The Three Idiots


Since the kids monopolize the TV with their children’s songs and children’s shows, I have enforced a rule where Saturday and Sunday nights are “movie nights”.

The kids watch less TV during the weekends, we get to watch some of our shows and they keep themselves occupied doing other stuff i.e. draw, play with their toys or join us in the movie session.

Last week, we watched “3 Idiots (English subtitled)“, which is an Indian movie about two university friends who are re-united by a uni mate who is bent on showing them the failure their third friend has turned out after graduation.

Then, the movie flashes back to the past when all of them begin their first day at the university in India.

I’ve heard of how strict the education system is in India but “The Three Idiots” does a good job showing how tough it is for Indian teenagers to get into a university and in this case, an engineering university. Another highly-populated country, competition is tough.

“The Three Idiots” highlights many social issues that India is still dealing with:

  • the new student “orientation” that Indian seniors like to carry out on freshmen.  However, Rancho (the third friend) is an unusual engineering student who does not bow down to the seniors’ demands  to drop his pants like the other freshmen did. Instead, he uses an ingenious way to get back at the senior but I don’t think it’s realistic because a hard core Indian senior and his band of “brothers” will not take to a defiance that easily.
  • The dowry system. Young Indian girls need to pay a handsome dowry to their prospective husband’s family. Young girls who come from poor families have little or no chance to get married. “Raju”, one of the three guys, is pressured to graduate as an engineer so that his younger sister can get married.
  • Learning through the rote system. Like many Asian countries, India also places a high emphasis on final examinations versus class work. Rancho is excited to join the engineering university because he loves machines and is curious about how things work. Sadly, he finds that the university’s faculty and curriculum do not encourage exploratory learning. Instead, they only want to continue the decades old practice of “teacher-centred” classrooms.
  • Suicide. Because “The Three Idiots” is a comedy, we were not prepared for the suicide scene, which thankfully, was not too graphic but there is a scene. It pains to watch the scene where Rancho and the others try to save him because I had a friend who killed herself when we were in university but nobody knew about it and sadly, nobody could help.

Although the movie is in the Hindi language, the English subtitles helped make it an entertaining session especially as the three actors were hilarious. The plot had twists and turns and if you like musicals, there are quite a number of Bollywood dance performances 😀

You will also enjoy some breath-taking views of Nepal. I have a Nepalese colleague and I hope that he’ll be pleased to see the traditional values of calmness and kindness the Nepalese society upholds highlighted here. An engineer himself, I’m sure he appreciate the scene where Nepalese children engage in learning discoveries.

I was disappointed though that they didn’t cast a Nepalese in the lead role…

Even though the movie is set in India, played by Indians and focuses on India’s social situation, “The Three Idiots” discusses universal themes of family, friendship, peer pressure, societal pressures and stereotypes.

Sounds like a movie for you? “The Three Idiots” is available on DVD, Instant Video or Blu-Ray from Amazon.