3 Idiots (2009)

Right up front I have to say that I am in no way objective about this film. Director Raju Hirani is a good friend of mine, and I spent a couple of days on the sets back in March and had a brilliant time interacting with the incredibly smart, funny and friendly cast and crew—including this guy named Karan who spoiled me rotten. All I had to do was *think* about wishing I had some tea, or water, and there he was with whatever it was I was thinking about wanting.

Oh, and I read the script in advance too, because Raju asked me to look at the subtitles so that “bloggers like you won’t make fun of them” (yes, that is a direct quote).

So honestly speaking, I wasn’t going to write it up (many others already have anyway)—but it’s hard for me to keep chup when I have things to say! Also I think it’s okay now if I share my photos from the set (which I wasn’t really supposed to take, but I promised I’d keep them to myself until the film released).

I adore (adore!) both of the Munnabhai films and this one shares many of the same trademarks: side-splitting humor, heartfelt melodrama, colorful songs, characters you care about, and an engaging story with a message. Raju makes movies which embody the qualities which drew me to (especially older) Indian cinema in the first place, and thank goodness for that! And I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and the roller-coaster ride of emotions it entailed, but I do have to say that I missed the relative simplicity of his earlier movies.

My comments include minor spoilers so consider yourself warned.

My biggest problem with this film is the Rancho character. Let me hasten to add that it has little to do with Aamir, and I was one of the people thinking “Oh lord not another 40-something playing a 20-something.” When I saw him in person I was really relieved to see that he looked younger than I imagined he would. (Here he is discussing the evening’s shoot with Raju.)

What I didn’t expect though is how Aamir really inhabits the body of a young boy-man. His body language is amazing: I could see my 15-year-old nephew in his gestures, his way of walking, his demeanour while being scolded by authority figures (Virus and Farhan’s father). And he also imbues Rancho with an elfin charm and compassion which *almost* salvages him.

But.

Rancho’s fundamental problem is that he has no flaws. He gets top marks effortlessly, he is wise beyond his years, he is clever. He is too perfect for words, and thus becomes a sometimes obnoxious caricature: his philosophizing quickly becomes preachy and even cruel (his “murder” statement to Virus at Joy Lobo’s funeral). His only behavior called into question is his abandonment of his friends and the girl he loves, whom he leaves without a word of explanation; but even that is held up as being out of his control, due to a bargain that he had made out of his zeal for learning, and it is quickly forgiven. It doesn’t help that Aamir himself has tended to play similar unblemished characters a little too often lately (how I would love to see him in another Ghulam-type role!). The beauty of the Munnabhai films is that Munna himself is far from perfect: his fumblings to do the right thing are often awkward and self-sabotaging, but always endearing—because he is relatable. We can see ourselves in him and so we root for him; Rancho needed nobody rooting for him, he had everything under control.

This sense of Rancho as a savior type is reinforced by Farhan and Raju’s obvious worship of him. Maybe the intention was to make him a Gandhi-type figure—but I don’t think it works here if so. In Lage Raho, Gandhi is a guiding spirit, but the protagonist of the story is Munna. In this film Rancho is both the guiding spirit and the main character, and he doesn’t (he couldn’t) have the gravitas that Gandhi does anyway. Perhaps if Farhan and Raju had been stronger counterparts it would have worked okay, but they were more Circuit than Munna—not a bad thing in itself, of course!

The performances are for the most part fantastic. I watched Raju working with different actors, and he bolstered nerves and soothed insecurities where necessary, and had a clear idea of what he wanted from everyone. He also fostered an atmosphere of collaboration for the artists (including technicians) on set. It was truly fascinating to listen in as he and Boman and Aamir discussed the final scene between Virus and Rancho (a scene I have to say I wouldn’t have wanted to have to act out! Very difficult!). You can see them on the monitor below, with the camera lens up on the left, and Aamir’s back on the right side of the pillar.)

I must say that I think Boman had a thankless task with the Virus character. Set up as he was in conflict with the paragon that was Rancho and the lovable duo of Farhan and Raju, he was doomed to come across as more unlikable and mean-spirited than he might have otherwise, and it made him one-dimensional. His role here has been likened to that of Dr. Asthana in MBBS, but Asthana was up against a thug. Virus nourishes a hatred for three guys who are basically kids, and pretty sympathetic ones at that.

I’ve already said that I think Aamir’s performance was absolutely stellar. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi are equally outstanding as Farhan and Raju. Two completely different people who nonetheless become friends through their shared tribulations—their chemistry with each other and with Aamir is superb. Their relationships with one another are very real and touching, and they are people I’d want to be friends with.

Here is Madhavan with Shelly, who played the rich lady at Mona’s wedding who is Suhas’s friend. Shelly is Vinod Chopra’s lovely and interesting sister, and one of the best things about being on set was becoming friends with her. Madhavan himself is very personable and charming, and hilarious.

I took so many pictures of Sharman getting his wedding pagri wrapped that a guard came over and chastised me, but honestly it wasn’t Sharman that interested me (although I think he is a wonderful actor, and seems like a very nice guy to boot) as much as the whole turban-wrapping thing—I was trying to get all the steps captured. Saree pleating is nothing compared to this!

But I digress. Kareena (whom I would have loved to see more of, as many have already said) is hilarious in this film, and her Pia is a warm and loving girl next door. The scene where she drunkenly compares Gujarati food to weapons is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, partly because my friend Bina’s relatives have on occasion fed me to the point of exploding. (Raju says that it was inspired by a comment Javed Akhtar made once to him, that Gujarati food was scary-sounding.) Omi as the tightly wound Chatur perfectly embodies the ravages that a life spent in competition and obsession for money will bring. And I loved little Millimeter (Rahul Kumar) too—actually, there were lots of side characters that I really loved: Mona Singh, Jaaved Jaaferi, Parikshat Sahni, Raju’s mother (Amardeep Jha).

The cinematography too is just gorgeous. I am so glad I saw this movie on a big screen; I almost feel like I’ve seen Himachal Pradesh in person (and I am dying to see it in person). And shot angles were varied and interesting when the scenery wasn’t. Although I’ve seen criticism that it was insensitive to compare Raju’s home situation to an old black and white film, I laughed out loud. Maybe I am a bad person, but it was done with such affection—affection for cinema history, and affection for the Rastogis—that I didn’t mind a bit.

Here is Director of Photography Murali with his camera.

And again with Associate Director Rajesh Mapuskar, who gave me a ride on his motorcycle to the sets through the streets of northern Bombay which thrilled me to bits, even though he rode at a much more sedate pace than normal, I suspect. I took this photo the night before the actual shoot, when all the crew got together for a planning session.

It was amazing to see how much work goes into the making of a scene which lasts 15 minutes or so. This is the wedding set where Rancho meets Pia.  A lot of people put in a lot of effort into building it, lighting it, and decorating it!

As for the songs, I have to admit that I really hate “All Izz Well.” Hate it (and can’t make it stop running through my head). But the others are lovely, especially in context with the film. I absolutely love the picturization of “Zooby Dooby” and “Behti Hawa Sa” is such a pretty melody. The song that everyone in the theater really got into was “Give Me Some Sunshine” (watching this with a very enthusiastic and whistling Indian audience was a treat). As Joy strummed his guitar and sang, we cried for him and sang along, and when he died we were devastated. Which brings me to another important point: the message.

I have been reading Indian media online for a long time, and I am always appalled around exam time by all the student suicides. I am not Indian and never went to school there, but that sort of thing doesn’t happen here, not on the same scale anyway (and I live in a town with pretty high-pressure and renowned universities). It is a tragedy that really needs to be addressed, and if this film makes a difference to even one parent or student, then it’s a huge success in my book. I love that Raju cares to say things that need to be said, and the skill with which he does it is unsurpassed. Truly he makes wonderful films, and I can’t wait for the next one! (Here he is with one of his ADs and Sanjay Lafont who plays Suhas.)

3 Idiots is not perfect, but it is total paisa vasool. If you can tolerate a saintly hero and some OTT melodrama (which I could, given all the other goodness inherent in it) (and also, if you can’t, you probably shouldn’t be watching Hindi movies anyway) you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. I know I did, and so did the audience I saw it with.

