Gave me the sunshine
of seasons past
This is not a review of 3 idiots.
I am a child of the eighties. Unlike the children of the late Nineties or the Noughties, who grew up with Satellite TV and alternative career choices, my options were limited. I never clearly knew what I wanted to do. Maybe I don’t know still. I was good in Maths. I hated blood and dissecting frogs, and I wanted to travel outside my hometown, maybe work somewhere in a city in India or even abroad. I have 3 cousins who are Engineers, and hence my parents were keen enough to make me one. And so I became one. All of this sums me up as a blend of Raju, Farhaan and Rancho – our three protagonists of 3 idiots. And hence, unlike “reviewers” who would nickname this as Munnabhai B.Tech [with certainly no idea of what they’re talking about], I feel deeply connected with this movie in a very obvious way. I have gone through that phase of peer pressure, fear of failure, coping with parental expectations and above all, the struggle between the safe-route naukri routine and the true calling in one’s self. I have a confession to make – I became a Mechanical engineer not because I was fascinated about Machines or automobiles, but because it ensured a better and a secured future. [ #Fact: Majority of Mechanical and Civil Engineers get recruited by IT services MNC’s, or go ahead with yet another struggle called CAT]. And yes, although I am not proud of my decision that I never gave enough room for my own interest in music, movies or writing which surely doesn’t match my Mechanical Engg degree [or my Masters in Operational Research], it certainly pays off my bills and in a way they make me happy. Yes, I am materialistic, who’s not?
But let’s get back to the movie. The world of 3 idiots set in a certain Imperial College of Engineering is typical of any Engineering college campus. The water tank aka ‘Tanki’ is reminiscent of the one that was in my campus. Of course, we had a biological name for it. And like non-living objects, we had nicknames for each and every character we found as worthy of being termed as a characteristic. So similar to the movie which has Chatur the Silencer, we had a Silent Killer, a DOPA [Dean of P@ndy Affairs] and also Remix King [I wish he’s reading this] who was responsible to add his wicked non-veg remixes to popular Bolly numbers [shining examples being Behra Piya Bada Bedardi, Hilake Pilake– Sharara Sharara and something that I can’t write about in public but I can certainly reveal that it is based on Tushar Kapoor’s Is Pyaar Ko Main Kya Naam Duu]. Although I wasn’t at all as competitive as Chatur, I did know an awful lot of people who were the ulta-cramming machines like Chatur, but quite ironically, would never top the class. And amongst others, I also had a couple of mates who would spend late nights until the wee hours of the morning playing cards or multi-player games and still score the highest marks. Typical Ranchos they were. And also a world which had the multi-tasking Millimeter, the Mega-Byte and Giga-Bytes And for such obvious reasons that the movie brought all these memories back to me in a gush, I loved it. Not just a bit, but a whole lot.
Of course, 3 idiots has its share of flaws of being totally over-the-top bollywood melodrama with the main hero going straight for the director’s daughter who looks like Bebo. Oh yeah, it was inspired from that book, but there’s an explanation to that. Rancho says Peeya’s mum should’ve been a looker and explains – Have you seen your dad? The melodrama and Bolly masala continues with the lukewarm chemistry between Rancho and Peeya which actually acts as a distraction to the main plotline. Not to forget the scene that I despise – the now infamous – online tutored – video conferenced – delivery scene with the aid of pressure controlled vacuum cleaner with special mention of YouTube. Not to forget Boman Irani’s portrayal of the velcro shirt wearing, time-efficient director who has a power-nap and a shave simultaneously while tuning into Opera music is although a bit OTT, I can certainly vouch for similar characters profs who have similarly extreme deviant behaviour. And yeah, I am well aware of the comparison of Jadoo ki Jhappi and Gandhigiri to Aaall izz Well!! But does that really bother you? Not me.
But I am not complaining at all. For what it is worth, 3 idiots is a gem of a movie. It has its heart at the right place. Sharman Joshi had impressed us previously with his crackling portrayal of Sukhi (Rang de Basanti) and in 3 idiots, he brings back that very innocence, and the vulnerability in the character of Raju. Extra brownie points for Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi to have condensed Raju’s family background in a Bollywood vintage showreel montage. That was ROFL stuff. And Farhaan’s story narrated in the skin by Madhavan was just spot on. From his 1st minute-on-earth expectation load given by his Abba, to his effortlessly expressive acting, he is a breeze to watch. And of course 44-year old Aamir Khan playing a late teens guy [yes not twenties duh! We enter Engineering in our late teens, to clarify everyone who have been talking about 44 yr old Aamir playing a twenty something] is a funtoosh character. Someone should probably make “The Curious Case of Ever-Young Fair n Lovely Aamir Khan” someday. And for people who find it hard to believe that a single guy can dance, sing, make hovering copter models, not care about studying late nights, romancing the leading lady, and yet emerge triumphant with the mark-sheet – lemme just say, there are such mahapurush in every batch of every department of every effin’ Engineering college.
And although the movie was replete with age-old jokes of students bribing gods for their results, or the paper-mixing joke or the one about how does an induction motor start, it still makes me chuckle. And even no cynical bastard can fail to do so. Most importantly I’d like to applaud Raju Hirani for making a bold statement about the state of the Indian education system which is more stressed on the mark-sheet rather than the ‘kaabiliyat’ [ability]. I cannot disassemble an automobile engine, and my 96% marks in Machine design certainly should only remain true on paper. But I am not sure about Engineering colleges demanding text-book definitions rather than the basic concept. This is more of a high-school norm. I was wishing though that I do get to see a bit of the Kota community, FIITJEE and Bansal classes story which leads these bhains-bakri people to Imperial College. That’d been an interesting 2 minute lead to their college joining.
Chatur’s obsession with becoming successful in terms of material possessions is a harsh truth that I find in myself. Yes, just like the narrator in Fight Club, we often try to evaluate ourselves in terms of an IKEA catalogue by the amount of Vintage Wine we have at home, the marble flooring, the Swiss watch we wear, or the gadgets we possess, but hardly have an effing clue how to use. It was funny to see how Chatur remembered about a 10 year old challenge and comes back to show how much he has achieved. Some people are bloody competitive. The other side of Chatur being a complete misfit in a Hindi speaking population has been awesomely portrayed by Omi Vaidya. His confusion over the proper usage of gender with Hindi is typical and funny and not exaggeration to a bit. And that’s because he does not say Aiiyo before every line, and still manages to make me wet my pants everytime he says -Mootra Visarjan.
But that’s enough of me ranting about the movie. Engineer or not – you should go watch this movie. Thanks to Hirani and Abhijat Joshi to have written a wonderful story and to have borrowed just a limited bit from the book. Thanks for an awesome Intermission and for a zippy cameo by Javed Jaffri. Thanks to Shantanu Moitra for giving all the engineers a new anthem – Give Me Some Sunshine, Give Me Some Rain, Give Me Another Chance, I wanna grow up once again, and of course to Shaan and Shantanu to have given us – Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh. Every time the lines – Yaar Humara Tha Wo– appears, I get reminded of the many friends I have lost contact with, with whom I have spent a whole lotta sleepless nights, drinking, watching horrible B-grade movies, playing Need For Speed or Unreal Tournament, or bunking classes and tormenting juniors to write our assignments. 3 idiots succeded in bringing back all those memories in just a matter of a couple of minutes. And for that reason alone, I declare it as Bloody Brilliant!!
And to conclude, I dedicate this post, to my lovely mates from college. A picture to share – captured on the day of my last exam of final semester. No points for guessing that guy in the middle. And for the record – no matter what – Mechs Rock!!!!