Review - 3 Idiots: teach fun Hirani-style

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

Though 3 idiots is a little more slapsticky than the Munnabhai series, the crass humor seems to be with a purpose. What remains fascinating is the blend of comedy with his social messages, as usual. He makes being good look so simple.

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It is so simple to be good in Hirani-land. You beg, borrow or steal with good faith to be a lovable, charming person in the land of idiots. And how much ever I hate the use of fiction in a realistic set-up, I end up enjoying each of his worlds. Maybe because, like most people, I want to believe that it is possible to be good in this mean-mean world. Also it's nice to see a comment on the educational system and the Indian-parent psyche, both competing to kill invention and creativity.

In fact, this time around, it felt like Rajkumar Hirani has taken it upon himself to challenge every single complaint that I have against typical Hindi masala films. I hate slapstick. He uses it - it's justified after all (the setting is a boy-dominated college and an all-boy hostel.) And DAMN! He makes me laugh at Mr. Bean-Tom & Jerrystyle jokes. And out loud at toilet and sex-related jokes! :( He uses that sttuppid marriage-melodrama scene. Yet, I'm egging the bride on to run away, completely disregarding the little change in plan-of-action that Hirani employs.

As in typical slaptick comedies the actors ping-pong between loud and melodramatic. You can call that brilliant acting, or say you cannot judge the actor because he is doing what the genre demands - take your pick. Then there's that slapsticky, loud background music too. And the list goes on. I want to hate this man's guts, but can't help admire the way the typical toilet-humor so fluidly mixes with the insight that comes next.

Though I fear he's taking the slapstick a little further with each of his ventures. A little further towards making the content appeal to the palate of the "masses". Be it the overuse of songs or clichés which are smartly covered under the guise of spoofs. Using a 40 year old actor to play a 17 year old. It is mildly irritating this time, the next time the annoyance might increase.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't taken any risks. The lead lady Pia (Kareen Kapoor) makes her first appearance on screen only in the 45th minute of the film. The kind of humor he uses itself is risky. Such serious, sensitive, and real issues are laughed at whole-heartedly - by the characters. Such dark humor! And well, the audience too was laughing, but that doesn't reduce the risk taken, right?

This might be the most obvious statement that one can make about the film, but how can you not say it when you have seen it. This film would have been hollow without its dialogues and their delivery. And despite the occasional shallow humor. And even if a few of them are sms/e-mail forwards. Its what they lead up to that's more engaging. All fingers point back to the man, Rajkumar Hirani, who has written the dialogues and directed their delivery.

While some of the phrases coined will become references in everyday conversations, the mantra "Aal izz well" has been taken to the extreme in the film's writing. The screenplay makes sure the audience knows from the beginning that "aall izz well" in the end.

So, yeah, you can call it predictable. And some of the events are predictable because the screenplay has given that one extra second for you to think and guess what's going to happen next. But those are semantics. The point raised or answered after that predictable moment is not something you'd think of - at least not all the time.

Another huge element of writing - characterization - is mostly done by use of caricatures. From Chatur/Silencer to Prof. Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani); from his supposedly-soon-to-be son-in-law to even Rancho (Aamir Khan), they all look like they are out of a comic book. But then you have seen a character like that in your circle of friends - the one who names the price/brand of an object before you ask for it, the one who is competitive ad nauseum, the one who spouts philosophy every third second.

But that lingering element of masala is not to be missed. There are no gray characters. Rancho, for example, has huge strokes of Raghu from Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Bawarchi. But there was still something mysterious about Raghu, something that made you curious about him. But here, you know Rancho could do no evil even if he wanted to.

And yet Rancho makes you laugh, he jerks your tears. One or the other emotion is at a high, all the time. But, the question I have about all films that give a "message" in a lighter vein - will the laughs stick or the message? Will we just laugh every time someone says "o bhaiyya, aal izz well" or will we subscribe to the fact that "all's well"?

