The biggest hit in the history of Indian cinema just got bigger, thanks to the controversy between Chetan Bhagat, the author of Five Point Someone, and the filmakers of 3 Idiots. Well before analyzing this controversy, I must say that the controversy itself is no less than a Bollywood potboiler.
So was ‘3 Idiots’ a rip-off of ‘Five Point Someone’? Was Bhagat justified in accusing the filmmakers of not giving him his due credit? Was Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s outburst justified? Let’s see….
Unlike some critics who have gone on to say that 70% of ‘3 Idiots’ has been taken directly from FPS, I would rather say that about 50% of the scenes in ‘3 Idiots’ have been taken up directly from FPS. You can draw parallels between Cherian and Sahashrabuddhe. Also, the character of Raju is similar to Alok’s and that of Chatur Ramalingam is smilar to Venkat’s. Several scenes like the one in which Raju’s mother complains about the daily problems of their household, Raju’s attempt to suicide, stealing the question paper from the director’s office and the scene in which Sahashrabuddhe gets the suicide note of his son are similar to those in FPS.
So upto this point …Chetan looks like the hero and the filmmakers villains, but is it???
No doubt there are a few scenes that are similar to FPS but there are 100 other scenes which are completely different …even the characterisation of the protagonist of the film. Aamir’s character “Rancho” is quite different from that of Hari in FPS. Rancho is smart intelligent, eager to learn and has a cool temparament but Hari was not that bright as a student and was never interested in attending lectures. Madhavan’s character “Farhan” is no way connected to any of the characters in FPS. I can point out many other differences ….but let me just sum it up for you. The main storyline of ‘3 Idiots’ is different from FPS but many scenes of FPS have been taken to add ‘flesh’ and ‘skin’ to the main ‘skeleton’ of the film. The script writers took the easy way out and copied it from FPS.
Now, since we’ve seen both sides of the story lets have a look at couple of things before weget to the verdict.
The claim that Bhagat was not given any credit is absolutely false. Chetan’s name features in the rolling credits at the end of the movie. But I don’t think that was good enough to credit a person whose work has contributed so much to the movie. But then again, what can be done? It’s not the moral responsibility of the filmmakers to give him credit, it’s a legal issue. They had a contract with Chetan Bhagat and Chetan had accepted it. If he really had some issues, he should have sorted them out before signing the contract. Maybe he got a poor deal, maybe the filmmakers outsmarted him, maybe he didn’t realise then what he was about to get. But that’s his problem and that too because of his own stupidity. Can you expect an IIT-D and IIM-A alumni to get fooled so easily? (One thing is for sure, his professors at IIM won’t be too pleased with his negotiating skills). In today’s world it’s not ‘survival of the fittest’ anymore, now it’s ‘survival of the smartest’
The Verdict :
I agree that there are alot of similarities between the movie and FPS but after you have accepted what was about to come in a legally binding contract, you just can’t come out and speak ill about others. It’s your foolishness, Chetan not anyone else’s. Would he have done the same thing if ‘3 Idiots’ had been a flop? I really doubt that.
But now, I’ve learnt that Chetan has already apologised for this controversy (which I think he should have done) and the matter is sorted out.
So now,AAL IZZ WELL!