Finally, after seeing even the worst located Bangalore multiplexes running houseful (even on weekdays) for many weeks, we managed to catch 3 idiots at Fame Lido today. Tickets were priced at a sweet 100 bucks 😛
One of the commenters said he would like to see my review although he has already seen it. So, I’d assume that there is a demand for my review even this late 😀 Here I go.
One last disclaimer – this may have spoilers.
Following a common style of reviews on this blog, here are some points outlining my thoughts
- To me, this was not a IIT story. It could be closer to some other engineering colleges in India – but definitely not an IIT story. Reason? Despite having some bad apples IITs are better than these colleges. Read on.
- The students committing suicide are rarely mad geniuses, despite what media would like you to believe. The ‘Joy’s of the world are not the typical suicide cases. The geniuses I have seen usually fall in two categories
- The poster-boys for students’ argument against compulsory attendance: These are the geniuses who are irreverent towards the system. They won’t attend classes; they would skip tests; they won’t be seen mugging things up in the library before exams; their only preparation for some of the exams would be sharpening their pencils; and yet they would score high grades leaving everyone puzzled. (Yes – a bit of Rancho – but that character is too overblown in other respects to be realistic)
- The-misfit-into-system: Abhaya narrates the classic case of his classmate who easily coded game engines, which heavily used matrix algebra (matrix transformation etc.), but failed the basic course teaching that concept 3 or 4 times probably. They never fit in. They will get academic probations. Their class mates will philosophically ponder over the worthlessness of our education system citing their example. Many such people would finally manage to get a degree; some might even drop out. But they find their places in the world and those places are pretty good – even though they may not file 400 patents within 5 years of graduating 😛
- Sharman Joshi’s character’s suicide attempt is probably closer to an average case. Its generally a combination of social pressure and academic pressure Although the nuances of the former are unlikely to get dug upon. Crying foul about the problems of education system is the simpler and easier thing to do for most people including media, students, parents and alumni in these cases. Also, these suicide cases are normally sans the dramatic, cruel “Mohabbatein” type administrator/director. There are incapable people in administration some times, but the director’s character is overblown again. No director runs an IIT like a personal property; not even the worst ones! They can’t I guess.
- The professors have been universally shown to be incapable. Thats far too unfair. The IIT I saw had some bad apples, but there were many faculty members, who were very good in their area and would never stifle you if you want to experiment and learn. Most of them are not world famous researchers, but most of them are not incompetent either.
- The movie sometimes reminded me more of IIM than IIT. IIT students are younger and more innocuous. The RG is less prevalent and RG attempts are more childish. Also, its difficult to imagine an IIT director/professor to be so much a “racer” in life. Its more of a b-school characteristic.
- Finally the characters do not look like the 17-21 year old engineering students. I am not talking about their looks. Rancho’s character is not that of a 17 year old coming to an engineering college. Trust me, no 1st year IIT student is capable of giving mature advice about relationships and talking the heroine out of a doomed engagement (how old was she by the way – that she was finishing her medical education and was already engaged? These guys were still in their first year… Hmmm.)! Nobody is such a genius in engineering, such a confident stud from day 1 in the college, such a great analyzer of people’s characters, so good with words, so natural a prankster, so mature a friend and so charming a lover – all at the same time – at an age somewhere between 17-21! There are some geniuses, few rarely mature people and then a bunch of Harmon charged teenagers who have the capability to work hard enough to crack the entrance examination! That’s it (no offenses meant – just trying to paint the realistic pictures). So, any young girls out there, do not look for a Rancho in the next IITian you meet. You are unlikely to find even a 50 years old who is so well rounded. He is too much of a “hindi film ka hero” 🙂 Even other characters appear too mature – more of young professionals or MBA students rather than undergrads.
- They got one thing right about IITs though. The boys to girls ratio! Rightfully, there were a couple of girls thrown in a class full of boys. Definitely reminded me of most of my departmental courses!
So, overall, for somebody who has gone through the IIT system, the movie was not nuanced enough. It was too much of a “hindi film”.
But still watch it, because
- It is reasonably entertaining and funny, despite some stale e-mail forward jokes
- It explains why pencils are not good enough for space
- You do not want to tell your grand children that you did not watch the highest grossing Hindi movie of your time when it was released
But more importantly because it carries a message that needs to reach the parents in this country. Don’t force your kids to become a mediocre engineer, if he can be great wild-life photographer or a happy-with-his-profession writer! If this message reaches to some people, then I absolutely don’t mind that 45 year old Aamir Khan plays the character of a 17 year old student; the 17 year old character is more mature than most 50 year olds in this country; the depiction of IIT is not nuanced enough; the message is conveyed in too preachy a manner and that many a jokes in the movie are stale. I absolutely do not mind because it does not matter for the people to whom the message has to reach. In fact, it is probably better to leave aside complicated nuances and make the situation simple and entertaining – so that there is some chance of people listening to it.
Will the highest grossing movie do its bit for that aspect of our society?