3 Idiots

Lead Actors: Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, R Madhavan, Boman Irani, Kareena Kapoor
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Inspirational
As someone who read the book 3 years ago and with bad memory issues, I can safely saythis book is a decent take off on 5 Point Someone. For folks who suffer from ADHD and cannot read this write-up, this movie rightly fits (and very well) into the V V Chopra – Hirani genre of film making, worth your greens. 8/10. For folks rearing to go more, here’s why:

V V Chopra and Raju Hirani have chosen a plot which attracts a lot of young audience, and the maturity in the story entices the older generations too. Who does not love college-based stories! The story easily jogs the viewer’s memory and may make them relate to their own college days, or make a tween/teen look forward to college because it paints a nice picture about “college”. The protagonists, Rancho (Aamir), Farhan (Madhavan) and Sharman (Raju) are students of a premier Engineering college in India. The story is a tad bit of present and majorly a flashback in order of their 4 years in college, how they forge their friendships, their frustrations, fun and their interests.

The plot touches upon pertinent issues in the Indian education system which sometimes forces rote-learning, peer-competition, strict nature of professors (Eg. Boman Irani nicknamed ‘Virus’), etc which are prevalent in engineering colleges of today in India. The plot is light hearted, in that the viewer will experience emotions even through comic scenes and dramatic gestures like a strict professor finally breaking down, or after tribulations, folks meet with success – two of basic human feelings, which on a practical level, most of us empathize or rejoice with respectively. The movie can flatly be placed in the comic genre, and ‘gyaan’ is also presented in comical means – with a fellow student (challenged with Hindi communication) who mugs up a speech in Hindi, which Rancho and Farhan modify to teach Raju what consequences rote-learning has. Although the view may forget the lesson soon enough, the scene is very well delivered and leaves a lasting impression (especially with the choice of words). The movie plot also discusses parents’ genuine aspirations for their children, and how while growing up, we feel torn apart between parents’ wants and our own. But the story also carefully depicts how they only seek our happiness and are willing to sacrifice theirs, as always. The movie does not have a snazzy appeal, in that, the students are shown to be from modest backgrounds and are looking to have a good time in limited means. In short, the story is not designed to give a specific message, but shows student life at a Desi Engineering college and what their interests are.

ACTING. Aamir takes it all away. Rancho’s characterization is very strong. There are no shortcomings built into Rancho’s character, and this character displays a range of emotions and attributes from happiness, sadness, curiosity, love, intelligence, ‘cool’, confidence, boldness. Have we all not seen this guy in college? That’s Rancho. He’s friends with Farhan and Raju who try hard to make marks in their exams, chasing 91% and 95%, and end up in the bottom 2 slots. Rancho is not shown putting in effort (by comparative means), but manages be at top always and ends up as the Student of the Year at graduation. He tries to convince his friends and others that the order of precedence is to love what you are doing, which will help you excel in it, and success follows automatically. It’s a convincing motto in purview of the script, as Rancho displays a heart-felt interest in engineering, and with his projects – helping fly a peer’s mini-helicopter, opening up things that can be dismantled, the VIRUS inverter, and building ‘birthing technology’, are all visibly functional and he takes upon each of them one after the other, circumstantially or with intrinsic interest.

Farhan does not want to be an engineer, but a nature photographer instead. Familial pressure of settling down with a safe job lands him in this prestigious college, but he won’t go beyond being second from bottom of the ranklist. With constant nagging and ‘gyaan’ from Rancho, Farhan in his final semester skips his campus interviews to go face his parents with an offer to go do nature photography in Brazil, after graduation. Farhan’s character is mild, yet sensible and fun-loving. He looks upto Rancho and helps out his two friends when needed. Raju comes from a middle-class family where 10s of Rs. make a difference. The pressure to do well bogs him down always, and Sharman has displayed the emotions of ‘being torn apart’ beautifully. Sharman is an actor who can perform comedy as well as drama with great élan. Raju Hirani has been able to tap his potential very well. The story has not been overstretched to deliver a masala movie, possibly why there are no love elements for Farhan and Raju. The best part about the 3 characters is playing a much younger person in the movie. Specially Aamir, who is a 40 year old actor playing late teens or early 20s. It is learnt Aamir had to shed 7 to 8 kgs to look like a student. The mannerisms, looks, lingo, the walk, tone of the voice, energy are all very impressive. Madhavan and Sharman too seemed to have put in lot of effort but their timid characters of Farhan and Raju possibly let them be.