PS: Raju very kindly gave me a credit at the end (but not before Chetan Bhagat’s)—see if you can spot it!

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155 Comments to “3 Idiots (2009)”

  1. Cool! First to comment! Still have to go with my wife for this. You aren’t kidding when you talk about scholastic pressure. But the problem when you have what is clearly a merit based system is that you effectively have no right to speak up against it UNLESS you have conquered it. This is why Chetan’s 5 point something was such a huge hit – asides from the curiosity to know what it it like to be an IIT topper. Munnabhai MBBS will always be close to my heart because of that – the relation between the expectations of the father and son (both real and reel) Sunil Dutt/Sanjay Dutt was just great. Lagga Raho was so so EXACTLY because of the impression you carried away of M K Gandhi – as Mr. Perfect. In fact, he never made any bones of the fact that HE was Munnabhai – striving to do the right, making plenty of mistakes, but with his heart in the right place.

    • Well, we have a merit-based system in the US too, but I think we have come a long way in terms of accepting that people need to follow their hearts and talents and not be pressured into a so-called “prestigious” profession. And I have a friend who is a psychiatrist at MIT—and a very busy one at that, but at least the institution understands that people under pressure may need help dealing with it.

      Agree that Gandhiji during his lifetime was much more humble and unassuming than the stature he has acquired after death—this is true of any icon. But at least his role in that story was as an icon, and not as a human being. If the film had been about HIM it would have been dull, dull, dull…but it was about Munna, and the lessons which Gandhi left as a legacy, not Gandhi as a human being.

      PS let me know what you think of 3i after you see it :)

  2. Greta, I am looking very forward to seeing this film, even more so after your write-up. What a thrill to be on the set, I envy you having the opportunity to get a behind the scenes view of the making of a Hindi film. And I am so glad you shared with us!!

  3. When I saw the posters of “three idiots”, I thought that it resembled a novel I had read, and I found that I was right. It is indeed inspired from Chetan Bhagat’s novel “Five point someone”. Today I read in a newspaper that Chetan Bhagat was sore since his name was not there in the credits, though 70 percent of the story was based on the novel. But you say that his name is there.

    In India, movies are often made without crediting the authors. I hope that is not goin to happen here. The news article quotes Aamir Khan as saying that Chetan Bhagat is trying to take credit away from the script writer. Unless Aamir Khan is misquoted, this statement will make me lose respect for Aamir Khan.

    I have not watched the movie, though my wife and daughter have, and they liked the movie. I will try to find time for watching it, as the movie is playing in a movie hall at a place within walking distance from where I stay these days. And I will look for the credits to find a mention about you.

    • He’s sore because his name is not more prominent in the credits. But it is there. And nobody has ever denied that the film was inspired by Five Point Someone. He is now trying to say that the movie is much more like his book than he expected, although I know that he did in fact see the script during shooting and even said then that it was not much like his book. So he is now crying foul in a complete reversal of his own previous sentiments—and the media is going wild over it all.

      • Seriously, there is also an interview on video out there from a couple months ago in which Chetan Bhagat says Raju showed him the full script three times. Why this is an issue *now* is beyond me.

        VVC and Chetan entered into a contract (which I haven’t read, but it’s out there, I think). VVC apparently hasn’t violated it. Why it’s become such an issue is beyond me…sad bit is, we know whom it hurts more, and it’s not Chetan Bhagat. :(

        • Maybe CB had indeed read the script and people are saying he is complaining now that the movie is such a huge hit, so whats wrong? and you saying that there was a contract,here it is.

          http://www.vinodchopra.com/agreement.pdf

          maybe the contract might not have been violated as the producers claim, honestly this more of a moral argument than a legal one, is it ok to “BUY” a story from someone for money and not give him due credit? maybe this is legally ok but is it ok morally?? I dont think so, yes its CB’s fault too, but many people(including Aamir) are painting the producers as saints and CB as an evil publicity hungry monster.

          and I dont understand Aamir’s comment in a press conf that CB came to him while shooting and said dont read the novel as the script is totally diff, seriously imagine yourself in place of CB, if Aamir, one of India’s greatest actors wants to read your book, immaterial if the movie he is doing is based on your novel or not, would you say dont read my novel? strange especially Aamir claims CB said the script is totally diff,logically, reading th novel wouldnt affect Aamir in any way while portraying the role,so CB saying dont read is too weird for me.any1 shedding more light will be appreciated.

  4. Ahh! This is the post I’ve been waiting for. Saw the film last Tuesday, and enjoyed it a lot. I had a feeling once the film was out you’d be free to post on this. LOL on the “ALL IZ WELL” phenomenon, called a ear worm, hai na? I too am paining from this didi. During the birthing scene I thought of you being there (me burning with jealousy!) and kicking it on the sidelines with the actors and crew. Thanks for the great post!

    • I didn’t actually get (or ask for) permission to post these pictures, but I think it’ll be okay. I am glad someone is sharing my pain. Why is it that songs you don’t care for are the ones that get stuck?

      Proooooofeeeessor PyareLAL!

      • Yes, that’s how it works, the ones that you don’t like stick, causing resentment, but then you come on to eventually love the song. I loved the picturization on “Zooby Dooby” too especially all the mini parts Aamir played on TV, in particular the weatherman.

        I wish I’d know you were in the credits! I missed that. I always stay and read them, but this time I left too early. Thanks for showing pix of the pen scene. I loved the lighting there and even though the obvious metaphor of “darkest before the dawn” and “seeing the light” were evident, it was just so lovely, so it was great to see your behind the scenes photos. I also adored the black an white scenes, and agree that it’s done with so much affection it can hardly be criticized. I could go on and on…so now CHUP for me!

        p.s. how did you come to know the director?

        • Oh yes, I totally forgot about that. The lighting in that scene was brilliant—no pun intended—I’m glad you noticed it and brought it up :) I too loved Aamir’s little TV cameos, especially actually the astrologer!

          Met Raju through a mutual friend who thought he would get a kick out of a gori girl loving his first film MBBS (when it first came out). I suppose now he is blase about it all but back then I guess I was a little bit of a novelty for him! But he loves how much I love Hindi cinema, and we just hit it off well. He is a really lovely man.

          • Vay! Well thanks for blazing the gori trail! I imagine he knows now there is a huge gorii fan base out there in this duniya. That’s wonderful you made that conncetion…now if he could just write a script involving a set of gori Bollywood bloggers, who take a trip to their mother India and…Tell him Memsaab, tell him! I’ll work for free! ;)

  5. Haila! that’s awesome, Greta, to be part of the set. Lucky you! :) I’m happy you got to be there and share with us all these goodies. Loved the pic of laptop you took. It’s so cool!!! I wanna watch the movie again. I was watching the credits til the end but they rolled too fast. I’ll definitely try and catch your name on there. That’s so sweet… to acknowledge and appreciate even the smallest help. I really like that. Thanks for this one.

    • It was a thrill to see it up there, even if I didn’t much deserve it (it’s under subtitles assistance)!

      • You know I am disappointed that you DID NOT do your job Memsaab! For me doing your job is opposite of what the director would have wanted though. I would have loved to have seen some Indian English favorites up there: complete overuse and non English sentence structure placement of “even” and “still”; I also would have liked to have seen: paining, melodious, mention not, do the needful. I was happy to see Kareena I believe say “You’re getting late.” So you sort of did your job. ;)

  6. I liked the two munnabhais very much and this didn’t rise to that level for me.
    I was all the time conscious of Amir’s face not looking real. I can’t think of any other reason for it looking so smooth but botox because I have seen pictures of his which look very different.

    I agree with the Rancho character. While munnabhai was very likable and lovable with Sanjay Dutt making one feel that he should be hugged, Rancho was a smug, preachy, self opinionated character and I couldn’t take to him.

    There were some genuinely funny moments and like you I found the family being compared to old films very very funny. I also like the scene where they were discussing the surname chanchad, while others mused about it Kareena kept on about not changing her name after marriage. LOL.
    Kareena really acted well especially during the delivery scene. I don’t know what to make out of this part in the film – this delivery on a ping pong table with a vacuum cleaner!! Its very OTT

    I don’t think the problem was really shown as it is or even addressed. One got the feeling that it was the mean spirited principal who was the problem rather than the system.

