Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Mona Singh, Parikshit Sahni, Javed Jaffrey
Story Writer:Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijit Joshi
Producer:Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Banner:Vidhu Vinod Chopra Productions
Music Director:Shantanu Moitra
Playback Singer:Sharman Joshi, Suraj Jagan, Shantanu Moitra, Shreya Ghoshal, Shaan , Swanand Kirkire, Sonu Nigam
Pants down and palms up! Give a high five to Rajkumar Hirani, whose formula of cocktailing entertainment with social messages has given us jaadu ki japphi and Gandhigiri in the past. His latest baby 3 Idiots isn’t exactly the cinematic ‘chamatkar’ it’s cracked up to be. It’s a frothy, feelgood, fun-filled, one-time-watch film that leaves you smiling but doubtful whether you wanna walk back in for another viewing.
Borrowing only scraps from Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone’, Hirani and co-writer Abhijat Joshi churn out some delectable idiotgiri, laced with juvenile humour and tear-shedding moments. The only trouble is that the film’s core message is hammered out so many times that by the end it begins to lose its punch.
Salt water is a good conductor of electricity. Everyone’s read it, but Rancho (Aamir Khan) applied it on his ‘pissed-off’ senior to escape getting ragged on his very first day of the Imperial Engineering College.
An Edison-in-the-making, he believes in striving for excellence rather than success, which, in fact, is the core message of the film. But excellence can’t be had if you strive half-heartedly or fearfully or, worst, mechanically. Thereby come in three more characters – Farhan (Madhavan) who wants to be a wild life photographer but is doing engineering to fullfil his dad’s dream; Raju (Sharman Joshi), a poor lad who’s so afraid of failure that his fear has become a self-fulfilling prophecy; and Chatur (Omi) who’s a learning machine adept at mugging up books.
On top of them is the ever grimacing professor Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani), fondly called Virus, telling them that the world’s a rat race in which one has to step on another to get to the top. No wonder the ingenious Rancho is an oddball out in the herd. His questions perplex his professors. And his disdain for the education system that professes learning by rote makes him the arch foe of Virus. Sandwiched between the two foes is Virus’s doctor daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor) who falls for Rancho but has to face up to her eccentric pa at home. Hirani and Joshi take this basic story, spin it on its head, and make it a tale of a quest of Farhan and Raju for their lost friend Rancho, who disappeared after topping the college.
The writer duo packs in some fine humour and drama but overshoot the mark at some places. For instance, Chatur’s convocation speech in which the word ‘Chamatkar’ is replaced by ‘Balatkar’ is a gag stretched too long. And there’s too much butt baring and dropping of pants. And the screenplay too takes a circuitous route through a funeral and a wedding, both not essential to the plot. Despite these foibles, ‘3 Idiots’ makes for an enjoyable watch, thanks to the bonhomie cracked up on screen by Aamir, Madhavan and Sharman. Aamir’s Rancho is a bouncy, fidgety genius with a golden heart.
The 44-year-old actor almost passes off as a 22-year-old collegian, bringing out in his character the juvenile buoyancy and vivacity few actors of his age can. Madhavan and Sharman give ample support from the flanks, but a word of praise needs to be reserved for Sharman who shines equally in dramatic as well as funny scenes. Kareena, sadly, has been relegated to a corner but makes her presence felt in a few well-enacted sequences, but it’s Boman Irani who comes up with the best performance in the ensemble with his brilliant portrayal of an eccentric professor. His jawline protruded, his brows pursed, his gait ungainly, his speech lisped, Irani is every bit the vile and virulent Virus he’s supposed to be.
Shantanu Moitra’s music and Muralidharan’s cinematography complement the flick well. Rajkumar Hirani spins a yarn that despite a few botches has its heart in the right place. For this alone, ‘3 Idiots’ definitely ought to be seen and enjoyed.