St Joseph, Michigan, USA
Those of you who are in touch with ‘Bollywood’ films would probably agree to the fact that Rajkumar Hirani is a natural storyteller and when he combines his spontaneity with Aamir Khan, one of the finest actors of the Indian screen and a perfectionist, the result is sheer magic….3 idiots is the result of this ‘magic.’
The film is scripted jointly by Hirani himself and Abhijat Joshi. The story revolves around three friends from three different spheres of life; Rancho (Aamir Khan) the rich and brilliant kid, Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) the boy from a middle class family with retired parents and a sister to be wed and Farhan Qureshi (R Madhavan) a simple boy who takes up to study Engineering because his parents wants him to.
Rancho, Raju & Farhan are freshers in the most prestigious Engineering College of the country. They are roommates and enjoy a fine rapport among themselves. Rancho disagrees with the system of education in the college where the ‘bookish’ culture prevails. He doesn’t define a ‘machine’ in the language of engineering but explains day to day activities in life to explain what a ‘machine’ is and when confronted by the teacher he tries to define a ‘book’ in the same language. It is a hilarious scene and keeps the Indian audience thinking. He even indirectly blames the college principal for the suicide of a fellow student who was under tremendous mental pressure of not being able to complete a project in time, thus earning enough wraths for himself from Virus, as they call their principal Viru Sahasrabudhhe (Boman Irani).
The story rolls on fluently as the audience experiences different emotional and funny moments through the movie. Farhan’s dream to become a wild life photographer and Raju’s lack of confidence in life and Rancho’s brilliance in applying ‘the knowledge of Science’ in everything is all so well portrayed, with no exaggeration of facts or scenes. Hirani is known for his flawless editing from the ‘Munnabhai’ days and it is once again proved.
Kareena Kapoor has always excelled when she has a ‘down to earth’ role to play, be it in Chameli or even Omkara. Even though she doesn’t have a major role here, she carries it pretty well and excels here too as Pia, a medical student and the daughter of the principal. She is also Rancho’s love interest; a love that never uses the ‘I love you’ phrase yet speaks volumes on it. A typical Bollywood style ‘chiffon saree clad’ rain dance kind of scene appears from nowhere, but it doesn’t spoil the mood of the film. The song is beautiful but not well picturised, could have been done better. But again, Hirani’s films do not have great song & dance scenes ever.
The surprise element is perhaps Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya) the nerd who is Rancho’s rival and loathes him for topping all exams inspite of fooling around. This is Omi’s first venture into the world of Bollywood and it goes without saying that he just does a fantastic job. His expressions of frustration, the glee in being the teacher’s favorite and his jealousies are all very well expressed. The way he reads out the ‘teachers’ day’ speech without even understanding what he was reading was acted out excellently leaving the audience roaring with laughter.
There is a small flaw in the film but to me it is certainly pardonable keeping in mind the amount of absurdities we see in our films. It’s the scene where engineering students (Rancho, Raju & Farhan) deliver a baby for Mona (Pia’s sister) with the help of a webcam, a vacuum cleaner, invertor and instructions from the would be Doctor Pia.
The catch phrase of the film ‘aal izz well’ is used well and has perhaps become very popular among everyone.
Aamir Khan is superb, as usual. His emotions, whether it’s funny or sad or serious, are all expressed so perfectly that it leaves the audience asking for more from this genius. Joshi, Madhavan, Kareena, Omi, the nerd and the principal support him throughout the film by their excellent individual performances. The dialogues are warm, witty, hilarious and sometimes a little ‘raw’ but it goes perfectly with the script and is just fantastic.
As I wrote earlier, Hirani’s films are not really known for its music or dance, so Shantanu Moitra does his job pretty well in a couple of foot tapping music in ‘Aal izz well’ and the ‘Zoobi Doobi’ numbers.
Kudos to the cinematographer CK Muralidharan for taking the audience on a visual trip to Ladakh…the lake and the mountains just look fabulous.
Finally, the film is said to be loosely based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel ‘Five Point someone’ and there were lot of controversies earlier regarding this, fortunately it has all died down.
Overall, a fantastic film that makes the audience think, laugh, cry and at the end say ‘Aal izz Well’ (all is well).
The article was first published in PVLDCINE MONDE of California