    I think the problem lies in the very very very large population of India, and everyone knows there will be very few chosen. For the others there is almost no other hope.
    In a land of a billion people there are only 5 (?) such engineering colleges.

    The choice is also not just prestigious, but the reason why they are prestigious – its because of the earnings.
    This engineering prestige thing in the film is a decade or so too late. There are other professions that have taken over like the IT etc since then.

  7. Kareena is a really natural actress. Wish she’d get more roles that weren’t all about glamour and being bitchy. I thought the issue of pressure was addressed well, it wasn’t just about Virus but about other people’s expectations as well (and even one’s own expectations of oneself). The problem is that people think if they just make money they will be happy, but doing something you hate just for the money isn’t rewarding at all in the long run. (It’s soul-crushing, believe me!) :D But if your family lives in abject poverty (mine doesn’t, BTW, I am just lazy and have no direction) and you are their only hope for a better life it must be awfully hard to see beyond the degree and the job.

  8. Wow..Greta ..lucky you!!!

    I HATED the movie. Wonder how many more movies Hirani is going to make where some free thinking, non conformist hero is going to teach a villain (and the audience) some big life lessons. While trying to get the villains daughter. And said villain will always be Boman irani in some disguise. He is a caricature if ever there was one in this movie.

    The sanctimonious characters and the righteousness director is too much…and anyways I officially hate Aamir Khan. The way he operates and manipulates the media. You must have heard about the charade going on here with the parties fighting for credits. And that mutual lovefest between aamir and kareena nowadays.

    One shitty movie!!!

    • Oh I really liked it, and will definitely watch it again. It wasn’t any more preachy or caricatured than many Hindi films I enjoy! :) But each to his own, as I say probably too often around here…

      • Of course, its just that this guy thinks that he can preach in movie after movie – and its the same preaching actually – and get away with it. And he is getting away with it so what do I know???

        You do say that so I will shut up :)

        But I am JEALOUS that you got to spend some time on a movie set and observe the happenings. Surely you have some gossip to share..please do ;)

  9. >But if your family lives in abject poverty (mine doesn’t, BTW, I am just lazy and have no direction) and you are their only hope for a better life it must be awfully hard to see beyond the degree and the job.

    Exactly. And most of the time (as they did show Farhan’s) the parents go through a great deal of ‘sacrifice’ ;-) to do this.

    The root of the problem lies elsewhere.

    • Well, the root(s) of the problem are many, and I think the film did a good job of covering the ones we’ve talked about anyway. It’s not going to solve the problem, but talking about it is at least a beginning, and talking about it on the scale in which this film has been received is all the better.

  10. ah here is the post I have been waiting for months and months, so I was thrilled to see your pictures and read your backstory about the film shoot.

    I liked the film. It was good. Just that. Good. Made it to the Good category. Barely. Not a standout and not actually quite as smartly and tightly made as the first MunnaBhai. It was a good enough time pass and paisa wasool. Amir’s enthusiasm is infectious. Kareena is pretty and has an adequet performance. Madhavan was stellar and the other fellow remained just that “the adequet other fellow”. The movie was adequet in all the departments except for the most important. It was not a watertight script; which is what I was hoping for, being that there was actually a book published long enough ago, to lift the darned thing from!

    And hell yeah, the book (five point someone by chetan Bhagat) is definately the meat and potatoes of the script never mind what VVC and Co contend and froth at the mouth and deny. Anyone… even a pirate with a eyepatch… would be able to tell that if they have read the book and the seen the movie. Without the book, there would have been to skeleton to the story unless Abhjaat Joshi and Chetan Bhagat have some telephatic connection and think the same thoughts at the same time, and put them on paper at the same time… which they dont.

    So yes, my appreciation of the movie is tainted by the blatant disregard for someone else’s creative idea.

    Memsaab, I agree with you at the somewhat dissatisfyingly unidimentional Rancho. I think if you read the book you will understand his character (Ryan) better. That character was real, and there was a reason for Ryan being so disturbingly and uncomfortably real.

    Was five point someone stellar writing. Hardly. But it was an interesting and original idea and very true of IIT’s. 3 Idiots in its dithering between purpoting to being an original story and trying to build a story on the original scaffold built by someone else, fails in that it is merely good. It could have been taut and brilliant. Unfortunate.

    Even more unfortunate, is that VVC comes for a family rife with writers. His nonchalant disregard for what is obviously someone else’s creative baby is disturbing and deplorable.

    I wonder what Raju Hirani was thinking when he read the script. If in his defence he had not read the book… strange… since EVERYONE in India had, and the book has been around for along enough time, he probably needs to be more of a complete director. When you are the captain of the ship, the rigging is really your responsibility.

    The rigging was stolen, so is the plunder now stolen riches?

    So 3 idiots.. good… I guess.

    • Actually, Raju DID read the book, and has never denied that FPS is the basis for the script (which he co-wrote with Abhijat Joshi as well). Chetan Bhagat GAVE him the book to read and asked him to make a film from it! Right from the beginning (back in 2005 they signed the agreement with Chetan Bhagat to use it) Raju has acknowledged that. But the script deviates significantly from the book, and adds quite a bit of plot and characters—the pieces of the plot which people are talking about, mostly. I do disagree with them that the book is only 2-5% of the film, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s far less than CB is whining about (and yes, I have read the book too—and although I enjoyed it, it was no masterpiece of literature).

      I’m amazed at how one-sided this whole thing has become! Chetan Bhagat is credited in the film as per the agreement that HE signed off on, and he was paid 11 lakhs for the use of the book. I wish someone would pay ME 11 lakhs for even a third of a story! I know for a fact that he has been a complete jerk for months on end in his dealings with Raju and Vinod and I think that by the end of making the film they were just so fed up with him that they don’t want any part of him any more. So maybe they could be handling the issue with a bit more grace, but in my opinion Mr. Bhagat has gone out of his way to NOT be deserving of that.

      Anyone who actually knows the people involved, and the reputations that they have in the industry (not that many know much about Chetan Bhagat for all his claims to be the greatest writer in India) would be inclined to give VVC and Raju the benefit of the doubt. I would say that in this case the “manipulation of the media” winner is Chetan Bhagat!

      And if people hated the film instead of going to see it in droves, he would probably have meekly faded away into the woodwork!

      • My view is strictly as a member of the viewing audience, and a reader of media. I have no way of knowing if a temperamental writer is a jerk or if a temperamental director/producer/scriptwriter is a worse jerk for handling things on a really large project with less than the best grace. I can only comment on what I see and percieve.

        I will say though, (regardless of the everyday interactions between all parties which ofcourse I could not be privy to) if I had written the book and then seen the movie with its situational similarities and had seen my name in the last rolling credits (which I could not spot at all) I would have been pissed beyond belief. I would. With that admission, perhaps now none of my inanane sophomoric writing will never make it to the movie screen. Darn! I better keep my day job! I could still design your Film Museum though :)

        What a pity… I would have liked to have judged this movie on on your friend’s directorial abilities. He made me laugh with the first munnabhai. I was hoping to have a similar experience. Perhaps I will see the movie again after this has all died a quiet death.

        • Which will hopefully be SOON :) The thing is (and this is on the net for people to read, not something I have inside knowledge of) is that CB did read the script (despite his denials of it now), and said himself that it wasn’t that similar to his book any more. So why the abrupt about face? Money, methinks.

          In any case, Raju is a good director and that holds in this film as well. I do think the main problems lay in the script and not in the direction. One thing is for sure, neither writing a script or making a movie is a simple task!!!! I respect those who do it well on a whole new level now :)

  11. >not that many know much about Chetan Bhagat for all his claims to be the greatest writer in India

    :-)

    He wrote the best seller ‘3 mistakes of my life’. It made him the best selling English Novelist in the history of India.
    The rights have been bought by Farhan Akhtar to make a movie.

    He’s very very popular. Five Point someone was his first book and started a major fan following.

    His to be released book called – ‘The 2 states – the story of my marriage’ is being printed with on an unprecedented two hundred tonnes of paper for the first print of this highly expected book. (It happened before the controversy ;-)

    In his own right he has a fan following and is very popular.

    Salman’s film Hello was also based on his book. It flopped of course.

    It seems every book he has written has been made into a film. Lets see what happens to the latest.

    The people who have read the book and seen the film say that it is 70% from the book, and it seems whatever was being done and said before the release of the film was said and done under the belief that it was not much, just 10 or 30%, which now seems to have opened his eyes.

    Anyway, unlike Amir I won’t give any opinion as I haven’t read the book :-D

    • I did read the book and I think 70% is overstating it by a LOT. But luckily it isn’t my call to make. He DID read the script (although he says now that he didn’t—what does that say about him in itself?) and agreed to the credit that he got. And a significant amount of money. So he hasn’t been as mistreated as everyone seems to think he has.

  12. Happy new year Memsaab, and thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures! Always good to discuss an Aamir film. :)

    Rancho’s fundamental problem is that he has no flaws.

    As Aakaash from Dil Chahta Hai would say, “It’s impossible to better perfection.” :P

    I liked 3i much more than the Munnabhai films (surprise!). To me, the difference is a matter of leadership styles. Is Rancho more idealistic? Absolutely. Does that take away from the ability to relate to him? I didn’t think so. But I can be very forgiving. :)

    Do wish the songs were better. My favorite is Give Me Some Sunshine, but then, it wasn’t used in its entirety. :(

    Cheers.

    • Ha ha!!! I loved Aamir’s performance in this; he surprised me, I have to admit. I thought he was too old for the part no matter how young he looked—but he nailed it. I like the Munna films better from a script perspective: besides the Rancho issue, I love their simplicity compared to this, which really just piled plot development on top of plot development on top of…you get the picture. But I really enjoyed it, and will definitely put it in my DVD collection (on the favorites shelf ;-)

  13. Great stuff memsaab! I liked the movies, but do have some issues with it. LOVED madhavan in it- had been scared he’d look his age, but he was perfect. And it was good to see Kareena having had a meal :D

  14. I I was wondering when I would read your review of this movie. I liked the movie and felt that Madhavan. Sharman Joshi and Omi have done a great job. Music was mediocre. Thanks for sharing some of these rare pics on the sets. I did notice Chetan Bhagat being accredited but at the fag end of the movie. It would have been good if Raju Hirani and VVC had a sentence “based on Chetan Bhagat’s xxxx” w in the early part of the credits when they showed the screenplay and dialogues bit. I did notice some names for sub titling but didn’t notice yours! Perhaps missed it. BTW, the lady who acted as Madhavan’s mom looks like Baby Farida from the good old movie “Dosti”. Do you know who the actress is ?

    T

  15. Hi ,

    First time here , came here through chamak challo’s blog .. and m glad that I did..

    I am yet to see this movie , may be sometime this week …

    Happy new year to you.

  16. Came from “Another Kiran in NYC” post. I wonder how did you manage to restrain yourself not posting these pictures and blog about the movie. Nice to read the “Making of the movie”. I watched the movie recently and liked it though there are few questions/doubts my brain cells were asking.

    • Well I didn’t want Raju and Mr. Chopra to send some beefy goondas to my house to kill me. So that was pretty good motivation for keeping it to myself :) Plus, I met Shammi on that trip which far far far outstripped being on the sets!!!

  17. Hi Memsaab
    I saw this today and I agree with most of your assessment.
    I think in the character of Rancho they were going for some kind of Holy Fool (even the song lyrics hinted at the Messianic, with a touch of Wordsworth’s daffodils) but he just didn’t ring true for me, and for all the reasons you note.
    I thought the movie was good but not great.
    For me, it undermined the really perceptive and interesting messages with overly broad slapstick and vulgar comedy. So Boman’s character (and WTF was with that?) and Omi’s character who both represented the issues the film was trying to spotlight were made ridiculous and one dimensional. The formula seemed to run: One pithy observation, one touching moment, one really long fart joke – repeat. And I think much of the baby storyline could have been deleted with no ill effect on the overall story. That just strained the integrity of the plot a bit too far for me, and believe me I have a high ridiculous plot element tolerance. And really, how many jokes about micturation and farting can one movie sustain?
    Madhavan and Sharman were excellent in their roles, and there were some really lovely moments between the 3 idiots. Kareena’s drunk scene was hilarious and I have never liked her more than in the Gujju food speech :) Aamir’s Botox in the “young” segments of the movie really impeded his performance as he had limited facial expressions so I thought he did well to convey anything of Rancho’s character.
    Overall, the film is beautifully shot and the production values are evident. Mind you, I did find myself wishing in Zoobi Zoobi that Aamir had had second thoughts about the see through orange nipple flasher shirt! And I am not a fan of the John Mayer-esque acoustic soundtracks of recent Hindi movies so the music did nothing for me (except the earworm…I am still trying to lose that).
    I am glad you had such a great time on set, and that you got to enjoy the work in progress as well as the final product. Thanks for sharing your insights and comments (and photos). I didn’t get to see your name in the credits as the cinema we were at decided not to run the end titles
    :( But did you contribute the “Oh Shucks”? I rejoiced at the subtitle matching the dialogues for once!

    • I really didn’t contribute much to the subtitling, although I am pretty sure that I did say: “Please for the love of God, if the characters are speaking English match the subtitles exactly to what they are saying!” because that is one of my pet peeves.

      So maybe I did contribute the “Oh Shucks”…don’t know for sure :D

  18. have to still see the film. but was really keen on knowing what you thought of it. lovely pics. grand that they are out of the closet now :)

    more later.

  19. I, too, have been waiting for this post. Thanks for the behind the scenes photos! Re: The Chetan-VCC kerfuffle: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” The more back and forth in the press, the more interest is churned up. Boffo box office to follow.
    The first Munnabhai movie is so perfect (in my eyes) that any subsequent one is bound to suffer in comparison. But, in 3 Idiots I did not like Boman’s fluffy wig and speech impediment; he’s a better actor than that. And, the potty humor fatigues me. But, I loved how the film depicted the romance and excitement of…engineering! Western movies usually only portray people in the arts as creative, and I enjoyed this aspect of the film. Botox or not, I enjoyed Aamir’s performance, and thought this was one of Kareena’s better recent films. She’s certainly a more convincing doctor than she was in “Kambakkht Ishq.” :-)
    I did spot you in the credits! Congrats…

    • I think MBBS is my favorite too, although it’s a close call because I really loved Lage Raho too. This doesn’t live up to them for me either, although I really did enjoy it a lot. Boman seems to love donning disguises, which I guess would be lots of the fun for me too. I *heart* Halloween :)

  20. @memsaab
    >but talking about it is at least a beginning, and talking about it on the scale in which this film has been received is all the better.

    *a beginning*??
    I think these discussions have been going on in India since forever, and 3idiots is not a wake up call at all.
    In fact 3 idiots took a serious problem and used it to build slapstick comedy sequences so that the vast population which has seen it is mostly praising the comedy, the entertainment, Amir fans are happy, they are discussing the amount of money its making – but no one is actually discussing this problem.

    The problem was never about not recognising the problem, but as always – the problem is finding the solution.

    I can see we disagree a lot on this :-)

    So I’ll leave with a very interesting video clip.
    Lets see if anyone recognizes it ;-)

  21. Hey memsaab – http://www.vinodchopra.com has a pdf doc “30 reasons why 3idiots is not “five points some one” – me thinks ur friend Raju must have written this response. Interesting read which other readers of your blog might want to check out. It also has a pdf copy of the agreement between CB and VVC.

  22. came here from Chamak Challo, and just loved your blog! and after 3 idiots I can say Raju Hirani is the best director .

  23. i liked the Rancho character and i could see myself in it. if you can’t believe in a character like that, u got to know me!!!
    all the songs are awesome (including all izz well)

    PS – i didn’t notice your name in “credits”

  24. let’s move on from the whole vvc and chetan bhagat debate for a while.. enough already splattered on the headlines of every possible new network..

    3 idiots was a pretty crowd pleaser… and like the ‘book it is based on’, it kinda gives an insider’s look into the world of engineering colleges.. it is wild, whacky and sometimes bizzare what students put up to get through.. its a grind to tackle the pace of the rat race [wise words :P]

    but seriously, 3 idiots puts that message across of the meritocratic parental system in india..

    i have ranted of all that i could think about this movie here: http://www.oneknightstands.net/oks-rant-3-idiots-from-the-depths-of-my-engineering-nostalgia/

    mostly because i hv been an engineer myself, i could relate to most of the scenes and i could see myself in rancho, farhaan and raju..

    and yes, i have friends who are like rancho.. innovative, creative, philosophical, class toppers and even dancing and singing geniuses.. and although they are not research gurus now.. they’re actually on the top of some enterpreneurial venture they’ve started on their own..

    lastly, i’d like to mention tht shantanu moitra was one of the best finds of bollywood music of the last decade..

    behti hawa sa creates such an awesome ambience around me… and the melody is breath-taking.. brilliant..

    happy new year greta!!

    • It certainly IS a crowd pleaser, I think it’s box office records show that :) I love Shantanu’s music too, it’s very reminiscent of older films in its melodies (in other words, it actually HAS melody! I sound like such an old person, don’t I?)…

      • Haha… if your taste in music states ur age… then I must be 99 :P

        But yeah. Shantanu’s music HAS melody, and his music has Bengali folk influences very smartly fused with good old Blues …

        Love it love it… Parineeta… let’s talk about Parineeta in a separate post :P

  25. Memsaab thank you so much for this post. As a person who likes films, it is always interesting to glimpse at the background and I really like your writing so this is a treat.

    I can’t wait to watch the film and I have read Five Points Someone (and 2 States which was entertaining) just because Mr.Hirani is making a film inspired by it.

    I love MMBS best because of the story and Lage Raho is also very good. And when I watched Mr.Hirani is Karan Johar’s KWK I was suprised at how modest he was in comparison with the other directors. I liked how he seemed quiet but also forceful and very polite.

    After reading AB’s blog that Madhavan loves animals, I started to pay attention to him as an actor. And he was very good in 13B. Not to mention how he looked exactly as Alok character in the book.

    It is hard to say something without watching the film but Aamir, I think is a bit vain. This role is very good and he wanted it. He has the talent and the clout to pull it off but wouldn’t it be better if an age appropriate actor is in it? I thought the same for RDB.
    Having said that I trust Mr.Hirani’s judgement on the actor selection.

    I can’t like Boman Irani. He is not a cinematic actor as far as I’m concerned. He looks to be more suited to theater. Maybe he is a nice person in real life but every time I watch him (it doesn’t matter, as a villain or a good guy) I feel cold. I can’t get into his performance at all.

    Let me finish by thanking you again for this post and allowing us access to things we would not be able to see otherwise. You are the best!

    • Thank you Eliza :) It was such a treat for me too to be there watching! Raju doesn’t much care for the limelight I think, but as you say he is forceful although polite. He has a lot of self-confidence which I personally think makes him much easier for creative people to work with. He doesn’t mind trying out their ideas and if they work better he is more than happy to go with it. He knows what he wants though, and makes the final decision. He loved working with Aamir, and Aamir loved working with him (despite what you might read to the contrary in the gossip rags). There seems to be a real mindset in Bollywood (for lack of a better term) about the necessity for big name stars for a film to work. I do hope that goes away eventually, but it’s not unlike how Hollywood works either. When the stakes are really high people don’t like to take chances.

  26. Finally I found a review of three idiots which talks of the film from an *education system* point of view, instead of how well Amir looked as 22, or how funny and entertaining it all was.

    One may not agree with all that’s said, but it is a different kind of review from what we have been flooded with.

    To whet ones appetite here is the last para of the review;

    Yes, our education system needs urgent reform. Yes, we need to relook at our exam system. Yes, we need to ensure that parents do not pressurize children. But in the pursuit of educational reform, we cannot allow standards of excellence to be lowered. India’s IITs and IIMs must be applauded for the world-class minds they have thrown up, these are institutions that are respected the world over. Lets not start lampooning Indian engineers by showing them as students who deliver babies with vacuum cleaners. Let’s get real about higher education, not engage in an escapist fantasy and convince ourselves that education does not matter. After all, Rancho could be a subversive because he was a genius student. For those who are not geniuses, alas, there are no short cuts.

    Here’s the rest of the link.

    http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/sagarikaghose/223/54036/from-three-idiots-to-a-nation-of-idiots.html

    • The point of the baby delivery scene was to show that if you truly understand a concept then you can apply it in any circumstance—which is a basic message in the film. Don’t memorize blindly (the chamatkar-balatkar speech eg), UNDERSTAND what it is you are learning. I disagree with her that the film’s point is only: “The education system sucks.” The film’s point is that one needs to learn about things one is interested in, and in that learning absorb KNOWLEDGE not statistics and facts. Educators themselves need to embrace that idea instead of requiring regurgitation of what a textbook says (the “machines” speech). The fact that so many students have embraced the film as representing reality speaks for itself.

    • “Lets not start lampooning Indian engineers by showing them as students who deliver babies with vacuum cleaners. Let’s get real about higher education, not engage in an escapist fantasy and convince ourselves that education does not matter. After all, Rancho could be a subversive because he was a genius student. For those who are not geniuses, alas, there are no short cuts.”

      ^^^Excellently put. This was my basic problem in taking this film seriously and above and beyond the toilet humour. Also, probably I expect too high of Mr Rajkumar Hirani especially as far as sensitivity, detailing and portrayal or characters are concerned; and I think it is not wrong to do so, after he gave us Munnabhai. If this film were made by David Dhawan or Aditya Chopra or Karan Johar (shot in NY) or even Siddharth Anand, then I’d take it as they would deserve. But Raju Hirani and a few directors are always pre-supposed to carry the quality of filmmaking forward…..and in it, it was just another crowd-pleasing movie, which could have been way, wayyy better.

      Anyway, subjective feelings can only be expressed, never debated :)

      • Oh yes they can be debated! Politely, of course! :) That so much debate on education etc. has erupted in its wake is a credit to the film too! Could it have been a better film? Yes. I do not disagree with you on that point at all. But to discredit anything it has to say because you didn’t like it does it a disservice I think. At least it has tried to say something worth saying, which is more than most films I’ve seen this year can claim.

        I loved it despite its faults, because there is a lot of positive in it too. To dismiss it as trash is of course anybody’s right, but I don’t have to agree (especially not on MY blog) :)

        • Just back from the film, first since Ghajini. And I HAVE to go back as
          far as Munnabhai MBBS for a better movie. WAY better than Lagge Raho.
          Aamir was perfect. I didn’t find him unrealistic – a genius with a
          heart of gold is far more believable than a Goonda(who regularly
          indulges in violence) with a heart of gold. But the whole Ladakh
          track beginning with him being Javed Jaffery’s servant (and
          he behaves so confidently in college?!!) to his hiding for ten
          years to Bebo running away from the shaadi ka mantap was
          weak and un-believable. I
          thought the delivery scene was pretty well handled for all the
          negative publicity it has garnered – but not magical as many scenes from
          MBBS. Extra-ordinary good jokes as we expect from Hirani – we
          all spontaneously clapped and laughed in appreciation when
          both Virus and Rancho throw the keys to the office. :)
          Bit uncomfortable with Hirani making
          it “hip” to sodomize juniors in college (the whole presenting
          your ass as a gift to the seniors – we all know despo boys in
          hostels soon have their thoughts turning to sodomy anyway. :)
          Also for a movie that is so light-hearted and feel good – 2
          suicides and a attempted suicide – it just doesn’t work. Also the
          whole black and white thingy was too cute for its own good.
          People have started calling Hirani the new Manmohan Desai :)

  27. The movie had a lot going for it. But I came off, in the end, just that bit dissatisfied :-

    Top reasons not to like the movie :-

    (a) Superferpect Rancho (as explained above)

    (b) Ummm… a lot of the humor was a bit cruel. Ramalingam for example:the guy slogged, OK. Didn’t have to demean game triers. Ditto the prof. Ditto Raju’s family. Stopped being funny.

    On the other hand, yes, paisa vasool.

    • That is pretty much my take on it too, although I found the humor less cruel (maybe because I am relatively cruel myself!) than many. But the fact that others find it so is legitimate for sure!

