I read an absolutely exhaustive account on the Chetan Bhagat controversy yesterday by Sudish Kamat. Whether you are a Hirani basher or a CB hater or a fence sitter, I strongly recommend you read this. It kinda answers the million dollar question of last week – What percentage of 3i is FPS? If you care two hoots, that is.
Honestly, you needn’t.
BTW, The film is absurd at multiple levels. There is a priceless moment, which goes something like this:
Rancho: you miss your mom, no?
Pia: yes, but how did you know?
Rancho: you are wearing an old watch that is completely out of place with the rest of your attire. so it must have been a gift from your dead mom
Thats got to be the best sherlock-mush moment in World cinema history. The film also has other duh moments like man leaving home without pants, almost-dead baby waking up to a word it kinda liked from inside the womb, hero getting his girl in the end, caricature professor gags, etc. It can come across as seriously hare-brained. if you care two hoots about ‘analytically reasonable’ cinema that is.
But honestly, you needn’t.
Coz 3 idiots is not about adaptation, finer film making, performances, etc. It is a glimpse into ‘The World According to Raju Hirani’ and that is an extremely warm and beautiful place that we all love to spend time in. You can have a thousand discussions regarding the book vs film but ultimately, the spirit of the film is all Hirani. And you cannot credit him enough for that.
3i will probably end up being a film that will be acclaimed and loved mostly for reasons that do not have much to do with the craft of film making. However, it does have a soul that rises from the screen and gives you a tight hug. And this, it does without 3D!
There are some fantastic moments in the film. Sadly though, some of the funniest ones have been roped into the promos. For me, the most priceless one was the operatic score that Virus shaves to, which works brilliantly in the scene when Sharman contemplates his choice between rustication and betrayal and jumps out of the window. That entire scene is as simple and hard hitting as a Haiku poem.
Then there is the scene when Rancho completes the helicopter project of Joy and flies it. When the camera hops from Chatur’s room (where he is seen in his funky underwear) to Joy’s (where his dead body is hanging), the theatre moves from erupting laughter to dead silence, in a matter of seconds. Coming at the end of a song, the effect is dramatic. All the news that you read about real life IIT suicides come back to you at that instant, as you realize that this scene is not an exaggeration by any means.
And then there is Sharman. He reminds me of good old Michael Bevan. Hardly the centre point of the hype surrounding the movie, this actor delivers a performance that deserves the man-of-the-match award. While he shines through the entire film, the interview scene is an absolute peach.
In the early 90s, when I walked out after watching ‘Apoorva Sagotharargal’, the biggest question in my mind was: fine, you can look shorter. but how does one ‘act’ shorter? I had a similar question while watching the hospital scene in 3i. How can an actor be so aware of his facial muscles, that he can use them to deliver a youngish grin? But I forget we are talking about two thespians who have mastered the art. The latter ofcourse has also mastered his business skills, which the former continues to struggle in.
Madhavan is too good an actor for his role and Boman can sleep walk through this part. In fact, we have come to expect so much from Boman, that even his excellent subtleties have started to come across as normal. Even then, he hits hard with the ‘space-pencil’ scene towards the end.
At the end of it, for me 3i is a triumph of superior screen writing. Hirani and Abhijat have created something that is resonating with almost everybody who has seen the film. And only those who have put ‘pen on paper’ or ‘finger on keyboard’ can imagine how hard that is. And for that reason alone, it is ironic that this film has run into a writing controversy. Anyway, as far as I am concerned, the lasting image of the film in my mind would be this:
remember seeing this in the film?