Tuesday, January 5, 2010

3 Idiots

Eez aall vell? This movie gets 5.5 out of 10. Based on a line in the movie: is this movie a philosophy class or is it just an average slapstick comedy? Is it about a faulty education system in which a brilliant student excels? Or maybe, geniuses are untouched by the system and it is about the plight of lesser mortals in a faulty system.

What do we have - a tepid start, excess of male bottoms/underwear, resuscitation midway with a twist in the tale, acts of a genius at regular intervals and then, petering out in a little less than 3 hours. This movie revolves around Aamir – he is good (as usual) but for most of the movie, he has to sport only one expression – that of a wide-eyed imp. Madhavan and Boman Irani are thoroughly wasted. Kareena is nice.

Leaving aside the humour, the movie touches on two serious topics: one, the aspiration of most parents – to make their child an engineer or a doctor (these days, is it not MBA?); two, life and education in the premier institutions in this country.

With regard to parents’ aspiration, is it not the best bet for them – at least as an investment decision? If you want to do something else, do it with your own money or either prove your worth or get ready to have a tough time convincing your parents. Sounds fair? Of course, some parents might try to achieve through their kids what they could not achieve or worse, what their neighbour or relative has achieved. But, for most parents the excuse will be - parents have to say what they have (or, are expected) to say. Like, become a doctor or an engineer; marry within the same caste; do not have affairs or sex outside marriage; do not have safe sex with your spouse till you have the required number of kids, etc.. At the end of the day, you are the only one responsible for your life. And, on the road less travelled, life is never easy.

With regard to the premier institutions, it might be true that the painful character Chatur might not be an exception, if not the majority. But, isn’t that how it is like in the big bad world – corporate, academic or elsewhere? Also, the movie got it right in saying that these institutions do not give much importance to innovation/research. It is not surprising since these institutions are known mainly for undergraduate education. To quote a professor in one of these places “the BTechs are the products, the MTechs are the byproducts, and the PhDs the wasteproducts”. Maybe, with increasing load, it is an impossible task to give the required one-to-one attention or to stimulate thinking. But, at least, try to avoid doling out half-baked degrees. Of course, students should remember what my professor used to say “don’t expect me to pat you on your back and make you burp”.

After this movie, I was trying to recollect related stuff in music and movies. The Pink Floyd anthem: teachers, leave them kids alone? Or, carpe diem (seize the day) and the suicide in Dead Poets Society? Or, to bunk the system, how about the comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

Maybe, this movie deserves more. Maybe, I expected a comedy at least like Munnabhai MBBS if not Dil Chahtha Hai.

Finally, about the two current controversies. I wonder what people are trying to achieve by deleting the scene of ragging. Sanitizing history? Moral police – stay away!
As for Chetan Bhagat, if he wants credit for the story, I am glad I have not read his books so far.

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