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Suicides are shown.
  • Language: A lot of toilet and sex-related humor. Lines which could be construed as disrespect to teachers/parents. But I'd still take my kids, because I believe they have a right to speak their mind, even if it means insulting me.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None of that. But there's an elaborate baby-delivery scene.
  • Concept: A comment on both the parental pressure to be a Doctor/Engineer and the educational system.
  • General Look and Feel: A very happy 3 hours these are. Full of songs and bright colors. And you'll see humor even in the most serious topics under discussion.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 4
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 4.5
  • Screenplay: 4
  • Music Director: 4
  • Lyrics: 5

3 Idiots - Movie Details

3 Idiots - Trailer

Comments (14)

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Animesh Raj:

I really enjoyed the first half. I feel the second half was quite a drag. The movie would have been better if it had remained true to the book Five Point Someone. In the 2nd half the director tried to stuff in so many things that the film ultimately choked. Especially, the baby delivery scene was ridiculous. And Amir's character could have done with some gray shades. Overall a good film but it had the potential to be brilliant.

meetu:

Godbole saahab, ab hasi aayi to aap se chhoopa to nahi sakte. And i subscribe to the message too. The two main things the director wanted to do, he achieved. Overall it was an enjoyable experience, kya karein batao?

Animesh, yeah, you are right about 'it could have been brilliant' and Aamir was too goodie-good. But I loved the delivery scene...it was so silly that it was hilarious and the writer knew it too!

Kabir:

Nice review, though the film quite fell below my expectation. It turned out to be just another Bollywood film.

veeneet :

its a dam gud movieee. it tells wat todays youngsters want from their parents, teachers nd community. it focuses on parents not pressurising their children to become doctors or engineers rather should let their kids to be wat they want... its amazing 3 hours o fun, emotions nd full tooo masti of college time.......
GO ND WATCH THIS MOVIE.... is worth paying 500 rupees for this movie......

meetu:

@Dattaprasad Thanks. Will add that to the list.

Ghost Buster:

made a idiot out of myself and watched the movie today. Dumbest of the flicks I seen in a while.

Boman deserves a better ranking than you gave him.

desiparent:

Your reviews are good, but your parental guidance is inadequate and inaccurate. 3-idiots is peppered with dialogues about "balatkar" yet you have no reference to that. The movie is good, but let the parents have complete info and then decide whether they want their kids to watch.

meetu:

@desiparent i have mentioned in the parental guidance section that there is a lot of sex-related language and disrespect. I didnt mention exact words because it sort of spoils the joke for the people who'd watch the film.

@Anurag there you are! thank you for your input.

about the nitty-gritty -

I'm not the writer, so I wouldn't know for sure, but here's my assesment -

1. Well Indians are all over the place. When in Spain, in a little village, there was an Indian restaurant run by a person of Indian origin. A Gujrati in Shimla isn't that big a stretch.

2. He had sworn not to get in touch with people related to the college. And she was Virus' daughter? Maybe that's why.

3. Jesus! No pun intended...are you a conspiracy theorist or what?! You should join Bollywood as a specialist, what say?

4. Well, why did ALL the humor have to be related to the potty or the sexual organs?

5. Chatur took it seriously, Rancho didn't and he wasn't supposed to go back to the college as per his vow to the Chachads of Gujrat.

A question that occurred to me later was -

Why wasn't Wangdoo not at Chachad senior's funeral? Would have saved us quite some time, you know :D

meetu:

Wow! Now I'll have to go look up all this information before I get on Hirani's case for leaving out details like these

nitin:

One of the great movie came out of bollywood.

Aamir a true perfectionist!!!

Hindi Radio:

All is well! I must start with this 3 magical words after watching 3 idiots. One of its kind and probably one of the best movies from bollywood. Enjoyed it a lot!

meetu:

Thanks punerocks! :)

muthu:

Absolute social messenger movie amir khan simply great.

Joan:

I don't suppose that I would love 3 idiots...such films are nor my cup of tea...i'd better to <a href=3D"http://www.casinomagic.co.uk/">play card games online</a>!

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