Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Three Idiots, one message

Altaf Khan
Fate of the students is sealed even before they open eyes in the world where there is a mad race for success. Students made to compete like cuckoo’s nestlings nurtured on the belief, everything is fair in the war of survival. Bright students committing suicides due to dark instincts of egoistic teachers who are not used to taking lessons rather give them at the cost of excellence. Bookworms and rote learners encouraged and out of the box ideas boxed to mindless bins. To set the record straight comes the philosopher Maharaj Rancchoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad (Amir Khan) whose mantra to excellence is “Run after excellence and success would kiss your feet “Close on the heels of Tare Zameern Par, Amir Khan continues to challenge the system of education and at times gives a semblance as if he is continuing where he left in the TZP. Raj Kumar Hirani’s mastery over packing the pun just enough to put across a strong message again works wonders. Catchline of the film “All is well” keeps high spirits right to the end of the film. Just when you feel Amir Khan is turning pedagogic, he switches over those collegiate idiosyncrasies, which last long in our memory. Tickling on the laughter nerve and pinching of the emotional one, the film keeps us glued to our seats. Rancho (Amir Khan) calling suicides of those who craving for creative “sunshine” a murder by system, and just when you feel Maharaj Rancho is getting monotonous, Rancho is forced to deliver a lecture, asking meaning of those terms which are nowhere to be found in books rather the names of his friends Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) and Farhan Qureshi (Madhavan) scornfully, denigrating the system, where there is no urge for learning new things but cramming everything from books. Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya) or “Silencer”, is Chatur (clever) – he represents rote learners who employ unethical measures ala cuckoo’s nestlings to leave others behind baying for their blood. Through Professor Sahastrabudhhe (Boman Irani) or Virus as they call him, is portrayed a teacher belonging to old school of thought, in new avatar. Boman tickles the funny bone by writing with both hands on the blackboard and listens opera while shaving during unproductive hours. He is one of those teachers who are narcissistic enough to program every student like robots, and treat innovations something alien to the sacred territory of education. There are scenes where you feel, Raju Hirani, buoyed by his success with Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai, has poured old wine in new bottles. Like for instance Virus (Boman Irani) revealing the success mantras of his reputable college at the very outset. Mr Qureshi (Parikshat Sahni) moved by the honest plea by his son to let him have his say in his career and son preferring courage to committing suicide right from the book of Ghandigiri.Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) honestly admitting to have committed a suicide and faired poorly out of fear in examinations, and yet getting a job. No Bollywood story can afford to be too idiotic to do away with Love affair. For all those movie buffs who go to watch Kareenas dancing in rain and saying “Dooby dooby….Jaisa filmon main hota hain kuch aisa hum Karen” there is Rancho-Piya (Amir-Kareena) affair which ultimately culminates in Piya eloping in Rancho’s search, and finally meeting at the climax. Mona Singh’s delivery scene is typical of bollywood masala films, where protagonist cleans all the bugs of hopelessness with vacuum cleaner and displays his creative power with a self-styled electricity generator. This time the live demo is performed by Kareena through a webcam. This is one of the few demos that is played by anybody other than Rancho or who happens to be Phunsong Wengdu (Amir Khan) in the end. Yet the scene has generated optimism about future, who unlike the current generation would have his say in his career. And the metaphor of the orthodox system Virus makes way for change. After the baby is apparently stillborn, Rancho resuscitates it. The genius Rancho tops the exams and is awarded Virus’s pen. Strange though the pen of a conformist passes on to the non-conformist, who mocks and off and on takes a dig at every symbol of orthodoxy. At the climactic get together, Chatur crazy for success now a successful businessman, is found admitting the epitome of genius that Phunsukh Wangdu (Amir Khan) has become. Finally excellence wins and cuckooish traits lay defeated. No poking fun at “A for Apple and B for boy” as Chatur derogatively believes the school teachers to be because finally the hero is teacher-cum scientist. Chatur is too good to be ignored in the film especially during that speech where he is made to read “Balatkar for Chamtkar” Though every now and then Farhan and Raju keep on saying “Ignore kar ignore kar” Nice climax to a film sensitizing light heartedly. Everything makes sense, about those extraordinary students, who may be labelled idiots by the viruses of the obsolete system. In fact these are the reality bytes which most of us during our student days have come up with, stared at such system, reared to take a go at, but never found answers. So many of us like Virus’s son had interest in literature and just to be goody goody wards of their parents, became engineered engineers and doctored doctors. Raj Kumar Hirani leaves you uttering “All is well “despite nothing being well with the system. Asking all the right questions with rightly packaged situational comedy, there is nothing idiotic about 3 idiots.

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