After having won almost every award there is to win, 3 Idiots continues to make waves around the world. Last week, on the 10th of June, the film was premiered at the Aruba International Film Festival. The premiere was attended by director Raj Kumar Hirani and the ‘two idiots’ Madhavan and Sharman Joshi. And I got to speak with them over the phone.
None of them had ever been to Aruba before and they were having a blast on the island. “We have fallen in love with Aruba”, said Hirani. Madhavan told me they all went surfing for the first time and he enjoyed it thoroughly, and Sharman added that it was really nice to be on the island. All three of them enjoyed their stay so much that after the premiere they decided to stay a little longer.
Non-Indians enjoyed the movie!
Well, back to 3 Idiots. The response in Aruba to the film was amazing. Hirani went on to tell that more than 80% of the audience was non-Indian. “It was wonderful to see the reactions of non-Indians. They were enjoying the movie and reacted positively. It was in the same spirit as in India.” He also met a lot of them after the film. “They were talking about the same things, that you should take the decisions about your own life and should not chase after success. They spoke the same language.”
According to Madhavan it was really nice to see people from around the world, who have no connection to India at all whatsoever or our culture, appreciate and enjoy the film as much as people in India. “That was an eye-opening experience for us. We never expected this kind of reception from the world over.”
Sharman Joshi adds, “I was quite looking forward to seeing the audiences’ reactions, because each audience is different when you look at country and religion. The audiences in Aruba were enjoying, crying and laughing.”
So what is the best compliment they have received so far?
Raj Kumar Hirani: For me it’s more moving when people say that the movie has effected their lives. There are many people who said that they have quit their jobs and now they are chasing what they really want in life. And that is something.
Madhavan: There was this lady at the premiere. She said I reminded her of her son in Venezuela. She had seen me the whole night but said nothing to me after she had seen the film. I found a brother in Venezuela.
The Big Succes continues…
So did you guys expected this kind of success for 3 Idiots?
Raj Kumar Hirani: I didn’t expect this kind of success, I had expected it to be successful but not this big.
Madhavan: I didn’t know it was going to be such a astounding success.
Sharman Joshi: It’s wonderful. Languages is not becoming an issue anymore. The world is becoming one. We are all becoming world citizens. Over a period of time, it won’t be only that a film will appeal to cultural or society related.
Sharman Joshi was really happy with the IIFA Award (for Best Supporting Actor) he received in Sri Lanka, but also pointed out that the reaction of the audience is very rewarding as well. “It’s nice and feels special to be honoured amongst people of your fraternity. For everyone the most important thing would surely have been people’s reactions, but to get the award from the fraternity is a matter of pride. The journey has come to a nice conclusion.”
Are you guys surprised at the number of awards the film has won?
Sharman Joshi: 3 Idiots is one of its kind. I believe it deserves all the awards just for the sheer hard work of the producer and director. Everyone who has nominated worked equally hard, but 3 Idiots is special.
Raj Kumar Hirani: It was satisfying. It really doesn’t make a difference to me, I got many awards in my life. But it makes me happy when my unit gets awards. My background score, my technical team, like how it happened at IIFA. I think almost every person in the unit got an award.
Though Aamir was nominated for Best Actor, Hirani isn’t disappointed that Aamir didn’t win the award. “Aamir doesn’t go for award functions anyway. But it doesn’t matter to Aamir or me. Aamir has seen lots of success in life. But it’s not that if he didn’t get an award that he has performed lesser than the other nominees. Mr Bachchan’s done a great film, so he received all the awards this year.”
Going Global with 3 Idiots
With 3 Idiots going to Aruba, that is one indication that Hindi Cinema is indeed going global. But Raj Kumar Hirani didn’t really agree on that. “Very honestly, Hindi films are still viewed more by the Indian diaspora. I feel that the kind of films we make are very Indian in nature, so primarily the audience will be Indian. Unless, we make a film keeping in mind that we are making it for a crossover audience. Those films will be different. If one really wants crossover, then one has to make a film made for the English audience.”
What is the big difference in mindset when you compare the Western audience to the Indian audience?
Raj Kumar Hirani: How we make a film with songs is acceptable in Indian films. The Western audience cannot except that fact. We are also more melodramatic. Even in real life we dramatize things. We are cultural slightly different.
But isn’t 3 Idiots and its theme quite universal itself?
Raj Kumar Hirani: The film has done exceedingly well also oversees, but it has done well mostly with Indian audiences. One should as an example try and release it for the Western audiences as well. We had a screening at the UN last month and everybody loved the film. Maybe that is an idea, but it is a call which should be made by distributors and producers.”
3 Idiots DVD will release end of June
Hirani went on to question me. “Have you seen the film? Has it released in the Netherlands?” I told him the film did release in the Netherlands, but in limited theatres unfortunately, but the response was fantastic. Everyone here was all praise for the film and till date talk about it as if it released yesterday. They watch the scenes on the internet and are eagerly waiting for the DVD and that is when Hirani announced the DVD release date. “The DVD of 3 Idiots will release at the end of this month and it will have several bonus features on it.”
We continued with the interview because we don’t have much time.
What is your favourite moment/scene in the film?
They actually all agreed on the same scene.
Raj Kumar Hirani: That’s the job interview of Sharman and Madhavan going to his dad to tell him he doesn’t want to become an engineer. To me that is my favourite scene.
Sharman Joshi: The scene of the job interview and Madhavan’s scene with his father.
What was it like to work with Raju Hirani?
Madhavan: He is an outstanding human being. I won’t even comment on him as a director, because the whole world already knows. He is one of my most favourite people on earth. I will definitely work with him again if he offers me another film. I did 3 Idiots because of him.
And Aamir Khan?
Madhavan: Aamir Khan is a great guy to be around. We had a great time on the sets. Raju and Aamir are such that they keep juicing the scene till the very end. No scene is going to look as simple as on paper. To explore the possibilities when you are on the floor is a thing I have learned.
How do you all feel about Hindi cinema today?
Sharman Joshi: It’s evolving, getting more creative. There is innovative success and the audiences take home value, something of substance.
Raj Kumar Hirani: It has grown from what it was ten years back. Earlier there use to be a formula which was followed by everyone. Now there are new makers like Imitiaz Ali, Anurag Basu and Anurag Kashyap. Everybody is trying different kinds of films. The future looks bright.
And that was a great way to end the interview. I had a great time talking to all three of them and time flew because I was having a blast. I’m sure they had a wonderful time in Aruba as well and we are all looking forward to the release of the 3 Idiots DVD. I cannot wait to get my hands on that one!