  28. P.S I tried to stay for your credits but they stopped JUST at Chetan’s credit – final verdict – Chetan needs a lesson in grace. :)

    • I shall not weep and storm at the decison to cut off MY credit :) Maybe when the dvd comes out I’ll add a screenshot of it to the post :) (And yes, he really DOES. Thank you!)

  29. wow memsaab, thanks for the pics & it was awesome reading all the comments. don’t want to get into the CB vs VVC debate (i’m siding with Hirani from what i’ve read so far..); don’t want to post a review on the movie (had mixed feelings, but overall enjoyed it — was awesome to see it on the big screen with a theater full of people).. But I do want to ask you a question:

    WHERE ARE KAREENA’S PICS?? :D In one of your earlier posts you did mention that she was truly gorgeous (& really nice) so I thought your post on 3i would have her pics too — where is it? :D

    • Ha ha! By the time I met Kareena it was dark out, so to take pics I had to use my flash and it wasn’t allowed on set (reasonably enough). You’ll notice too that I didn’t have MY picture taken with any of them! I just didn’t think of it really, I was having such a good time talking with them. Plus, I don’t know…I felt awkward asking for photos. They are pestered for that stuff all the time (I even made Raju do the asking with Shammi!) :D

      • true, interacting with interesting people is certainly more.. ahem, interesting! :P.. than just taking pictures or autographs, i agree! when i was a kid, i met a “famous” Bangladeshi writer once, and my dad pushed me forward to take her autograph — but i was so embarrassed by the whole thing because I didn’t even know who she was! (she apparantly wrote children’s literature, hence my dad’s pushing ME forward, but i had never read her books, hehe).

        hanging around with Hirani, Aamir, Madhavan.. all truly seem fun.. they don’t seem airheads (from your posts plus the interviews i’ve read); I, for one, would have surely loved to converse with Hirani about LRMB someday — my favorite movie of his so far..– and in general the thought he puts behinds his movies. he seems like a good-hearted man even if one just goes by that =)

        • He’s one of my favorite people (I generally prefer dogs to people so that is saying something!) :) He is funny and smart and nice, and very down-to-earth. Maddy was lots of fun, as I’ve said. Kareena and Aamir were more reserved, but they were very nice too, and Aamir seems a very intelligent and curious guy. And competitive! Dear lord, he is competitive :D And most of all, I owe him big time for introducing me to Shammi! But yes—it was all much more interesting than posing for photos would have been. I did my best to take surreptitious ones :)

  30. :) But they are comparing to Manmohan of Amar Akbar Anthony. Everything deliciously over the top, an “item” every 5 minutes but it all falls into place. :)

  31. Wow, I’ve not visited before, so do you get to the sets of many of the films you write about, Greta? That was a fascinating write-up of the film, and I shall definitely visit again. You attract some very articulate and interesting commentators too.

    • Ha ha—I WISH! :) Just this one (so far), but I can hope! Thanks for stopping by and I do hope you join the ranks of my articulate and interesting commentators. They keep me honest and are by far the biggest joy in blogging for me!

  32. Here is Raju’s clarification on the issues CB has been whining about. It really makes me wonder why “journalists” didn’t do a little research before they started flinging wild reputation-maligning accusations about.

    • hey memsaab, the video talked about anyone who read the script had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. so i’m assuming you had to sign one too?

      • also, i meant to ask this earlier but forgot, since you had read the script first, and then much later you got to see the movie — did you feel a difference in how you perceived the movie when you had read the script initially? you know how, e.g. you didn’t warm up to Rancho too much because he seemed so perfect — when you had read the script did you feel the same way about Rancho? or was it on the big screen that aspect jumped out to you?

        i’ve a goal to direct movies one day — so these things are very interesting to me, hehe :)

      • By the time I read the script for the subs, the film was well into post-production so I don’t think they felt any need to have me sign a non-disclosure (I couldn’t possibly have stolen the idea and made something that quickly to steal their thunder) :)

        I did feel while watching that reading the script beforehand somewhat affected my view of the film, but I think it was more around the pacing of the film. Some parts dragged more than they would have if I hadn’t know what was coming. But no—I didn’t notice how “perfect” Rancho was until I saw the film. Didn’t seem that way to me in the script. Hope that helps :)

        • hmm.. i was just curious about the perception. so if Rancho didn’t come across as being too perfect in the script, then was it the execution that was at “fault”? i do think people like Rancho exist though, yes, with all their “perfection”, but they tend to be loners — they are right usually most of the time, but that rightness can get frustrating. they will go the extra mile to help others when many won’t, but they can’t seem to share their own sorrows, frustrations, etc with even their closest friends. i think 3i’s Rancho was similar; i doubt even if he wasn’t ::SPOILER!:: contractrually bound to the real Rancho ::end of SPOILER:: whether he’d have still shared his situation with his friends. over a period of time, this ends of creating a wall, you know? even the most well-intentioned friends will feel something missing from that relationship (they won’t feel “needed”),.. so yes, there is this imperfection.

          that’s my reading of 3i’s Rancho anyway, I wonder if Hirani & Joshi also had perceived him such. i’m probably bringing in a real-life Rancho i know to my interpretation anyway.. :P

          ~~re: non-disclosure, i read somewhere — probably mid-day, so not sure of the credibility, — the 3i team made people who saw the movie during “test-runs” (is that what it’s called? the preview before the premiere to gauge audience reaction?) sign such agreements, so that no spoilers will get leaked anywhere. if it’s true, then Hirani not asking you to sign one shows his trust in you, which you most certain deserve =)

          • Possibly, but maybe more likely that Raju knows how extremely lazy I am and that I could not be bothered to leak anything :D (I am a loyal friend though, like a good Scorpio should be!)

  33. I saw this one the day it released and was waiting for your review. Since you were present at the sets, I knew you would definitely write about it. And thanks for all those lovely pics! It was a treat to get a glimpse of what goes on in movie-making. Among all his movies, Munnabhai will always remain my favorite.
    As you said Aamir’s character was too good to be true. It’s the imperfections that add to beauty. Couldn’t connect to Rancho the way we could to Munnabhai (with all his faults and imperfections).
    I loved the movie otherwise. Infact, I loved this the most among all the other movies released this year (at least among the ones that I’ve seen).
    It was a thorough entertainer with a message that learning should be to enhance one’s knowledge and not just for a degree.
    I’ve always believed that it’s not “what you do” that matters but “how you do” that counts. And as long as do what you like, you’ll always be good at it!
    I missed out on your name :-( I did stay back but the names were rolling to quick for me to read all of them. Will make sure that I catch it next time I watch this movie.

    • When I get the dvd I’ll put a screen cap here :) I loved this too; I haven’t watched many other films from this year (tried to see a few that I just could not tolerate past the half hour mark). I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

  34. i am typing this though I can’t see half of the scren here in this cybercafe in kanidvali in bombay.
    i just saw thismovie yesterday in the cinema hall (my first in india after 18years). it was simply great,t hough i hate long movies. the only thing which was bothering me was the hospital bill for raju after his suicide attempt.
    a close freind’s brother commited suicide after being not able to stand the pressure to get admitted in an engineering college andit had me half in tears . at times becuase of laughter and partly due to the tragedy.

    i just loved teh movie. rancho and his superiority included.

    AND i did see your name at the subtitles column, aamirs was there too.

    THANKS A LOT for the behind the screen fotos!
    luv u!

  35. Memsaab,
    My favouritestmost review of the film EVER! I think you’ve managed to be pretty objective despite the caveat at the beginning :)

    But what I loved most was how, despite not being Indian, you’ve captured the very essence & the message that the makers are trying to convey perfectly. Now only if I would’ve read this before watching the movie (your spoiler alert warned had me in), I would’ve also seen the credit.

    P.S: I’ve been to Ladakh & even the dazzling cinematography in the movie does no justice to the beauty of that place. You should SO go there the next time you visit India :)

    • I’m sorry if my previous comment sounds a little harsh, but I meant ‘not being Indian’ only in the sense of not having grown up & been schooled here. I know that you’re extremely well read on all things Indian & in sync with all the happenings in this country :)

    • No offense taken, it is the simple truth: I’m NOT Indian—not even close! Maybe in my next life :)

      I am going to make a great effort to see Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh SOON. I’ve heard that it is breathtaking.

  36. Hello memsaab,

    I chanced upon your site through a random chain of links through different movie blogs. I came, I read and I was conquered. You write very well and I’m hooked to your blog.

    Your review of 3 idiots is pretty concurrent with mine except on the point of Rancho’s character. While I do agree with your point, I see it in a different perspective. For many of us, who understand the message, it comes across as highly preachy. But if one looks at the larger picture, there’s a huge percentage of people out there who haven’t yet internalised the message, and when some celluloid idol of theirs is preaching on the screen, they tend to sit up and listen. I guess from that standpoint, the creative goal behind an endevour is achieved.

    A similar case in point was Rang De Basanti. While it hovered between average and just above average cinematically, in my opinion it was also way below average philosophically. However, one cannot deny the fact that it was heavily influential, especially among the 20-35 demographic. I’d forgive the worst of blasphemies if a greater good were to come out of a work of art.

    Same is the case with Rancho’s character. Forget the “educated” crowd. Imagine the positive outlook it would bring about among the disillusioned lot in smaller towns. Some may say that the movie tries to oversimplifies problems with the Aal Eejh Well slogan. However, they missed out on a crucial line in the film. Rancho says something to the effect of “Aal eejh well bolne se problem sulajhti nahi hai…par haan…humare andar problem sehne ki taaqat zaroor aa jaati hai”.

    We’re a bunch of cinema lovers who have started this website. Would really love to have your feedback on it.

    Cheers,

    A fellow bollywood fan :-)

    • Your point about Rancho is well taken…I just write about how I see things though! I can’t speak for others :) Am glad you enjoy my blog, do keep visiting! I will check your site out as well. Cheers!

  37. A thought has suddenly occurred.

    What do they do with all the food prepared for shots such as the one of the wedding where Rancho meets Pia?
    They had some real delicious looking stuff on their plates.

    Did you get to taste anything, off sets? :-)

  38. I was doing my best to keep away from the controversy surrounding the film’s story. Now that it seems to have ended I feel I have to express – or burst :-D

    It is paradoxical/ ironic that while the film preaches about a system (education) being wrong, another system’s wrongness in the same society has been well exploited.
    Its not just the education system that sucks in India.

    After sifting through all those indignant outbursts of CB, my conclusion is that I don’t think the ‘rolling credits’ is the problem. (Not even money, as many have been saying and using it to divert the issue).

    **It is the credit given as ‘writers’ to others, that is the problem.**

    The use of the word *’writers’* is ethically wrong (I think legally too).
    They should have mentioned, ‘adapted by’ or even ‘inspired writers’ or some such thing.
    % is not the point at all.

    I won’t even start listing books changed considerably for the screen and yet not calling the people adapting it to suit their thoughts and the cinema, as ‘writers’.
    I think CB was too naive and ignorant to handle a high profile issue like this, especially when compared to the high profile people he was dealing with – a system in themselves!!!!!

    He went about it the wrong way – but he wasn’t wrong.

    He has apologised, good for him, but I don’t think all is well with this issue.
    The rich and powerful men have won.

    • I didn’t want to eat anything that had sat under hot lights for 8 hours no matter how good it looked :)

      Chetan Bhagat WAS wrong: he is not some naive innocent basti-dwelling Pyaasa-type poet who was taken advantage of by big bad Bollywood moguls. He is an attention seeker with lawyers who looked at the contract before he signed it, who was given several options out if he had wanted to take them, and who milked the media’s failure to do any research before jumping on a story that had no substance and which has maligned the reputation of a man who doesn’t deserve it. I have NO SYMPATHY for him (in case that isn’t clear yet).

      He’s not very bright—that much is obvious!! He made allegations which were easily refuted thanks to his own penchant for bragging! He’s what they call in Hollywood a fame whore.

      • This would never happen in hollywood in the first place.

        Actually I’m speaking of this issue on moral and ethical grounds.
        Legally CB has put himself (without realising that others will be the ones calling themselves writers) in the position he is in.

        Even a film like Dev D says they adapted it from Saratchandra’s devdas. The amount they have changed is almost all of it.

        The blame lies on VVC (I don’t know how much a director has to do with all this) and on Amir for his arrogance during the whole thing.

  39. I liked the movie but it wasn’t brilliant or anything and it’s certainly not as dear to me as the Munnabhai films which I adore. Sanju is just too awesome for words, in large part because he has so many flaws as opposed to Mr Perfect Rancho. Didn’t like the music either (except ‘Give me some sunshine’) and the delivery scene was sooooooo long and useless. By the time Mona Singh had her baby I was rolling my eyes and going YES YES WE GET IT! Rancho is a GENIUUUUUUUUS! :p

    But a good timepass movie nevertheless. I am thrilled for you that you got an opportunity to hang with all these folks and esp your SHAMMI!! But you know something? In my experience, Bollywood types go out of their way to be nice to gori/gora fans and treat their brown skinned fans like nobodies. Hopefully that’s not true of Raju/Aamir/Shammi but I have so many friends with filmi connections and have never managed to meet ANY star. It makes me really sad :-(

    I didn’t catch your name in the credits!!!!!!!! When they make the movie available on youtube, I shall watch with an eagle eye and promptly take a screencap! :-)

    Also, add me to your ‘generally preferring dogs to humans’ group (Hunnybunny agrees!)

    • I really dont get all this “he is so flawed,” so he is so lovable love for Sanju baba. There is a core of inner strength in him which makes him persist till he succeeds but apart from that he is just an over grown baby – lsting aafter guns, guitars and other phallic symbols of machohood. :)

      • Well, I’ve always had a soft spot for Sanju since his early movies. And it’s not flaws as in oh he’s a drunk and a goonda etc but the fact that he’s funny and he isn’t afraid to laugh at himself and make the audience laugh at him.

        One of the reasons I have NEVER warmed up to Aamir Khan is because for all his good acting, he seems so…. I don’t know? Untouchable? Demigod ish? Perfect? Even in TZP, he saves the day because of course Teacher Aamir Khan is (duh)perfect. In Andaz Apna Apna, Sallu was adorable, Aamir was Aamir.

        I think the only movie I’ve seen that I simply loved him in was Rangeela.. And no, not because he played a tapori called Munna but because he let the audience laugh AT him and consequently WITH him. I’ll take Sanju’s vulnerability and puppydog eyes any day over any of Aamir’s tiresome ‘genius’ roles :D I don’t go to the movies to be patronized while being entertained :p

        • Hey to each his own. The perfect hero has ALWAYS been a part of Bollywood -remember the 40-somethings bursting into the kitchen and announcing, “Maa, I have come first” :)

          We (as in my generation) grew up aspiring to be PERFECT like Amitabh or Munnabhai and now 3Idiots’ Aamir. And seriously it does give a I want-to-be-that-man-on-the-screen vibe.

      • I’m adding to what others have said about liking a personality which is warm and friendly and is capable of making a mistake. :-)

        For this the munnabhais are very appealing and so is Sanju.
        Amir Khan’s characters are not likeable as far as I am concerned. Personally he seems to be obsessed these days.

        • I am not denying the appeal of the characters he plays on screen. But from all the evidence, he seems to be strikingly clue-less (but not mean) in real life. Khud bhi doobega saath main sabko doobaya (will drown himself and take others along with him too) :)

    • I think she meant that Sanju’s portrayal of Munna is good—and that Munna is lovable for his flaws. Sanju’s appeal to ladies in general though I think is that he is just an overgrown little boy with big sad eyes. I wouldn’t want to have to take care of him, but he does have a charisma about him. Sorry. But there you have it :)

    • I think it’s the novelty of having non-Indian people appreciating Hindi films. That was my entree to meeting Raju for sure, but I like to think that we became friends because of my awesome personality and the fact that I am more fun than legally I should be allowed to be. And honestly I don’t think Shammi cared one bit about my skin color—he met me only because Aamir and Raju asked him to :) Otherwise it would probably not have happened!

