3 Idiots has to be the most anticipated film of the year (2009) and will most certainly bag the coveted award for best film, as most Aamir Khan starrers do. With all the hype that Aamir created for a movie that was overtly simple and understated, one really couldn’t sense how successful the film would be just by the promos and songs, that although catchy, didn’t seem like A list music. After all there have been numerous films centred on college life such as Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na, which was produced by Aamir Khan. But what sets 3 Idiots apart from the rest is the perfect blend of effortless comedy, brilliant acting and chemistry between all the characters and a script focusing it’s three main characters, leaving enough room for the message to peek through the humour. It may have given off a Dil Chahta Hai vibe, with three friends in their element of buffoonery, but 3 Idiots is a film with a very grave undertones beneath the various layers of humour: a message that many in the academic structures of higher education are alarmingly all too familiar with – student suicide, or as Hirani questions throughout the film, murder.
Other than the three leads, Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi there is a fourth sub-character who is pivotal to these main three – Omi Vadiya (who some may recognise from the US version of The Office).
Hirani depicts the vagaries of college life and how each character deals with the various pressures of young adulthood, it’s accompanying responsibilities and burdens alongwith academics. Omi is the annoying geek who believes in mental Xeroxing and regurgitating, Madhavan is the student pushed by his father, striving to take an interest in a subject that he does not have a passion or inclination for (sound familiar?), Joshi the scholarship recipient whose family life is a pothole of problems, Aamir, the refreshing free thinker and challenger of all rules who attends college to learn and assiduously quotes throughout the film, “seek excellence and success will follow”, and Boman Irani as the irrepressible Virus; the college director who emblemises the patriarch of pedagogy.
Using each character to depict a facet of the education sector, Hirani brings forth a powerful debate of what constitutes education in the true sense and ultimately tries to show the triumph of creativity and innovative thought in the film’s hilarious concluding scene with his two opposing characters.
But to give credit where it is due, the film is as much about Madhavan, Joshi and Omi as it is about Aamir. With each passing film, Aamir seems to have reduced the verbosity of his characters and focused more on expressive acting, allowing those sharing his screen frame to share the glory. The film sees the rise of Madhavan and Joshi as talent to reckon with.
3 Idiots is an endearing story that leaves one in convulsion upon convulsion of laughter, Hirani scores by bringing forth a story identifiable and real not only for the audiences, but also for himself. With a director who has made films on his own terms with the most bizarre story lines (the loveable don Munna Bhai as testimony), and a leading actor, Aamir Khan who reigns the industry on his own terms, 3 Idiots comes off as a strong commentary on the mantra ‘believe in your self and do only what you can do best, and happiness and success will follow’ – Hani Taha Salim
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2009, Genre – Comedy, Drama, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Director – Rajkumar Hirani, Music Director – Shantanu Moitra, Cast – Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Mona Singh, Parikshit Sahni, Javed Jaffrey, Akhil Mishra, Rahul Kumar, Omi Vaidya, Rajeev Ravindranathan, Sanjay Lafont, Achyut Poddar, Amardeep Jha, Farida Dadi, Jayant Kriplani, Arun Bali, Supriya Shukla, Atul Tiwari, Ali Fazal, Michael Joseph, Madhav Vaze