daily bread cannot dream of being a wild life photographer. Even, children form well-to-do backgrounds don’t know what career options are available. They are not exposed to a variety of things so that they can choose. All they are exposed to is Physics, Chemistry, Maths and the JEEs. In the movie, the protagonists knew their calling. This is an ideal scenario. This is similar to Raj Suri’s ideal love for Tani in Rab-ne, Veera’s passion for cricket in Dil-Bole and the love between Veer and Zaara. Ideal. Perfect. But not real. Changing of Boman Irani’s heart had shades of Mohabbatein. The ending also had Yash-Raj flavour to it. All the three 'heroes' are successful. Madhavan had wildlife photography books to his name, Sharman was successful, Aanir was super-successful, Boman Irani became a changed man (like Narayan Shankar of Mohabbatein) and most importantly, Aamir - Kareena got together. Like is Johar-YashRaj films, here also, the heroine gets to know of her hero on the day of her wedding with a worthless guy and elopes to go to her hero who fortunately is still not married!

The climax of the film was in someway like the 'Home Alone' movies. In 'Home Alone' the 'kid' uses available equipments in a very innovative way to save himself from the robbers. In 3 idiots also, Aamir uses various instruments like vacuum cleaner, camera blower, car batteries, inverters, web cam, etc to perform the delivery!

Overall, it's a paisa wasool movie. It would force you to think whether the work you are doing is what you really love. And, whether your wife and your girlfriend are the same!
Give me some sunshine give me some rain
Give me anther chance I want to grow up once again
PS: Just as I have not mentioned five point someone anywhere 'in' the review, the movie also had nothing to do with the book. The characters were picked up from there but the over-all plot and treatment was completely different.


Debashis January 22, 2010 at 1:15 PM  

Cant agree with you Prashant. I thought the movie borrowed heavily from the book. Chetan Bhagat did not get due credit.
But nice point made:
"It would force you to think whether the work you are doing is what you really love. And, whether your wife and your girlfriend are the same!"

Anitha January 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM  

Nice review Prashant. But somehow, I don't like referring the climax scene to HomeAlone.
And movie may not follow the book completely but it borrows so many things from book like trying to steal question paper, kareena's bro suicide, raju jumping off building etc;
But movie is far far better and interesting than book.

pallav January 22, 2010 at 3:36 PM  

well, doing what you love is not a new concept, it is mentioned by any "big" person in whatever speech they give, being adapted in a movie is a novel thing, i agree but that gets shadowed in the slapstick humor and the insensitive portrayal of suicides and poverty.

Besides, some of the elements in the movie like aamir khan talking to the director and calling him a murderer, he risking another student's career (the chamatkar speech) are very hindi filmish like, and while we are seeing a continuous progression with movies like DevD, Chak De etc, this is definetly a step back.

I guess I am being a little too harsh on the movie but this is what i offense to millions of fans of the movie across the nation.

deicider January 22, 2010 at 8:50 PM  

3 Idoits wasn't really idiotic at all.
Had strains of Munnabhai to it,which was perfectly enjoyable.
The oin with the social isues like someone getting a fake degree was also touched upon.Perhaps it is too uch to expect al social relities in a movie and humour certainly balms the horific social issues that we face,for details read "Studens suicide rate rise in Maharashtra" but all in all it was medicine in the form of bhel puri,chatpata and effective.

Random Thoughts of a Humdrum mind January 22, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

The movie is a typical Vinod chopra's style..too much of melodrama...One concept that I felt was very interesting.. at the end there were(at least) two people who were successful.. Ofcourse (Rancho) the protagonist.. But still (Chatur) was also successful.. So, If you are not creative enough, you can easily"mug" and be successful.(so good news for all students, don't get disheartened)
Moreover, I really liked VIRUS's last remark on the usage of pencil in space. very innovative.
Refering to Five point someone.. Of course the movie has borrowed a lot of things but still plot is different.. I would have loved to see the ending of the novel and ending of the movie to be similar..
@anitha.. Everyone has its own interpretation of books, so its not wise to compare two pieces of art.

Sheetal Kamat January 23, 2010 at 2:00 AM  

I cant agree with you more on this... I think the movie had lot of idealism, yet it was done in much subtle way or say intriguing way that you dont think it is kind of extreme.. until you come out of the movie hall and start processing it again :)
Just like you, me too thinks that even though the characters and few scene ideas being from the book, the movie was completely fresh story... I guess best bollywood movie of 2009

Prashant Mehta January 23, 2010 at 2:57 AM  

Debashis ji
Well, i don't deny the connection between the two. (Yes, i admit that this point didn't come out in the first draft of the post and was later corrected). But the connection ends where the story begin. It's a different story taking the simmilar characters.


