It’s been a week since 3 Idiots released, and I’ve been dying to write about it. The film in itself is a decent watch, a complete masala entertainer. Now there is nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed it, but when it got a little too preachy, I thought, “Wait, that doesn’t fit in.”
I’ve always felt that Raju Hirani’s premises for criticism have been different from others, and that he wants to ‘shed light’ on some problems (for want of a better word) facing the society. He did it popularly enough with the Munnabhai series (though I was surprised, since the first film hit out at doctors, who are revered in our society and are equated to God). In this film too, the theme he chooses couldn’t have had better relevance. There are lakhs of engineers who graduate every year in our country, and I can guarantee that at least 50% of them either don’t have the aptitude for it, or were forced into it, or both. In fact, most people have their "Oops! Why did I do engineering" moment right into their 2nd or 3rd year and the feeling ironically becomes stronger once you graduate. All eej well, till now.
- The principal is portrayed as a heartless swine, completely devoid of human emotions. First flaw. No principal, (and I repeat NONE) can be so heartless, as to not allow a student some leeway in case of a family emergency. The ‘khaana chhod diya kya’ argument is bizarre. I’m from an NIT myself, one of the ‘premier institutes’ in the country, and I’ve never seen such behaviour in any of my professors. They might be strict, but not inhuman. Then you might ask why a grade ‘A’ actor like Boman is reduced to a caricature? Because Indian films have a tendency to classify everything distinctly under either black or white. And in order that Aamir’s arguments carry more weight and have more impact, a demon had to be created. And who better to be the demon than the principal? If you’ve read 1984, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There always needs to be an Emmanuel Goldstein to help move your cause forward.
- This brings me to my second argument. The incessant need to thrust ‘goodness’ into your face to help emphasise the point. Aamir is the brilliant student, the rebel who still manages to top the class. But why go ahead and make him a gardener’s son? Why couldn’t he be a normal middle class kid? Does being well off reduce the credibility of his achievements? The film almost forces you to agree with them. Yes, their point is taken, but was there a need to go over-the-top? I’m completely for a reform in education, and am one of the few ‘idiots’ (to borrow the terminology from the film) who have followed their passion and not packages. So technically, I should be the first one to go ‘Yay! Hi – fi’ about the film. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t do it.
- Aamir seems to be a superhuman who can virtually do anything from building robots, to topping the class to convincing people their fiancés were useless (hello?) and even delivering children (Did you notice the subtle advertising by Airtel – ringtones and the WiFi modem?). Aamir even takes on the principal, openly accusing him of murder, and throwing in statistics about suicides. Again, the director falls prey to the ‘star syndrome’. Aamir plays a character 22 years younger to himself. Weren’t there any younger actors who could play the role? And for me, Aamir’s didn’t have much to do. His character is written in such a manner, that whatever he does seems cool (breaking into the principal’s office, peeing in his house).
- The film has three people commit suicide (two successful in doing so) leading all non – engineers to think that whenever an engineer fails, he tries to kill himself (Notice the ‘he’. Girls don’t fail. They study hard. I give them that). While there is a lot of pressure to do well in college, nothing justifies killing yourself. After all, it’s only a bloody exam. This is one point where I agreed with the film, that parents shouldn’t have binary opinions about their child’s career (engineer or doctor). There are a plethora of career options available. Not everyone is as understanding as my parents (or Madhavan’s parents in the film), and it takes a few months’ time for parents to adjust to your choice. I’ve learnt it through personal experience. So mums and dads, let your children make their own mistakes.
- The film targets the youth (of which I’m also a part). Most must have lapped it up and must already be hatching ‘cool ways’ to make life hell for the teachers and be ‘rebels’. I’d like to ask them:
When was the last time you read something not for the exams, but for the sake of knowledge?
Have you ever cringed at the fact that the questions asked in the exam aren’t from the ‘notes that teacher gave in class’?
Have you asked for the paper pattern, and fumed when the teacher did not ‘follow the pattern’?
Have you ever been upset that the question paper didn’t repeat the questions from previous years’ papers?
When was the last time you worked on a project that was wasn’t ripped off from Google? (I’m not acting holier than thou. I’ve done it too.)
PS: Lastly, most of the jokes are stale. The ‘pencil in space’ joke came around as an internet forward when we were in 8th.
I might be completely wrong. In that case, you are more than welcome to explain it to me. I love being proven wrong!
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia