Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots starring Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Omi Vaidya, Boman Irani and Kareena Kapoor released in December of 2009 to critical acclaim and huge box office returns. The film has now gone on to be one of the biggest blockbuster films in Hindi cinema history. The DVD released in India in 2010, but it was not until just last week that the DVD finally hit stores in the US and Canada. To celebrate this we thought it would be fun to take another look at the film a year and halfish later. However, we decided to go a bit different and do a review as a panel discussion. So, with Editor-in-Chief Stacey as moderator, see what happens when five writers at BollySpice.com from four different countries get together to discuss the 3 Idiots!
Stacey: So, how would you describe the story of the film?
Meera: 3 Idiots is about three friends, Rancho (Aamir Khan), Farhan (Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi) who are all studying at college. Rancho is a rebellious character who is always asking questions, to the annoyance of the college director Viru (Boman Irani). He encourages his friends to be themselves and look beyond things and find their true calling in life.
Rima: I would say the story is essentially about friendship. I know that Raj Kumar Hirani said that it covered the pressures that students were under and the suicide rates amongst students in India being the highest but I don’t think that this was explored enough. It did cover aspects that said follow your dreams, be yourself and the world will accept you for who you are the way you are but ultimately I think it was about three friends who were willing to do anything for each other – including jumping out of a window…
Charla: 3 Idiots is about life, with its ups and downs and how one can either challenge oneself and do better or let it get to you so it can defeat you. It’s about what one wants out of life…making sure you chase your own dreams and not someone else’s. It’s about making yourself capable of chasing your dreams.
Amrita: 3 Idiots is about friendship essentially. It’s a tale of how one person can come into a given situation and turn it around completely. The movie tackles many different issues with the backdrop of college life and peer pressure. It is a well-rounded story, which is taken forward by friendship and the good that can be gotten out of every situation in life.
Rumnique: I would say the 3 Idiots storyline is akin to a coming of age story for all 3 men. Though it liberally borrows elements from ‘Two Point Someone’ by Chetan Bhagat, the stories are uniquely individual.
Trupti: The basic essence of the story is about the education system which needs changing. Given the right direction and some change in technique this will enable students to achieve more than their best. It is also the story of 3 students who become friends and push each other to achieve their goals.
Stacey: What are your thoughts on the story?
Meera: The story of this film was so well written that there was never a dull moment, everything flowed so well. I was hooked from the minute the film started. The story got its message across without being preachy. I thoroughly enjoyed this clever film.
Rima: Loved it! The funny parts were funny, the sad parts were sad the emotional parts were emotional.
Charla:: The story was presented in a fresh and new way. Having read the book, I must say I recognized a lot from it. There were no boring scenes, the story was told quickly, it was witty and one could easily relate to college life.
Rumnique: I thought the story lines of Farhan/Madhavan struck me the most as it was a common issue of a student going into an area they hated due to pressure and family. The suicide angles were very honestly and respectfully handled.
Amrita: The story is fresh, youthful and seeks to pass on some very important social messages. With the use of comedy and characters that are audiences can easily empathize and sympathize with, 3 Idiots portrays the feeling of parents, the stresses of students and the ups and downs between friends in a movie which appeals to the masses.
Trupti: I think the story was kept very true to life. The ups and downs in their lives were well timed and had a good flow to them. I could relate to the story well not only because I had, in a way, been through that stage but also because it was well written.
Stacey: So let’s talk about performances. Since I know you guys will go on and on…(laughs) I will leave it to you…
Rima: For me, Aamir as the non-conforming Rancho is perfect. He manages get under the skin of a character he is playing and successfully manages to breath life into the free spirited and honest Rancho; it actually took me a moment to digest the incredible difference in appearance and character undertaken by Khan. It is this attention to detail that really comes through in 3I. The big, baggy, oversized clothing worn by Aamir make him look tiny and at times incredibly vulnerable. The characters constant movement, the wide-eyed excitement of a twenty something year old, the curiosity to learn – if there was an actor who could pull this off, it could only be Aamir. And he does with great aplomb. Madhavan and Joshi give consistent performances throughout the film. Both have fantastic comic timing and are the perfect compliment to Khan’s Rancho. Kareena Kapoor, as Pia is good, but I don’t think she bought anything to the character that couldn’t be bought by someone else, I can easily picture Deepika Padukone, Geneilia D’Souza in the role. And for me if I can picture anyone else in the role – it means that there was something lacking. The chemistry between Aamir-Madhavan-Sharman is fantastic and the trio is well supported by Omi as ‘silencer’. This was a memorable debut and Vaidya held his own in front of some well established industry names. Boman Irani as Viru Sahastrabuddhe, which at times is reminiscent of Munna Bhai’s Dr. Astana but in all honesty I don’t think I can see if there is anyone else I would cast in the role – which in my eyes makes him perfect.
Amrita: Aamir Khan – Although he is perhaps a little too old to play the role of a student, he completely outdoes himself in the film. Madhavan – 3 Idiots makes me think how much of an under-rated actor he really is. His portrayal of a student who is being stopped from following his dream because of how his parents will be depicted in society is admirable and I’m sure everyone out there can identify with him somewhere along the line. For me, Sharman Joshi is the one that shines in this film. His performance makes you cry, laugh and want to hug him. I think this says it all! Kareena Kapoor an actress whose performance is perhaps overshadowed by the men in the movie but she is great as always. Boman Irani gives an absolutely rocking performance as the college principal who is so set in his ways that he jeopoardises his students’ progress along the way. The detail given to his character and performance is commendable and perhaps what makes his strictness so comical. Omi Vaidya gives an exceptional performance for his first film. You kind of hate him but love him… and characters like that always seem to leave you wanting more!
Charla: Aamir Khan was good in his role but, I have to admit, I am not a fan of forced method acting, which I noticed a few times, which can sometimes get on your nerves. But he was outstanding, though I have to agree with Amrita that Aamir is indeed too old to play a college student hahaha… I also agree Sharman Joshi gave an outstanding performance. This guy has a lot of potential and I don’t know why nobody is tapping it. Madhavan: Outstanding as well! Loved his character. The opening scene was great! Omi Vaidya: Now there is someone we will never forget. He made himself unforgettable with the Balatkaar speech. What a guy! Kareena Kapoor: Very nice. I didn’t think she had lots to do, but she did brought a special flavour to the cast. It was all about 4 idiots.
Rumnique: Well, tied at no.1 is both Madhavan and Sharman Joshi who actually look the age of college/uni students. They both matched each other equally and managed to steal Aamir’s thunder whenever he came and dominated the proceedings. Sharman was particularly affecting in the aftermath of the suicide, he really eloquently put a human face to such a difficult and dark area. Kareena Kapoor was very good and made the most out of being the only girl there.
Trupti: Everyone in this movie in their respective roles out did themselves. It was one impactful performance after another.
Stacey: Favorite scene? I know we will all list Chatur’s balatkaar speech, but what else?
Rumnique: That scene, of course and Sharman’s job interview speech had me bawling.
Meera: Has to be the scene were Kareena Kapoor goes into Aamir Khan’s room and says the “dhokla, fafda, thepla, khandwa, khakra” lines. This scene had me in stitches, I was laughing so much. In fact thinking about the scene still brings a smile to my face! Kareena Kapoor delivered one of her best performances with this film. She played her character Pia with such conviction.
Charla: When the 3 idiots run away from Virus’ house and fall asleep in college. The next morning they wake up in class. When Virus comes looking for them, He asks for Raju. When Raju stands up drunk, he asks him how an induction motor starts and Raju makes the sound. Outstanding scene! Always cracks me up! The last scene is the scene where Raju has his job interview. It was a real touching scene… also the explanation about him being so honest, that he cannot lie, which surprises the people who are taking the interview. After Jay Lobo hangs himself. I love how Aamir explains that it is not suicide. It is murder. A very effective emotional scene.
Amrita: So many to choose from! I guess it would have to be the one which makes me emotional. It is when Madhavan and Sharman go back to college after both being told to face their fears. Madhavan convinces his parents to let him pursue a career in photography and Sharman lands himself a job by being honest about his circumstances… they both return to college and do the whole “Jahaapanaa tussi great ho, Tofa kabool karo” (with trousers down) for Aamir. Aamir walks away with tears of happiness in his eyes. Ahhh… so sweet!
Trupti: Aah! There are soo many! I’ll have to draw a chit (laughs). The first one that comes to mind is when Joy hangs himself in his dorm room and written on the wall is ‘I Quit’. The silence followed by the dialogue between Aamir and Boman leaves you speechless. No one I know of did not not cry upon watching this scene.
Stacey: Favorite song?
Rima: Give Me Some Sunshine – love it, love it, love it!
Meera: Zoobi Doobi
Rumnique: I agree, I think Zoobi Doobi was brilliantly picturized though some of the choreography was far too frenetic at times.
Charla: I have a few favorite songs: Give Me Some Sunshine, which depicts the right emotion. Behti Hawa Sa Tha woh… and also Jaane Nahin Denge Tumhe…. ehm… I am quite an emotional person hahahaahaha! I love these songs because they have a feeling in them. I don’t know how to explain, but these songs aren’t just songs, they make you think, beautiful compositions, Outstanding lyrics filled with emotions… love it.
Amrita: My fave is undoubtedly “Behti Hawa Sa”… Such beautiful lyrics, a great tune and Shan’s unbelievably fitting voice. Perfection! The picturisation is also great!
Trupti: Yep I agree! My favorite too is ‘Behti Hawa Sa’. Beautiful lyrics, soothing music and Shaan with his mesmerizing voice. As you said Amrita, perfection.
Stacey: Okay moving on to things that did not work. Was there any scene that stood out to you as being off or not really needed?
Rumnique: That absolutely ridiculous birth scene with the hoover and everything had me cringing, so heavy handed and stupid. Definitely needed to be cut.
Amrita: I totally agree. It did all seem very “too-good-to-be-true” at one point, which spoilt it a little for me.
Trupti: That gets the vote from me as well. The birthing scene was a little too much.
Stacey: Make that four! That scene really took the film to a place that made it much less and took away from the greatness of the film. In fact, it was this way, way, way over the top scene that made me only think this is an okay film when I first saw it.
Charla: The Zoobi Doobi song: it took me out of the story and they could have easily done without it. Also they could have shortened the search to Wangdu…. hahaha And the guy who Kareena is marrying – he was quite loud.
Rima: There are people who are going to hate me for saying this but I still have my doubts about the Kareena – Aamir pairing. I have seen better chemistry elsewhere – I guess is does relay a message without being too preachy but there was some more room to explore the parallel themes of the story.The chemistry was good (if I am generous) but it could have been better. That okay-ness maybe due to the simple fact that in a film where the 3 Idiots hold the monopoly there really isn’t enough time to focus on a love story.
Rumnique: 3 Idiots is a lovely film, but the writing of Rancho was a hindrance to the film, of course they had to focus on Aamir Khan being the crowd puller, but this was at the expense of the better defined other characters. The letdown for me was Aamir Khan, he just does not look like a college student, his botox and extreme expressions looked so out of place in this movie. I just could not relate to Rancho’s character because he became more of a ‘Manic Pixie Dream Man’ making everyone’s dreams come true, and ringing sanctimonious to me.
Stacey: What do you love about 3 Idiots?
Charla: That’s simple: Storyline, performances, songs, lyrics, dialogues.
Rumnique: I loved how the film tackled so many issues like suicide, ragging, and friendship with such aplomb. It was so enjoyable to witness the 3 leads chemistry together.
Amrita: What I love most about the movie is that it’s the kind of cinema one will never tire of. I could possibly watch this movie every week and know every dialogue and scene order but I would still watch it all over again. It’s universal appeal, real characters and hysterical comic scenes make it what it is.
Stacey: Is there a message in 3 Idiots? For me, it has so many layers to its message, but in the end it is about being true to yourself.
Meera: Yes! To be yourself and follow your heart!
Rumnique: I would say the message in 3 Idiots, is definitely to follow your dreams no matter what opposition or pressure, you have to have the courage. The instrumental person being Rancho who helped all the characters achieve their desires.
Rima: If someone calls you an idiot it is not necessarily a bad thing – they just don’t see things the same way you do…yet….
Charla: The message at the end is beautiful, don’t chase success, chase excellence and success will follow. You should always do something you are good at and what you like doing. Parents should not force their children to be what they want them to be. They should let them discover themselves what they are good at. As soon as they know, support them in their choice.
Amrita: There are several messages in 3 Idiots. I think perhaps the most important being the issue that people give too much importance to how things will look to other people or in society. 3 Idiots encourages you to follow your dreams, be who you want to be and do what you want to do…but make sure you’re happy and doing it all with your heart and not for the pleasure of others.
Trupti: I agree with you Stace. When you follow something your heart loves it will only lead you to happiness. Society is there today and not tomorrow. Let your children grow up and find their own love for life. Open their eyes to new things and let them develop. Don’t try to fit them into a template because everyone is different.
Stacey: So finally what would your star rating for the film be?
Rumnique: 3.5/5 A well made thoughtful but timepass movie.
Rima: I will stick with my same rating that I did when I did the review when it release. 3.5 out of 5 because I feel some ideas needed to be explored more.
Meera: 4 stars!
Charla: 4 out of 5 for me too!
Amrita: 4.5 out of 5!
Trupti: 5 out of 5!
Stacey: I also was assigned the job of taking a look at the extras included on the DVD. There are four short behind the scenes features that are really fun to watch. Since this DVD is for the US and Canada market the features are mostly in English, which is great because many times extras do not come with subtitles. Let’s take a look at each of the four in more detail.
First is Idiots in Ladakh , which is a behind the scene feature about the first shooting schedule in the mountain region of Ladakh. The first scenes on the clapper to shoot were interestingly the scenes that are at the end of the film, when they finally do…well you have to see the movie to see what they finally do find. With interviews with stars Kareena, Madhavan, Sharman, Aamir, director Rajkumar Hirani and the crew, it gives a great inside look into the making of a film on location with weather delays including 2 feet of snow and more. What happens makes up the bulk of the special feature. It is really enjoyable and interesting to watch. The second feature is the making of the song Aal Izz Well . We not only get to see the on set antics and filming, we also get to see the recording of the song and the dance rehearsals with the stars. It is another great extra you must check out! One of my favorites, I actually wished it had been longer. Then we have 100% Idiots , which again is a behind the camera look. You think it is just about the scene where Maddy, Aamir and Sharman got really drunk for a scene that they were supposed to be reel-ly drunk. However, behind the scenes at the shoot there was some major tension going on. This one is also too good, interesting, funny, with interviews, a car race, on location shots and more. Another A for this one as well. Last is Making of Miss Idiot , which takes a look at the creation of Kareena Kapoor’s character Pia’s looks in the film. With interviews with Kareena and the director this is another short but very fun and totally enjoyable extra. I actually would have loved to see more of this one as well.
The extras on this DVD get an A+++! Be sure to check the special features out after this outstanding film hits its credits!
With contributions by Stacey Yount, Meera Sharma, Amrita Tanna, Charla Manohar, Rima Bhatia, Trupti Kantilal and Ruminique Nannar.