3 Idiots
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  • 3 Idiots
  • 170 minutes  -  Comedy
  • Original title: 3 Idiots
  • Director:Rajkumar Hirani
  • Language: Hindi
  • Country: India

3 Indian students share a room at the Imperial College of Engineering, where they face a ruthless curriculum. Together, they will try to earn their degree, despite opposition from Dr. Viru "Virus" Sahastrabuddhe, the college's director.

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REVIEW BY Akash Sundavadra Movie EXPERT
Review posted: 26/08/2013

3 Idiots was released in 2009 and is regarded as India’s most successful film to date, both domestically and overseas. Aside from the film’s casting of prominent Hindi actors, its success lies in its message. 3 Idiots deals with the educational system in India and how students are highly pressured to pursue academically respectable professions (Medicine, Law, Engineering, and so on) instead of hobbies and occupations that they are truly passionate about. The film addresses problems such as high suicide rates among students and questions the role that a family’s honour has on individuals. To this day, Indian society, like many other Eastern societies, still places honour and reputation above other values. Despite such a bleak subject, the film is written as a comedy. Most Hindi comedies tend to be full of slapstick and simple humour, but 3 Idiots has smart humour that appeals to all members of the family.


"Regarded as India’s most successful film to date, both domestically and overseas."


Historically, Indian culture has always been based around family bonds. For example, it is considered the norm for a male to still live at home after he’s married. For this reason, one can often find three generations of an Indian family living together, whereas in the West most young adults are expected to set up their own households. The film also comments on access to education for different social classes. Rancho, Raju, and Farhan (the 3 idiots of the title) are best friends who have recently enrolled into a prestigious university, and the comedy and drama arises from their respective social backgrounds, their aims for the future, and their mindset towards the educational system as a whole.

3 Idiots

The language in the film varies from character to character. For instance, the adults speak standard Hindi, while the students tend to mix Hindi and English along with Hindi slang. Rancho uses words like “salah” (imbecile), which can sound derogatory in certain social circles but comes across as playful among friends. “Chal chal hut” (shut up and move along) is said when a person is irritated, for instance, when he or she is being made fun of, while “bangaya popat” means that someone has been fooled. It is important to remember that Indian culture is split between Hinduism and Islam. As a result, you can hear people use phrases that derive from both Hindi and Urdu. For example, Farhan comes from an Islamic background, so he uses the word “abu” to refer to his father, while Raju, who comes from a Hindu background, uses the word “pitaji.”


"Perhaps the movie’s greatest cultural impact was that it raised awareness for alternative teaching methods that place a higher value on passion than wealth."


The Indian film industry (Indians don’t like to call it Bollywood, as international audiences do) is known for its spontaneous music and dance, and 3 Idiots contains many musical scenes. Arguably the most well-known song is “All Izz Well.” The song’s message reflects Rancho’s positive mindset and joie de vivre, and such was its influence that the phrase “all izz well” is still quoted by Indians in everyday life.

The main star of the movie is Aamir Khan (who plays Rancho). Khan is noted for choosing specific roles that he believes hold a deep underlying message for society. He is known to shy away from publicity and limit the number of films he makes. 3 Idiots saw the return of Khan’s joyful characterisations, and thanks to his popularity and social standing in India the film reached a wide audience and was taken seriously. Perhaps the movie’s greatest cultural impact was that it raised awareness for alternative teaching methods (recognising institutions like the Druk White Locus School in Ladakh) that place a higher value on passion than wealth.

3 Idiots


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