Monday, February 8, 2010

3 Idiots Mistakes

At the outset, I will honestly admit that like Raju and Farhan who were upset about Rancho being a topper while they were only mediocre; I , as a film director working in what we now call Bollywood, am extremely envious of Raju Hirani’s astounding success as a film maker. I use the word ‘Envy’ and not ‘Jealousy’, because envy makes you want to push yourself up to be like one who is more successful, where as jealousy makes you want to pull down one who is more successful. So when I point out the loopholes in plot, motivation or characterization in the otherwise brilliant screenplay of three idiots, my purpose should not be misunderstood.

Like everyone else, I was also blown away by the sweep of this thoroughly entertaining film when I went to see it for the first time. Within a week, I went to see it again to imbibe the craft of its writing as I have admired the collaboration of Abhijat Joshi and Raju Hirani in both Munna Bhai movies and now 3 idiots. I have tremendous respect for a film maker whose film appeals to both the classes and the masses because the tastes of the two demographics are so far apart especially in what each group finds funny. When a film maker and writer team is able to score a hat-trick with their humour, you have to tip your hat and salute their achievement. To somehow dissect that magical element embedded in their screenplay, I went to see 3 idiots again. This is when I found the three loopholes which I am surprised that the writers didn’t bother to plug, even though I am not surprised that the audience glossed over them. Here they are:

1. Loophole in Plot: For ten long years, neither the two idiots, nor the dean’s daughter, bothered to go through college registration papers of Rancho, which may have had a false identity for Aamir as Ranchoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad, but would certainly have had his address as Chanchad Estate in Simla. As a matter of fact there is a scene where Virus admonishes Raju by saying that Rancho’s father’s monthly income has so many zeroes that even if you take away a few nothing will change in his life whereas Raju will be in serious trouble if he didn’t graduate. So, the dean is fully aware of Rancho’s father’s wealth and status. It is safe to assume that all that information is in his college registration documents. Even if we buy the fact that a gardener’s son was presented as Shyamaldas’s son, as no one knows what he looks like, it is difficult to buy that his Simla address is not in the application, and it took ten years and a chance appearance in the background of a photo snapped of Chatur’s secretary on a visit to Simla, for everyone to realize that Rancho is in Simla and therefore the three classmates show up there to look for Chanchad Estate. If they had done so after Rancho left the campus and didn’t keep in touch with his mates and girlfriend (because of the promise he made to Mr.Shyamaldas), they would have found out in a few weeks what they learnt after ten years and plot wouldn’t have moved to the second half of the film.

Now that I have pointed to the problem, I have a suggestion for plugging this loophole, as already a setup was done by giving Rancho the duplicate key of Dean’s office to copy the exam paper. If at that time, Rancho had also removed his file from that office, we would accept that after he left college, he couldn’t be traced.

2. Loophole in motivation: Second loophole was that of the motivation of Dean’s daughter played by Kareena Kapoor. When Rancho had so cleverly demonstrated to her the shallow attitude of her fiance whose ring she returns after calling him an Ass, after ten long years, an accomplished doctor and a beautiful woman can’t find anyone else but the same jerk to marry whom she gullibly accepts by thinking he must have changed. Even if she didn’t go looking for Rancho by going through his college application papers, she would have gotten many other offers from possible suitors or better still, would have chosen to be a career woman.

As it is, story wise, this ten year gap was too long. In this day and age of information technology, fortunes can change in an year; so at the most five years would have served the purpose of the story.

3. Loophole in Characterization: Third loophole was in the characterization of Professor Viru Sahasrabuddhe. The name suggests that he is a Maharashtrian. I went to IIT, Bombay and had many Maharashtrian professors including one called Sahasrabuddhe . Unfortunately, Boman Irani as Viru Sahasrabuddhe had no trace of Maharashtrian in him. His clothes, styling, accent, as well as his home and his daughters were completely cosmopolitan. If anything, he looked like an eccentric Parsee. I understand that the joke was in calling him Virus but then he could be Cyrus Dastur and still be called Cyrus the virus.

The film’s unprecedented success doesn’t need a stamp of approval from any one, but as a lifelong student of Cinema, and because of the high esteem I hold the team which made this charming and meaningful film, what I have done is an academic exercise in dissecting what seemed like a flawless screenplay, otherwise consistent in its own logic, with every setup having a clever and satisfying payoff.

In spite of what I have pointed out in this blog, ALL IZZ WELL.

1 comment:

starwin said...

very good points sir...totally approve them...well mentioned in a clear, concise manner. I am a scriptwriter as well, and I do feel that 3 Idiots is over-rated