Wednesday, December 30, 2009

3 idiots

When 3 idiots was announced, My prime concern was with the selection of its leads – R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi & and a certainly ageing Aamir Khan. How would they approach the characters half their age was all I worried about. But for all it stands, Actors looking their part is the least of this film’s concerns. 3 Idiots succeeds in everything it is concerned about. But the problem is – We expect Hirani to be concerned about much more.


5 point someone, for all its clich├ęs, was still a novel set in reality and made us believe every word it said. On the very contrary, 3 Idiots, despite being based on the same is hardly rooted to the ground. And the best part about it – It never lets us bother about these very ‘reality check’ issues either.



Hirani believes in two genres that otherwise seldom appear together in same hindi film – Message-driven drama and Comedy. But then, that’s what sets 3 Idiots apart, just like his first two cult classics. The Comedy here, is absolutely first-rate – covering almost every kind of humour We’ve seen in our cinema. From the gently-funny tribute to 50s-esqued house of limted means in our films to the utterly delightful ‘Zoobi Zoobi’, Hirani shows how can comedy be simply clean fun. Infact, it’s the comic scenes which keep the film sailing pretty smoothly despite its other so-over-the-toply executed sub-genre – the preaching part.



Be well-educated, not well-trained”, “Follow your heart”, “Study for excellence and success will follow you” and our leading man Ranchodd das ‘Rancho’ goes on and on about how to qualify as an ‘Idiot’ in their professors’ books. But other than these very countable punch-lines, We hardly are allowed a glimpse at the idiocy of the trio. For most of its running length, 3 idiots is only about how unbelievably perfect is its protagonist. The fact that its played by Aamir Khan - who played a similar idealistic sentimental guy exactly 2 years ago in Taare Zameen Par - hardly helps (though he is as brilliant here too). He is the knight in the shining armour out to help everyone in sight, what with additional statistics for reference about how many students actually commit suicide every hour. Ohh please!


Even worse, with (a very theatrical yet effective) Boman Irani playing a sort-of antagonist who can offer sympathy toa student but not extension for his project, We are forced to take sides. Manipulation is fine until We don’t realise that. But here, the director fails to keep us involved enough.



Sharman Joshi and Madhavan are in fine form (esp. the former who does wonders with a sharper character-arc) but its tough to care for their bonding with Aamir, for there’s hardly any shown in the film. For that matter, the Kareena-Aamir romance too is played out as a filler. Perhaps that was the makers’ intention, but it doesn’t quite come out very convincingly.


And ofcourse, the Second half dips into excess of melodrama turning the initially-delightful mantra ‘Aal is well’ (Watch out for the backdrop story behind this chant; its hilarious!) into some sort of an anthem. That may grate on your nerves towards the end but perhaps that exactly what Hirani wanted to do. He doesn’t care for excess as long as it manages an emotional reaction of us. And 3 Idiots gets that in plenty, so what if at the cost of a little too much of manipulation.



Ultimately, 3 Idiots is more about the triumph of idealism rather than the inherent charm and hardships of growing up (which is briefly, and hence ineffectively, summed up in a minute-long rendition of ‘Give me some sumshine’ early in the film), thus making it a trilogy of sorts in continuation with Munna Bhai’s stint at a medical college and later at changing the system as a whole. The title could just as well be ‘Ranchodd das B.E.’ and it wouldn’t make a penny of a difference to the goings-on.



The film entertains you too much to nitpick so much, could be the counter-argument. But with Hirani wielding the megaphone, I don’t expect mere laughters (so what if they come in like every other minute, leaving you rolling in the aisles) Hirani can be quite a magician, but this one certainly failed to cast its spell – but only perhaps because it was so desperate to do so.

Rating - 3.75 (Would soon find a better way to rate films, I assure!)