Wednesday, December 30, 2009

5 Points by Someone - Why you should take '3 Idiots' with a pinch of salt

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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).
  1. 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.
  1. 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


srikanth said...

not much to prove u wrong. that unreal project thing i've experienced same thing so wont ever forget that. as for d other points..

1. bollywood hardly has shades of grey in d character.

2. always wanna milk out the "empathy" or "sympathy" (whichever is right) out of the audience.

3. over the top stuff expected ALWAYS ..cant help.

5. have read most engg books like that marks will show i never studied FOR exam.
joke is 1st year notes hi nahi liya. and needless to say i just managed.

i'm not gonna kill u next time we meet..bach gaya sala ;)

rvnd said...

NOT done thsi time SSD.. nope.. not digested.

will talk over chat...

SSD said...

@Srikanth - I guess yeah. Over the top for sure.

@rvnd - Thik hai. Chat it is

Digant Trivedi said...

I see no potential flaw in it, but for the fact that you consider Hindi (read bollywood) movies as "Cinema", synonymous to art or anything that makes you 'think'. It, as a matter of fact is presumptious of us. And just to tell you, I like your five points, completely just. Most of us just do it for the sake of exams and nothing more.

Now, I've got ships to build and people to handle. Cheerio!

Anant said...

Well, as Digant said, I wouldn't even go to such an extent to dissect a Hindi movie.

The 3-suicide thing got me really disappointed. Does Raju Hirani think that given the same circumstances and scenario, 3 completely different entities will behave in the same way?
If it were not Raju Hirani, but a thinker or maker of Art (maybe Stanley Kubrick of A Clockwork Orange), I'd have ventured another step and gone on to say - what do they think? That given the same inputs to 3 unique individuals, the same output is obtained? Does that mean they're saying engineers in this country are not actually humans but machines? Which is quite true, and makes sense. But knowing how superficial Raju Hirani & Co dealt with the situation, obviously they didn't intend to mean that - so I won't say it.

About the subtlety - I assume you were being sarcastic about it - I noticed that when the Airtel ringtone played in the movie, all other noise/score/sound was cut out, and the Airtel USB stick was the centre of the screen. Whooo.

Your own blog entry remind me of so much our Munnabhai did in his first venture.

There were a lot of character flaws which you correctly pointed out.

But more gaping were the logical flaws. On the day they met after nearly 10 (or 8 or 7 years, whatever) years, the same day Racho's father had to die. Not only that, Kareena Kapoor chose the same day and the same groom (after their engagement was broken 10 years back mind you) to get married.
Okay, these may not be "logical" flaws, but one-in-twenty-trillion chance coincidence. But, could anyone please explain how they could travel from Delhi to Simla to Ladakh mid-way to Manali and back to Ladakh all in a day, all in the same atmosphere and weather condition and direction of the sun?

The most hilarious part of the movie for me was the balaatkaar and sthan piece. Then again, one can as well watch a stand-up comedy (preferably of Raju Shrivastav) than watch 3 idiots for THIS.

And I feel, even the ragging scene and camaraderie present in a hostel wasn't shown up to the mark.

Aamir Khan always has something subtle to offer in every role of his. This time it was the scratching of his hair with his left hand (I think) - somehow, even that looked artificial.

The more I think of this, even the somewhat-acceptable-but-stale jokes become sour.

pawan said...

I guess 99.99% of Indian cinema are made just for the sake of entertainment. They should add a disclaimer at the start stating "None of the incidents can be possible in the real life, all izz not well :|"

But just for the sake of a brainless comedy, 3 idiots makes some sense, it isn't serious cinema, it's just a business venture (I've noticed the airtel thingy too!)

Even the animation where one sperm cell swims faster is strictly copied from a newspapers cartoon, when Michael Phelps won "too" many Olympic golds.

Good post tho :D
Congo on the tangy Tuesday pic :)

Gyanban said...

3I is not a Michael Moore documentary you see.
If you dissected a Syriana or F'te 9/11 then it is understandable.

It s to be viewed just as a entertaining movie, simple.

SSD said...

@Pawan Thanks!
The entertainment part is fine. But they also choose to atatch a message to it, and if they do it, then it has to be at least done with better manner, and not the over-the-top way as in the film.

But some moments do bring back my memories from my VNIT days.

@Gyanban I tried to consider it as a work of art. Aamir has been claiming all over the place that the film is to inspire people. But we there is way too much of emotional fingerpointing, which could have been handled in a better manner.

Hiranmay Koparkar said...

SSD : congo on ur selection :) ...
as a blogger ur "dedication and thinking gone behind a blog post" is appreciated but does a hindi entertainment movie deserve to be dissected thus ... just watch n njoy is my motto for bollywood ...
after all u pay 150 to 200 for 3 hrs :))
n yes ur 5 point(s) (someone) are very very valid !

SSD said...

If considered as art, then yes. And films are art.
These are just my thoughts man. Your opinion may completely differ. One man's food is another man's poison they say na :)

lil' b... said...

agree with u on the fact that they cud have got someone other than aamir khan...even the trailers hyped his role to such an extent that i didn't really appreciate his performance. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi and Omi (Chatur Ramalingam) were brilliant-again thats prob coz the film was shown as an 'Aamir Khan' film....

MADHU RAO | (INDImag.COM) said...

Good to see a few more souls who did not lap up 3i like the rest of the India :-)

Couldn't agree more ! In fact we have 2 articles -- a scathing review about the lack of logic and another satirical piece ...

Do let us know if you like em..

Cheers and congrats on BlogAdda pick :-)


SSD said...

@Madhu Thanks. Will chek out your mag in some time.

Vasavadatta said...

I finally saw it this sunday. The movie sucks. For those who played the "it-is-bollywood-it-is-entertaining-ooooh-its-aamir-khan" card, it sucked from that angle too.

The humor was very deliberate and stale, like the electric motor joke which every engineering college from the start of time has claimed as its own.

If anyone was really so preachy in college, he'd be avoided like the plague. The vacuum cleaner assisted delivery was the icing on the puke-cake.

I actually parted with hard(ly) earned cash to see the movie, which only makes it worse.

Grace Personified said...

had been waiting to read this and now have finally seen the movie.
we're used to the OTT bollywood stuff et al, so lets not go there.
stale jokes which lose their appeal after a point (and the point differs from person to person,i bet), the constant 'eureka' expression on aamir's face, and in general the second half of the movie were totally avoidable.

Mufaddal said...

Umm i dunno i like different forms of cinema and stuff ... and yeah i'd agre with quite a few gripes over here but on the whole i enjoyed the film (polar opposite vasa). Indian Cinema is like Indian Food na.. thats why we call them Masala flicks... subtle ones are good but i think u need the unnecessarily loud ones too sometimes

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

I understand that the movie might not have appealed to you...but then I guess we must watch films just as a mtter of fact. You cannot deny that Aamir and other actors were bad. Neither can you deny that the story was very bad...I mean it was fairly good.