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Friday, December 25, 2009

All is well…

I’ve always resolutely maintained that Chetan Bhagat’s books are not worth the paper that they are printed on. However, I got the chance to watch ‘3 Idiots’ – a movie allegedly based on his book ‘5-point someone’. I went in with bated breath, with a gaggle of friends, fearing the worst was about to hit me.

Thankfully, I can still maintain that Mr. Bhagat is only marginally better than a monkey let loose with a typewriter. According to the film-maker, the movie has only 5 percent in common with the book. (Perhaps, that’s why I felt that the movie was only about 90-95 percent ‘there’ in terms of quality.)

The tale of a maverick, madcap student who gets admission to one of the most prestigious engineering colleges in India – the Imperial College of Engineering (ICE) and proceeds to question every norm, every tradition and everything else mired in ‘tradition’ is well-told by Rajkumar Hirani. Of course, almost every institute has some stereotypes:

a) A tyrant of a director/principal who is a reincarnation of Hitler

b) The most studious chap in the class who wants to win, win, and WIN all the time

c) Some funny chaps who don’t believe in studying, but are game enough for fun

d) A crazy chap who doesn’t believe in blind authority

At face value, none of these is unique. But, the way Aamir Khan portrays the role of the maverick, Rannchhod Chachar (Rancho), Sharman Joshi and Madhavan – his madcap friends, and Boman Irani the tyrant is fresh. And funny. In parts.

Almost every character – be it the chaiwallah or the principal’s lissome daughter is well-written and contributes something to the story. I did think that this was one of Boman Irani’s less likeable performances, with an affected lisp ostensibly inspired by Shahid Kapoor in Kaminey, and a perpetually grumpy expression that is reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons.

But Rancho is an endearing character throughout. Right from the moment he electrocutes a senior wanting to rag him, to when he makes a point to the principal in his inimitable style, to when he uses his innovation to help out with a classmate’s project – a toy helicopter, he displays various sides of his personality. He can be cocky, witty, blasphemous, and practical – all at the same time. One gets to learn the phrase ‘Aaal eej wellll’ (All is well) that makes an appearance throughout the movie, from one of Rancho’s anecdotes.

The second half takes us on a journey with his friends and his love-interest, Pia (Kareena) who are trying to trace him down after 10 years of his disappearance, right after college. The movie has its set of highs, lows, emotional moments, laughs, and a few scenes that can be best described as ‘hammy’. Still, without revealing any further, I must say that the movie is a must-watch.

Yes, if you are a prude, you will find some jokes slightly offensive or below-the-belt. If you need to watch ‘realistic’ movies, this movie will give you a few of those rolling-your-eyes-in-exasperation kind of moments. If you are a college student or were a college student ever, you should be able to relate to the happenings.

The movie is shot in a variety of locations, that are all pleasing to the eye. From the college hostels of IIM-Bangalore, to Connaught Place in Delhi, and the scenic locales of Ladakh – everything is awesome. The music is eminently hummable (even in my eminently horrendous voice).

The bottomline is that you are being the 4th idiot, if you don’t go out and watch this movie. I’m not saying that it doesn’t have flaws. All I’m saying is that despite some very obvious flaws, it’s fun! (I say that after pushing my way through a horde of spectators stampeding through the entrance, sitting on seats with lots of leg room only if you had been born a midget, listening to wolf-whistles and catcalls from the elite crowd every few minutes, and watching some people actually dancing when a song appeared.)

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

12 comments:

. said...

Nice One!!

Maddy said...

Good one Sumit. Even I need to watch this movie.

Standbymind said...

I agree with ya mate...jus back from da movie!!

(Cool blog!!!)

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Hello Sumit...hoping aull ij truly val with you. About CB - we share the same views - anyone 'churning' out a book-a-month meets with skepticism from me!

C

Pesto Sauce said...

Am going today evening, night show bought in black

Roshmi Sinha said...

A nice review. Makes me want to watch the movie :)

Infact, this is next on my 'to watch' list...

btw... don't miss 'Avatar'.


P.S. Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year (in advance)!!!

Grayquill said...

I think here in the USA we miss much. I like how you don't hold back on what you think - Fresh!
Are you worried Bhagat will read your review? HA :)

Sumit said...

@. Thanks!

@Maddy... I hope you've watched it by now.

@Standbymind... thanks! Welcome here :)

@Corinne... yes, aull ijj welll... how've you been?

@Pesto... I hope you enjoyed the movie.

@Roshmi... Thanks! I'm planning to watch Avatar in the next few days. Happy new year to you too!

@Grayquill... hope you had an awesome time at Christmas. I detest Chetan Bhagat's books, and I don't think I mince any words when I say that. :P

Darshan Chande said...

I’ve always resolutely maintained that Chetan Bhagat’s books are not worth the paper that they are printed on.

Really?

Sumit said...

@Darshan... yes! :D Though that's just my opinion. So if you feel differently, I'd love to hear your views too.

Dr. Tabrez Ahmad said...

Director of the film 3 Idiots, Mr Chopra stated that the film contains around 5 % of the original content of the Chetan Bhagats novel Five Point Some One and accordingly he was paid around 9.9 lakh, director also stated that he has shown the film to Mr. Bhagat. But the reality is that copying of the novel is more than 5 % and which version of the ... See Morefilm was shown to Mr.Bhagat is also not clearly mentioned by Mr. Chopra. Mr. Bhagat was also not properly recognised by the film 3 Idiots. That is the violation of Moral right of Mr. Bhagat as per Sec. 57 of the Copyright Act 1957 of India. Mr. Bhagat may approach to the Court for infringement of moral rights. But it seems that there is some understanding among the producer, director, actors of the film and Mr. Bhagat to create controversies for publicity.

Scriber's Web said...

I saw the movie last night and really enjoyed it. Love Amir Khan movies. Although I hope he stops taking these college boy roles:)