What do you get when Munna Bhai starts practicing AynRandgiri instead of Gandhigiri? Phunsuk Wangdu, also known as Rancho, Bollywood's answer to John Galt. Some may feel that it is 15 years too late for Aamir Khan to be playing the college kid. But then this was no ordinary college kid. Rancho, like Ayn Rand’s John Galt and Hoard Roark. is a maverick, a revolutionary, a trend setter .Words that have come to personify Aamir Khan in the recent years. A picture can convey more than 1000 words is an old saying. A brand can convey more than 1000 pictures should be the new saying. So brand Aamir it had to be. And as far as making Aamir look younger, the solution lay in a problem solved by Birbal centuries back. The emperor had asked him to make a line smaller without erasing any part of it. Birbal had immediately proceeded to draw a bigger line next to it to make it look smaller. Similar once you put a portly Madhavan nearing his 40th year next to him, Aamir seems to drop 15 years.
The film has it all - humor, action, drama, romance, songs, a moral and a happy ending. What more can you ask from a film? No wonder it is breaking all box office records. One can wax eloquent about good things in the movie. This so many other reviewers have already done and I doing it again would be as meaningless as the definition of machine given by the character Silencer in the movie. So instead of focusing on the hundred good things I am going to dwell upon the single major flaw that is going to ensure that this film is not going to find it place in eternity. The one slip between the cup and the lip that is going to prevent it from standing up to be counted among the ‘Munna Bhai MBBS’, ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ ,‘Taare Zameen Par’ and others.
What is appreciable about the movie other than the humor is that it tries to convey socially relevant messages. This is something really creditable in this age of meaningless movies such as 'Race', 'Wanted' and 'Rab Ne Banadi Jodi'. But the problem with 3 idiots is it went on to convey more than just one message. In contrast if you see Munna Bhai MBBS, it had a single coherent message - 'A humane approach in dealing with people is more important than technical excellence in one's profession especially in a profession dealing with human lives such as medicine.' Similarly ‘Lage Raho MunnaBhai' highlighted the message of non violence and peaceful resolution of issues given by Mahatma Gandhi. But ‘3 idiots’ gives out at least 3 strongly distinct messages. There is this humanistic message of eternal optimism of 'All is well', probably coming from Raju Hirani, the humanist. Then there is this message riling against the ills of excessive competition and meaningless slogging, probably coming from Chetan Bhagat's original work. And then last but not the least there is this message that one can achieve success by thinking differently from the masses, most likely coming from Aamir Khan.
Before I proceed I would like to take a detour to dwell upon the message that Aamir Kan is trying to convey through his movies. Both in this movie and ‘Taare Zameen Par’, Aamir Khan supposedly tries to convey the message that listening to the dictates of one’s heart is more important than meeting societal norms of success. But then it is clearly not something Aamir Khan an intensively competitive person believes in himself. That’s why Ishan in ‘Taare Zameen Par’ had to win a painting contest to prove his worth. Aamir Khan also had to share the prize with him as Aamir Khan can be second to none, not even in a movie to a character created by him. Similarly in ‘3 Idiots’, Rancho had to stand first in the very flawed education system that the movie tries to deride, win the special pen from the highly competitive Principal and also win the bet with his bête noire Silencer. So his real message is not that success does not matter but that one has to think laterally to achieve success, something that Aamir Khan himself has done successfully to gain an upper hand over his bête noire in real life Sharukh Khan.So getting back to the topic, we have 3 distinct messages coming from 3 strong personalities, a bit too much for a single 3 hour movie. So to summarize the problem briefly, as they say the name says it all – ‘3 idiots’. As too many cooks spoil the broth, so do too many idiots spoil the movie. Given the limited role played by Madhavan and Sharman, I am inclined to believe Chetan Bhagat and Raju Hirjani are really the other 2 idiots referred to in the movie title. And that was the problem with the movie - Two many idiots
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