Live life, love life, and above all, don't forget to laugh along the way!
Published November 27th 2012
I love films that draw me into the lives of the protagonists and subtly take me on a ride with them. To me, a good film makes me forget that where I am, what I am doing and who I am for that 2 hours or so. I cry and laugh with the characters. The actors on screen personify their characters and I cannot imagine them in any other role. 3 Idiots is one film that did exactly this.
Released in 2009, 3 Idiots is an Indian comedy-drama surrounding the lives of three College friends, Farhan, Raju and Rancho. It is loosely adapted from the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat.
The film starts some years after the trio have graduated, but Rancho has somehow vanished along the way. In the exciting opening sequences, word emerges of Rancho's whereabouts. Raju runs around pants-less and Farhan pulls a stunt worthy of Hollywood on an airplane as they charge off hot on the trail of their missing friend.
The film then follows the three friends from when they first met at the residences of the Imperial College of Engineering. In between, they get up to the usual mischief. The film explains that each of the trio is studying engineering for different reasons. Farhan is studying engineering to fulfil his family's wishes; Raju comes from a poor family and being an engineer will pull his family from poverty; and Rancho is studying because he is passionate about engineering. This sets the stage for the plot later on.
At College, they cross paths with various characters. The Dean of the College, Professor Viru "Virus" Sahastrabuddhe is an overachiever, having taught himself to write with both hands to save time, among other skills. He has his own idea of the perfect student and routinely patronizes students who do not meet his criteria. This comes down to most of the students at the College. Fellow student, Chatur "Silencer" Ramalingam, provides the comedic element of the film. Chatur is ambitious and believes that textbook memorization of engineering concepts is the way to success. He considers himself superior to others at the university, taking shortcuts to impress the Dean. His efforts often make him the butt of jokes and pranks among the trio, one of which earns him the nickname "Silencer". Of course, no film is complete without romance, and this is provided by the appearance of Pia, Professor's Viru's beautiful and intelligent daughter, with whom Rancho falls in love.
In the middle of all these, they crash a wedding, deliver a baby on a makeshift operating table, settle a bet, fall in love and have hopes and dreams broken, all in Bollywood style. The film draws on themes of filial piety, obedience, friendship and the importance of following your heart. It also subtly hints that perhaps while we study, not all of us learn. The trio live, laugh and love with each other while discovering more about themselves. As usual, there is dancing, music, drama, a catchy phrase and soaring breath-taking scenery. The film ends with several twists and leaves you inspired to take a closer look at your life.
The film should be available at your local video rental store in the foreign film section. English subtitles available on the DVD.