I have been talking about Bollywood ever since I saw Asoka in 2002. I have induced some family and friends to see various Bollywood movies, so it was great to share watching 3 Idiots with a friend. Being a screenwriter, she is attentive to details, plot and characterization, so it was especially nice that she enjoyed the movie. We laughed out loud.
Students starting engineering school and their orientation and hazing open the movie. One student Rancho (Aamir Khan) is different from the others as seen in his refusal to bow to senior students pressure during hazing with a chemistry trick to thwart the process. Hari (Sharman Joshi) and Farhan Qureshi (Madhavan) and Rancho become friends and the movie follows their adventures.
The school administrator, Viru Sahastrabudhhe (Boman Irani) creates an tense atmosphere following his motto, “Compete or die.” Boman Irani is both comical and frightening as the aging administrator.
Humorous scenes of campus life are at times disrupted by serious scenes like when a student succumbs to the pressure of making good grades and long hours of studying by choosing to commit suicide.
The administrator holds up an ink pen and tells the new class, I have been waiting 32 years for that exceptional student to pass along this pen.
Rancho is different in the way he looks at the world. He challenges convention and asks questions. His favorite saying is “All is well.”
Many of the musical interludes are delightful. The shower scene musical number is funny and light-hearted. Surprisingly, some music lyrics are in English.
Some of the students’ antics include crashing a wedding which is more than a funny scene because new characters are introduced and added to the storyline such as when Rancho points out to a woman, Pia, (Kareena Kapoor) who he thinks is the bride that her fiance is more concerned about money than people.
The end of semester ceremonies include a student speech which Rancho has altered to make it funny but the student, Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya), remembers the joke and is determined to retaliate.
As the students separate to go their own way, they vow to meet again in the future at the same place and same time.
When the Hari, Farhan, and Chatur meet again, Rancho has not appeared, so they go in search of him and find another story along the way.
In many instances, I felt I was seeing whole scenes from western movies dropped into this movie. With Rancho’s character I felt I was seeing Good Will Hunting, The Wedding Crashers, The Paper Chase, and Patch Adams. The emergency baby delivery scene was like watching Apollo 13. This movie was truly delightful. But, while movies often represent universal experiences, movies also illustrate unique perspectives and that is what I felt was missing. Or, in another way, Bollywood is reflecting the westernization of India’s culture.
The movie is well-acted with beautiful and brightly colored cinematography, and delightful choreography. I enjoyed seeing the reunion of the Rang De Basanti actors, Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, and Madhavan.
This is the first time I thought Aamir Khan appeared to enjoy himself.