I never heard about this movie until last September. Many of my students, and even my colleagues in the faculty, were crazy about it. I was impassive back then for I had never been a fan of Bollywood films. I had seen Indian movies in cable before, and they were typically lengthy with bizarre sound recordings. I just copied the movie and let it slept in my computer until this semestral break, when I was so bored from doing nothing that I finally found time to watch it. Hell, I immediately loved the movie. Here’s the plot…
Farhan Qureshi, Raju Rastogi, and Rancchoddas "Rancho" Shyamaldas Chanchad are three engineering students who share a room in a hostel at the Imperial College of Engineering, one of the best colleges in India While Farhan and Raju are average students from modest backgrounds, Rancho is from a rich family. Farhan wants to become a wildlife photographer, but has joined engineering college to fulfill his father's wish. Raju on the other hand wants to uplift his family fortunes. Rancho is a wealthy genius who studies for the sheer joy of it. However, Rancho's passion is for knowledge and taking apart and building machines rather than the conventional obsession of the other students with exam ranks. With his different approach Rancho incurs the wrath of dean of college, Professor Viru Sahastrabudhhe (ViruS). Threatened by Rancho's talent and free spirit, ViruS labels him an "idiot" and attempts on a number of occasions to destroy his friendship with Farhan and Raju.
Meanwhile, Rancho also falls in love with ViruS' medical student daughter Pia when he, Raju and Farhan crash her sister's wedding banquet in order to get a free meal, in the process further infuriating ViruS.
The three students continue to anger ViruS. The tensions come to a head when the three friends, who are already drunk, break into ViruS's house at night to allow Rancho to propose to Pia, and then urinate on a door inside the compound before running away when ViruS senses intruders. The next day, ViruS threatens to expel Raju lest he talks on the other two. Unable to choose between betraying his friend or letting down his family, Raju jumps out of the 3rd floor window and lands on a courtyard, but after extensive care from Pia and his roommates, awakes from a coma.
The experience has changed Farhan and Raju, and they adopt Rancho's outlook. Farhan decides to pursue his love of photography, while Raju takes an unexpected approach for an interview for a corporate job. However, ViruS is unsympathetic and vows to make the final exam as hard as possible so that Raju is unable to graduate. However, Pia takes ViruS's spare keys with her. She tells Rancho of the exam, and he and Farhan break into ViruS's office and steals the exam and give it to Raju, who with his new-found attitude, is unconcerned with the prospect of failing, and refuses to cheat. But ViruS catches the trio and expels them on the spot. However, they earn a reprieve when Viru's pregnant elder daughter Mona goes into labour at the same time. A heavy storm cuts all power and traffic, and Pia is still in self-imposed exile, so she instructs Rancho to deliver the baby in the college common room. After the baby is apparently stillborn, Rancho resuscitates it. ViruS reconciles with Rancho and his friends and allows them to take their final exams and they graduate.
Their story is framed as intermittent as intermittent flashbacks from the present day, ten years after Chatur vowed revenge on Rancho for embarrassing him at a speech night. Chatur is also looking to seal a deal with a famous scientist and prospective business associate named Phunsukh Wangdu. When they (Chatur, Raju and Farhan) find Rancho's house, they walk into his father's funeral, and find a completely different Rancho. The householder capitulates and says that their friend was a destitute servant boy who loved learning, while he, the real Rancho, was a lazy wealthy child who disliked study, so the family agreed to let the servant boy study in Rancho's place instead of labouring. In return, the real Rancho would pocket the qualifications and the benefits thereof, while the impersonator would sever all contact with the world and start a new life. The real Rancho reveals that his impersonator is now a schoolteacher in Ladakh.
Raju and Farhan then find Pia. When they arrive in Ladakh, they see a group of enthusiastic Ladakhi children who are motivated by love of knowledge. Pia and the fake Rancho rekindle their love.
Like many Indian films, 3 idiots is very long – almost three hours, but it is a three-hour rollercoaster of humor and drama. The movie is mostly comedy, and each comic scene is truly funny – like the initiation night, the Idiots’ prank on a fellow classmate, and the wedding crash among others. On the other hands, dramatic moments are very moving – like an Idiot’s recovery after falling from the third floor, the delivering of the professor’s grandchild, and the reconciliation of the lovers at the end. The plot is straightforward and clear, and it has a good ending, one that will put a smile in the audience’s lips, not sadness or mysteries to wonder.
The movie is alive with moving colors, as expected with Bollywood. The recordings are still odd to my ears but they were much appropriate, bringing more life and fun to the scenes. The movie as well showcased some of India’s best – the university, the beautiful neighborhood, the beach, and others.
The movie is very relatable (that’s in my case!). It reflects how studies are struggling to cope up with impossible curriculum in universities. The movie teaches both students and teachers – students to pursue careers befitting their hearts, and teachers to be innovative in their methods, as well as being open-minded, unbiased, and good influences. It is a very inspiring movie, full of love and hope. Just like the motto of the characters, “All is well”. Truly, it is a movie one would be proud of sharing to others.
3 Idiots is presently the highest-grossing Bollywood film. It has received numerous awards, though not the Golden Globe or Academy. And in general, the movie has received positive reviews. Count me in!