      *hugs to Hunnybunny!*

      • Ohh I have no doubt he became friends with you because of your personality. Hey, I’ve never even met you and I think you’re awesome! But yes, by and large in India, gora skin = direct entry to film sets/ stars/ backstage at concerts etc. I thought only film folk were like that but I went to a Kathak fest here in Chicago and guess who the artistes spent maximum time chatting with? The gora audience members, most of whom had no clue what kathak was about (I was hovering close by and heard their rather vague comments).

        It’s just disconcerting. Then again, I tell myself- if some film folks out there would hands down prefer gora fans over brown ones beyond just the novelty factor, do I really want to meet them? Probably not :D

        • I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t agree with you—I do! Indian people everywhere are fascinated to learn how much I love Hindi film history. Probably part of it is the hangover from colonialism of not being good enough (which Africa also suffers from, as you know)—a sense of “wait—you like something Indian?! Really?!” In the best context, it’s from a sense of pride and wanting to share culturally with someone different though.

          And then I also have to suffer the hotel bellboys who think they can come into my room uninvited because I’m an “easy” white girl and the salespeople who jack up prices skyhigh because “you can afford it” :)

          • Ugh yeah, and the eve-teasing times 500 *shudder*. I actually told a dear friend of mine (gori) who was contemplating a solo visit to India to not do it. I told her to go with a friend or co-ordinate her visit with me. Since that was not possible, she ended up traveling to a different destination. I have some desi friends who took umbrage with me for suggesting that India may not be a safe place for a lone woman foreigner and I was like WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE SMOKING?!!

          • I don’t mind going there by myself NOW since I know people and know what to expect, but I think you have to be either stupid or very very intrepid (and lucky) to go on your own for the first time if you’re a firangi.

            I’ll go with you anytime!!!! How much fun would THAT be?!

        • U r spot on Pitu about Indian actors and artists preferring to chat with westerners rather than Indians. Memsaab is also right in pointing out the “colonial factor” – sadly it is very much a factor. Even VVC in one of his interviews when “Ekalavya” released was bragging about some famous Hollywood director praising his movie (as if that is the ultimate barometer for him)and he couldn’t care less about reactions of Indians. It is a sad state indeed but lets hope it vanishes over time.

  40. Not to be taken too seriously, but hey the flaws are the flaws. :)
    http://www.thevigilidiot.com/2009/12/29/3-idiots/

  41. Apologies if they’ve been posted further up (didn’t feel like reading 120 comments), but in case not; seen these?

    • (not sure why only one of them was embedded… wasn’t expecting any of them to actually)

      • WordPress is kind of random in its youtube embedding functionality :) Thanks for the links, the first one especially is just so hilarious!!!! :)

        ps Don’t you know that the comments are the best part of my blog? ;-)

  42. “I’ll go with you anytime!!!! How much fun would THAT be?!”

    YESSSSSSSSSS!!! That wud be insanely awesome :))))

  43. omg

    i watched 3 idiots finally!!!it was kinda…..BEAUTIFUL…..

    1 question……wats the name of the guy playing joy lobo……wondeful <3

    • I thought Joy’s short time onscreen was unbelievably moving as well—one of the best parts of the film for me. I think his name is Ali Faizal, but I am not sure. The full cast list doesn’t seem to be up anywhere on the interwebs…

  44. yaaa…..i think this is the scene which shook me kinda…especially that ” i quit”

    + his singing ” give me some sunshine”

    i was already in love with the song….even seeing the picturalisation….wat i say is WOW….

    i tried youtubing for the original video…..couldnt find it!!!

  45. great movie, best of the year by far, proves that stories make a great movie. raju needs to make more films.
    i felt it could have done without the kissing scene though, kissing in bollywood makes me cringe a little bit.

  46. Hello, We have started a new initiative on facebook, to stop student suicides.. It will be great if you can join in and support us in this.. Spread the word, Save a life..
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  47. Pretty detailed review -I say.
    It is so strange that, the one point which you are so passionate about , I have exactly the opposite opinion, Rancho’s character.
    I actually thought that he didn’t live up to the super wise person that he is supposed to be. If he was as flawless as you think, why would he in a drunk state take his friends right into the lion’s den (virus’s house) at midnight?. And there are many other places where he contributes in getting his friends in trouble. That to me was normal dumb student behavior.
    The movie has TOO MANY good points and we really have to search hard for the negative. For me the only negative that stands out is the childbirth scene where everything was going superb till the baby comes back to life with “aal izz well” . that was just a little over the top for me. I would have been very happy if the kid had just come out with a big wail, the sequence would have been just as powerful, actually more so.
    And I loved my picture with Madawan , pulls me back to that memorable evening. I’m going to try and get my foot in every VCF film at least. they’ll have to fight me tooth and nail to get me out. I cant wait for Raju’s next either, but I think he needs a well deserved break and then we’ll see what the master focuses on next.
    This is first blog, that I have ever read with so much attention and then even responded.So thats a major compliment to your writing and to your blog.

    • You make some excellent points about Rancho :) A lot of people felt the character worked well…I guess it just goes to show that you can’t please everyone! It was such a fun evening, thanks in large part to you Shelly! And you must definitely return to films. Cameos in every Vinod Chopra production (or are you aiming for heroine? I think you would look FAB opposite Aamir). *Hugs* and glad you liked the post! Raju will be pleased that you stuck up for Rancho :D

    • I love jumping in with my views ;-)

      Rancho’s message for me was a ‘bad’ message. Everyone will sit back blaming the system, while forgetting that the contribution to this is also in large part by the students themselves, who are part of this system.

      I’m not much perturbed though, because the majority is talking about its entertainment value with a *wise* nod to the ‘message with a – ‘yes, yes, its the system’ *rote* ;-)

      The ‘bhed chaal’ is obvious everywhere.

  48. Finally read your review (as I just got to see the movie this past weekend) and, for once, didn’t want to read any spoilers. It was a special experience for me, as it’s only the 2nd movie I’ve seen in theatres, and I took my sister who has never seen a Bolly film in theatres. Her excitement alone was enough to keep me reved up the whole movie.
    Despite all the controversy, Raju has made a film that, for me, is going to rank probably in my top 10. There’s hardly anything that I didn’t like about it (except for the baby thing, which I agree wholeheartedly with Shelly from the above comment). Also, I had to stay and watch the credits and found your name! Very cool!

    • Yay!!!! I loved it too, and saw it with some Bolly newbies who were quite amazed and enchanted themselves :) It’s only the third one I’ve seen in a theater! What I really wish is that there were a cinema around here which showed old Hindi films, like the ones that show old Hollywood movies, so I could see young Shammi and Dharam on a big screen. Perhaps I wouldn’t survive it though!!! :D

      • I totally know what you mean. Even the trailer for MNIK got me weak in the knees and I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest. I told her that, if we have to head in to the city for the full movie, we should watch the afternoon and the pm viewings. She said that that would most likely kill her. I couldn’t think of a better way to go than a Shah Rukh overload! ;)

  49. i watched this movie and absolutely loved it. aamir continues his box office trend of giving blockbuster movie after movie.

  50. Just one point. You’ve mentioned that you loved ‘give me some sunshine’. And people were loving it. Where did you watch the film? coz, I saw the film in a Mumbai cinema and that song wasn’t there. Except for one shot of Joy at night singing just the mukhda. So was it there in the international prints only or was it taken out after the first day?

    • Hi Pawan, sorry I didn’t see this earlier….no the shot of Joy singing the chorus (what we’d call it in English ;-)) was the scene that people were singing along with.

      I kind of love that it was used in the film as a “mood” setter but never got the “full” treatment. It is wonderful, and sticks in your head…but the visuals are as important as the song.

  51. The suhaas character is soo stupid and his acting is soo deplorable…unless he offered to act for free I hope we don’tever get to see him again!!

  52. Thank you for saying you Hate the song “All Izz well’. I vote for Munna Bhai anytime over these idiots.

    • Ha ha. I really do hate that song. Liked the others in this, and liked the film although Munna and Circuit are incomparable. Poor Raju set an incredibly high bar for himself on his first and second at-bats!

  53. Are you on the sets of Raju Hirani’s new movie PK also?

    • I did spend a couple of days on that set, last October (see the last post I wrote). I’m looking forward to it, saw some of the edited film that he’d already done and it was very funny.

  54. It was really an incredible movie. Loved the way it was directed by Rajkumar Hirani.

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