Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Cast: Aamir Khan (Ranchoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad)
Madhavan (Farhan Qureshi)
Sharman Joshi (Raju Rastogi)
Boman Irani (Viru Sahastrabuddhe)
Kareena Kapoor (Pia Sahastrabuddhe)
Omi Vaidya (Chatur Ramalingam)
3 Idiots was definitely the most anticipated film of the year. As usual, Aamir Khan went forward with his plans for world domination by publicizing the movie at a huge level, thus raising the expectations of the masses. But most importantly, the Aamir Khan-Raju Hirani partnership was seen as the harbinger of the revival of the Bollywood economy, which had taken a plunge in 2009.
3 Idiots has an ingenious plot which does seem weird at sometimes, but is acceptable, nevertheless. Aamir Khan plays Ranchoddas “Rancho” Shyamaldas Chanchad, who becomes an idol for his friends and roommates Raju (played by S-her-man Joshi) and, especially, Farhan (played by Mad-havan), in the Imperial College of Engineering (based loosely on the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi). All three friends are from different backgrounds and are in the college (which has Boman Irani playing Viru, the dean) for their own reasons – both Raju and Farhan “first aana chahte hain“, and Rancho comes for the sole purpose of becoming a good engineer. Towards the middle of the film, Rancho mysteriously disappears, and is hunted down by Raju and Farhan.
As you can see, I didn’t mention Kareena Kapoor anywhere in the plot. Why? Because it’s not important. That’s why. If her character had been ripped apart from the film completely, 3 Idiots would have been considerably shorter by at least twenty minutes, and thus, more enjoyable. In fact, Kareena Kapoor exists because there’s an unwritten rule in Bollywood.
A Bollywood film cannot be a commercial success unless it stars a female lead who plays the male lead’s love interest.
Rajkumar Hirani uses that trademark feel-good-film style direction which we were acquainted with in his successful Munnabhai series. The plot swiftly alternates between light and heavy moments, without boring you one bit. Most of the jokes are clichéd, but the sheer performance given by the film’s cast pulls off even cheap and amateurish jokes superbly, leaving you in splits. Boman Irani is in fine form as the typical college dean, complete with a lifp and high-waist trousers. The fine actor he is, Aamir Khan pulls off the easy-going, happy-go-lucky Rancho’s character effortlessly, without letting you have the impression that he is forty, and is playing a character of nearly half his age. Madhavan and and Sharman Joshi deliver good performances too, as does Kareena Kapoor, although she has a small role to play).
But 3 Idiots suffers from some weird WTF (pardon my French) moments. Rancho’s “All Iz Well” [sic] mantra appears to be a nice little way to calm your heart and deal with situations, but it is taken a tad
too far, where the mere utterance of the word causes a baby to kick in its mother’s tummy. There’s a scene involving a paralyzed man being driven on a scooter to hospital without considering the fact that some infection will lead to certain death. Not only that, but the scooter rams straight into Fortis Hospital, into the patients’ ward, brushing security as if it were trivial to concentrate on such matters. As even the Father of the Internet pointed out, it showcases how “important” security is for Fortis. There are shots where the camera deliberately hangs over a Fortis sign, or an AirTel USB Internet modem (twice). But the most unbelievable bit of all was the delivery of a table using a vacuum cleaner running on car batteries on a ping-pong table. Yes. You heard it. A ping-pong table, which, incidentally, also fell apart during one of the scenes in the film. Rancho’s character is far too perfect for the real world. He goes on to become the most successful of them all, despite his happy-go-lucky attitude. He tops the class, wins everybody’s hearts, makes parents happy, forces Farhan to change his entire career, becomes a super-successful scientist and still gets the girl? I don’t think so.
Most of the story is told in a flashback form, with Farhan reciting the story and skipping over to reality at regular intervals. The suspense of what happens next keeps you hooked on.
But you know what really saves 3 Idiots? You know what? Not only the light-hearted moments, but the real star and revelation Omi Vaidya, who plays Chatur Ramalingam, and is the butt of most jokes. An NRI whose knowledge of Hindi language is negligible, Chatur is the serious guy in the class, always studying and aiming to become the champion. In addition to his arresting performance, 3 Idiots works because it makes an emotional connection with the audience, and wittily stressing at pointed jabs towards our grading system. The message it ultimately delivers is true, and something that we need to think about. Which is why, friends, 3 Idiots is a movie you simply have to watch for the sheer entertainment it offers. Rajkumar Hirani has made better films, and I have seen better films.
Watch the 3 Idiots Theatrical Trailer
Detailed Ratings [Out of 10]
Overall Rating: 8.4/10 (Very Good)
And, by the way, 3 Idiots has become so famous, BoingBoing has a post about it, urging readers to go and see it, even if they don’t speak English.
International Movie Database : 8.1/10
Times of India (Nikhat Kazmi) : 5/5
Hindustan Times (Mayank Shekhar) : 3.5/5
BollywoodHungama (Taran Adarsh) : 4.5/5
CNN-IBN (Rajeev Masand) : 3/5