Anitha ji

Well, i enjoyed both the book and the movie. Both were 'good commercial' pieces of art.

pallav ji
I agree. There are a lot of 'filmy' elements in the movie. That's what, perhaps, gave the movie the monitory success. however, i wouldn't call it a step back. Look at it from the reference frame of Ghajini. It's a huge leap forward :)

deicider ji

Yes. It did have strains of munnbhai.

but all in all it was medicine in the form of bhel puri,chatpata and effective.

Nicely put!

Random Thoughts of a Humdrum mind ji
Yeah, that was well portrayed. The movie didn't take a radical stance on mugging issue. It acknowledged the stupidity prevalent in the corporate world :)

Yeah, Virus' last remark was innovative. I had read this in a forwarded email which claimed that Russia proposed the use of pencil and proved its superiority against US who was busy researching a pen to write with in space. When i saw this scene where Aamir Khan replies why they don't use pen, i though the movie is a collection of forwarded emails. Even the poetry on fart by chatur was not new.

Sheetal Kamat ji

Thanks! I found Delhi-6 better than this one.

Biswajit Biswas January 24, 2010 at 11:17 PM  

I will differ a bit with you on the fact the movie is totally different from the novel, in fact it have lot of instances directly taken from the book.
I think Indian cinema is coming out of ages as it is portraying very serious social issues in a lighter mode so that everybody can enjoy it while watching it and think over it when coming out of the theater.One such movie was "Welcome to Sajjanpur".
Otherwise social issues were always portrayed in a darker shade.

Aritra Das January 25, 2010 at 1:00 AM  

Nice review Prashant....

#Regarding FPS and 3 Idiots
The similarity between the novel and the movie were the various incidents, which were partially or fully lifted from the movie.... however, the central storyline of the movie does not bear any resemblance to five point someone...

#Regarding 3 Idiots
The movie was overall a good one, with some nice and very important messages... however, as rightly mentioned by Prashant, it was too ideal... the weakest part in the movie was, in fact, Aamir's character - it was too ideal to be true... also the comedy seemed a bit cheap and going overboard at times....

Alpesh January 25, 2010 at 1:30 AM  

Nice review prashant,Yash raj and raju hirani's connectivity is also well framed..but u missed mentioning abt khakhra,dhokla and phaphda dialogue :-)

Prashant Mehta January 25, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

Biswajit Biswas ji

I wouldn't compare Welcome to Sajjanpur with 3 Idiots. Welcome to Sajjanpur, IMHO, is a far far better movie.

Aritra Das ji

I agree. The plot doesn't bear any resemblance.

The comedy, I thought, was lifted from forwarded emails and Laughter Challenge. The use of pencil in space was a popular forward which showed how 'innovative' Russia is. The fart 'shloka' was also not new. The replaced words speech by Chatur was inspired from Laughter Challenge.

Alpesh ji

Ahaa.. I found that dialogue really hilarious!

manya January 31, 2010 at 7:27 AM  

It is a nice big review Prashant. But I do not agree with the idea that finding one's calling is such a big deal. I can say that because I have changed tracks and am doing exactly what I wanted to do in life. Moreover, you do not need to get all your answers when you are in school, but you should at least have some passion, feeling or inclination to do something in life. You can figure it out in college, after college or even 10 years after graduating- the important thing is figuring it out. I think the movie talks about this passiveness- that feeling where you do not want to push yourself to think what you want to do. It is wrong to say that there are no opportunities apart from engg. in India. In fact how many people who are working in the Software industry actually do it because they love it or want to do it. It is just a routine- a chore that pays them well to buy movie tickets every weekend and eat dinners are plush restaurants. I really think a lot of people do not know what they want to do simply because they do not want to think about it. Jaisa chal raha hai chalne do....paise mil rahe hain..aish kar rahe hain...aur kya chahiye!

Unless people themselves think and want to try, it is wrong to blame parents, society, environment and country.

Sridhar Iyer January 31, 2010 at 9:58 PM  

nice one bro.....

check out mine

second blog is on 3 idiots....

hitesh rawat February 13, 2010 at 12:27 AM  

though this one was new and abreast with the newer was not less than the original one......i have seen many ppl coming and criticizing this wtf...why are ppl even comparing them........??? i wouldn't do that.....

loved the Salman khan bit of the video.....that was touching.....

Prashant Mehta February 13, 2010 at 8:17 PM  

hitesh rawat ji
I guess you wanted to comment on Phir Mile Sur post :)

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