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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Let me start by saying that this one is probably the longest overdue movie write-up, coming to fruition five months after seeing 3 Idiots for the first time and a day after watching it again for the fourth.

My brother came home from work one day and just transformed into the movie's most effective huckster, even threatening us to miss one of the best things in life if we don't see it then and there. So I thought, why not give it a shot?

3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian comedy film first set out to be downloadable from YouTube (for a certain price) by its producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra a year after its release so as to prevent it from being bootlegged. A recent check with YouTube though revealed that only its official trailer, theme songs' music videos, interviews with the main cast and what have you are being posted on the site.(So I guess how my brother got hold of the film's copy is another story.Photobucket) Loosely based on the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat, it is ostensibly about true friendship, latched on the proverbial "those who are happy are the ones who follow their heart." It also touches on the kind of educational system India has at present, wherein one is "compelled" to be either a doctor or an engineer.

Indian box-office king Aamir Khan headlines this movie as Ranchhoddas Shamaldas Chanchad and someone else (spoiler alert!beh). The plot basically revolves around the search for him by his two college buddies Raju Rastogi and Farhan Qureshi (Sharman Joshi and R. Madhavan, respectively), with flashbacks intermittently used (Farhan here serves as the narrator) to tell the significance of finding him.

What really stands out in this film for me is its intelligent way of drawing out hearty laughs from its audience. Not only were the dialogues witty, they were also thought-provoking. For one, in the scene showing the first year students of the fictional Imperial College of Engineering gathered to hear the welcome speech of the college's director and in which the koel bird's life is aptly used as a metaphor for the students', Rancho raises a question that makes the director a little taken aback but does make sense: "Why didn't the astronauts use a pencil? They could've saved millions." This is also evident in this scene where Rancho defines in "a simple language" what a machine is and Chatur (Omi Vaidya) in his to-the-letter answer. But when the former then employs his description of a book by rote, the instructor is caught off-guard.

(An aside: I don't know if someone else has noticed it, but when you take the acronym of the Imperial College of Engineering you'll get ICE, the water frozen into solid state, a befitting metaphor for the passionless approach of the school to teaching engineering.)

This remarkable aspect of the movie is of course not possible if its actors were not able to deliver. I was impressed especially with Khan's rather flawless acting, let alone that he is in fact too old for the role (Google says he's already forty-something). Indeed the success of this movie has been in no small part thanks to the award-winning performances of its main cast, put to good use by its director Rajkumar Hirani.

I am not that oriented with "Bollywood" films, except that I know they are musicals, characterized by song-and-dance numbers. This film of course is no exception. But while at times this singing and dancing stuff of such films tends to annoy me (I do wonder why), the ones in this movie made me sing along; the dancing was fun to watch and the songs were rather catchy.

For good measure, 3 Idiots is thus far the best comedy film I've seen, making me entertained for the whole of its 160-minute run. It's not only long on laughs but is also well-supplied with heartwarming moments, with scenes that hit home. Its message is also not lost on me, that indeed "all is well" and taking our problems in stride will surely help us a lot. And to be honest, it felt like my enthusiasm towards life was replenished after watching the film.

Truly, 3 Idiots is one of the best films to date. While I might not be able to present here an excellent review of the film, I hope it's enough to whet your curiosity and watch it, just like I did.