The Boman Irani – Hirani camp membership  Raison d’être is underscored with this movie. A professor who is strict, and expects performance and percentages from students gets challenged by Rancho on multiple accounts. On the verge of rusticating Raju and Rancho for stealing the question paper, Rancho saves the day by becoming mid-wife to deliver Virus’s (Boman’s) grand-son on a rainy power-out night, after quickly building tools. Virus is a ruthless professor whose pressure on a student leads him to commit suicide. Boman performs the role very well, and provides humour by sarcastic means. The facial expressions, low-tone, his anger, the 7.5 minute break scene, etc are especially laudable. Another noticeable character in the movie is Rancho’s love interest, Pia (Kareena) who is VIRUS’s daughter and is a medico. The movie is not so much about romance, so Pia’s character is passive. She adds decent amount of glamour to the script. Her expressions and dialogue delivery is familiar and light-weight enough to provide ‘cuteness’ to the romantic scenes between herself and Rancho. The chemistry between Kareena and Aamir is nothing like a first-time pair, possibly because of being established actors themselves. Another character in the movie that deserves a mention is Chatur/Silencer (Omi). Observe how different the older and younger Chatur look from each other, his make-up in both cases is absolutely make-believe. Chatur’s character is that of a competitive student who wants to be a top student by pushing others down. His tiffs with the trio are very comical, and Chatur adds humor with the help of his broken Hindi. His innate nature of being competitive and poking fun at underdogs continues till the fag end, and the trio makes fun of him start through end. Omi is easily the top contender for comic relief in this movie.

SCREENPLAY & DIRECTION.
 The movie begins in the present, goes to a flashback and comes back to the present. The sequence of events of 4 years of engineering and beyond is logical. The scenes are not so much about classrooms, as so much it is about like activities outside of the classroom – families, dorm fun like ragging, exam preparations, and life outside the college. Clichés like canteens, friend groups, gang wars, college-romance for Farhan, Raju or others, etc have been taken out of context for overall good. The story without these elements seems more pragmatic and hence helps firmly bind the umbilical cord of the viewer with the movie. The turn of events is one leading to the other, without any viewers-don’t-digest moments. With the story coming back to the present from the flashback, there are not gotcha moments either. Everything the story presents is plausible but provides some pleasant surprises in comical means, at the end. The story in present-II is more exciting with a definitive goal for the story, which is to find Rancho, who’s missing. This may be called a fallacy in the story – which is how engineering students of today (or from 90s) can just be torn apart from the group. If not for the entire group, how was it so easy for Farhan and Raju to let go and not try hard enough to track Rancho, who they loved so much and gave him the honour of ‘Jahanpanah, tussi great ho’! This is a gray question, so may not have definitive answer.”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
 by C.K. Muraleedharan is extremely refreshing, especially with scenes in the college campus, and ones in Simla. The plot has few characters, who individually have distinctive and subtly comic attributes (Eg. VIRUS). Muralee has a done a great job in using the right angles (Eg. 7.5 minute break scene) or making our trio look young, which is a credit to the make-up artistes too. The B/W film portions show the plight of affairs at Raju’s home in a rather comical way (and the viewer does not lose his smile, yet is digesting a socially pertinent issue being presented). The movie did not use any elaborate sets, except in 1 song, which is truly Bollywood. The song ‘Zoobi Zoobi’ has been captured in its true Bollywood sense, and the scenes with heavy emotion like the birthing scene, and VIRUS giving away his favorite pen to Rancho have adequate focus on the characters’ faces to display the characters’ feelings and expressions. Specifically, no scene in the movie appeared crowded with faces, and included the right colours to enhance the viewing experience.

The MUSICAL SCORE has a 60s feel sometimes. Shantanu Moitra slowly seems to be a permanent fixture in the VVC camp now. Although the film’s music hasn’t been much of a talk, the picturization of the songs is definitely refreshing. Except a couple of songs, they mean fun and it’s visible. Although, two songs seem to be catching on quick – Aal iz well and Zoobi Zoobi. The background score is sometimes amplified as compared to other scenes, to provide the dramatic effect which Hirani’s movies seem to comprise (Eg. Munnabhai series), and may remind us of scenes from those flicks. The music does although enhance the appeal and especially in comic scenes, where the score combined with B/W film highlight the satire about living in a lower middle-class family, and so does the Opera music during VIRUS’s 7.5 minutes breaks. These are just two examples though.

Who shoud watch:
 No age bar. It’s a clean movie, with some good advice if you can heed. If you are a very practical person, it’s still fun. The jokes are overall not vulgar, but a small percentage of them may be walking a thin line with the visuals. It’s a movie which does not require you to concentrate, but it does not do much to challenge your sense of logic either. The reason its 8/10 and not 10/10 is because some of the scenes are cliché or not well developed– as trivial yet impressionable how Chatur uses his phone, or the birthing scene, or Pia’s wedding scene in the end, etc. We would have expected more details but the story did well continue without, too. Overall, the movie is a pretty good watch and leaves pleasant memories in your mind from your own college days!
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  • "What is this..movie reviews and all? Chaa!! Do you ever think outside films?" - if this is exactly what you are itching to ask, may I interest you in my other blog Sandeepish?
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