Review: 3 IDIOTS
Starring: Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, R Madhavan, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani and others
Director: Raj Kumar Hirani
When the industry's best talents - Aamir Khan and Raj Kumar Hirani get together, obviously one expects a film of very high quality. And the good news is that their latest 3 Idiots lives up to most of those expectations. Knowing their repertoire - Aamir with films like Taare Zameen Par, Lagaan and Hirani with the two superlative Munnabhai fims - they've come up with the sort of engaging, inspiring and entertaining film only they could have made. Both like to add pop pholosophy to the mix, and Hirani in his own inimitable style tells you what all is wrong with our education system. Yes, the point gets overstated at times, but thankflly, the film gets constantly redeemed by the delighful vein of ironic humour that runs throughout the film and the warmth that pervades it.
The film owes its basic premise to Chetan Bhagat's 5 Point Someone. And even though there's much in the film that is not there in the book and vice versa, 3 Idiots still manages to capture the essence of Bhagat's bestseller. The film is about three friends - Rancho (Aamir Khan), Farhan Qureshi (Madhavan) and Raju Rastogi (Sharman), studying together at a prestigious Engineering college. While Rancho is the out-of-the-box free-thinking student, the other two find themselves constantly crushed by an education system that rewards marks over merit. Then there's parental pressures to be dealt with. Slowly but surely Rancho's own atittitude to life brings about a positive change in both Farhan and Raju. So when Rancho disappears from the scene one day and remains untraceable for a few years, both friends undertake a journey to find him.
The story in the first half primarily revolves around campus life and operates on a rather broad comic level. There is not much depth here and it's essentially the wry humour and funny situations that keep it going. (Yes, there is a lot of scatalogical humour, but that seems part and parcel of Boys hostel life. Quite harmless and nothing to be outraged really, especially since there is so much else working for the film anyway.) The first half is fairly good, but by no means superlative. There's too much lecture baazi from Rancho, so much so that his friends jokingly refer to him as "Baba"
3 Idiots, with all the fun and games, and some truly witty dialogues and situations, would have remained just another frothy flick, if it were not for the literal and metaphorical journey that Farhan and Raju undertake to find Rancho.
This is really the core of the film, and a very clever narrative choice from the story-telling point of view. This journey of contemplation brings depth to the film and lends it an emotional sweep that takes your breath away. The second half is tremendously entertaining and remains pacy and engaging right till the end. The background score is pitch perfect and often enhances the scenes.
The film's mainstay are its superb performances. Quite incredibly, the 44 year old Aamir Khan makes the 22 year old Rancho a real flesh and blood character, never once drawing attention to himself as a star. Kareena Kapoor brings in a lot of freshness, though one can't say she's a natural fit in Hirani world. The makers have obviously tried to bring down her oomph levels, but her presence still remains overwhelming before her simply dressed, shorter co-star.
Madhavan, much like suga to tea, is not an overt presence in the film, but he's enormously vital to the mix. Sharman Joshi is simply brilliant and it is his chracter and performance that makes the lasting impact long after you've seen the movie.
Boman Irani's role (as the principal) doesn't work as well as it did in the other two Munnabhais, but the film doesn't miss it, thanks to the inclusion of another superbly sketched character, Chatur Ramalingam (Omi - a fabulous find). Mona Singh as Kareena's sister, has a very brief role, but she does well.
Shantanu Moitra's music is situational. Aal Izz Well has already scaled the heights of popularity and it serves the film very well.
Finally, Raj Kumar Hirani delivers once again a film that is hugely entertaining. His last film Lage Raho Munnabhai was a gentler, sweeter film. 3 Idiots, more like Munnabhai MBBS is sharper and wicked. It is also grander and fulfilling.
3 Idiots is then a power-packed, high-quality, big scale Bollywood entertainer, certainly the best of the year. And yes, the film should be very high on repeat value.