Saturday, January 02, 2010

3 Idiots or Rancho B.E. or Lage Raho Rancho or Hirani's Crusade against the System





Being a Unix enthusiast I was constantly doing a diff between Rajkumar Hirani's previous creation and his latest presentation titled 3 Idiots. Though an engaging watch but it seemed like he morphed Munnabhai into Rancho but you can not change the entire picture with morphing. After tackling a crusade against a system which dehumanizes doctors in "Munnabhai M.B.B.S" and rereading Gandhi in his "Lage Raho Munnabhai" he has turned his knights towards engineering colleges and the system which dehumanizes students.

Though I did not had great grades in Linear Algebra but the concept of vectors and dimensions still intrigues me. The role of basis is much important in this vector toy world, by a simple change of basis one can change the entire game and make millions too. The same vector appears novel or as a popular saying goes nayi botal mein purani sharaab. The coordinates in Rajkumar Hirani's vector space are the chief mercenary, the patriarch, the patriarch's daugher, the message, the miracle, the lesser mortals.

The chief mercenary of the crusade is Rancho who's sole motto in the movie is to convert every non-believer in his do-as-your-heart-says sect. There is nothing wrong in it, the message is good, it is presented well but it permeates every pixel of every frame in the movie. The whole movie looks like an advertisement in which motto is the product itself.

Each frame is a fight between towering but evil-because-he-doesnt-know-what-he-is-doing patriarch (played by Boman Irani in all three editions) and chief mercenary, who by the end of the movie has to make the patriarch realize mistakes in his ways. Patriarch's daughter has to revolt against father, set free by chief mercenary for psychoanalysis of which I am sure Sudhir Kakkar or Ashis Nandy are better suited.

But how are the non-believers converted to become faithful asks the jeering crowd. How are they shown the true light. First there has to be a heart wrenching advertisement line. Jadu ki Jhappi in 1st edition, Gandhigiri in 2nd and now its All ij well. The non believers are not only hankered with proselytizing one-liner message but are shown a miracle towards the end to convert the patriarch.

If healthy dose of Jadu ki Jhappi cured Anand Bannerjee and converted Dr. J.C. Asthana in Munnabhai M.B.B.S. then Munna's Gandhigiri saved Lucky Singh in Lage Raho... version. It was Rancho's engineering and studying-for-knowledge message which opened Veeru Sahastrabudhhe's eyes to the true message. I am not elaborating on the miracle in this post to avoid spoiling reader's movie viewing experience.

But those are just few elements in a movie says jeering crowd. So let the crowd notice that patriarch is final frontier, before claiming victory on him there are lesser mortals to be converted. And converted in the same fashion I say to jeering crowd. There has to be a non-A list actor (Jimmy Shergill in 1st two editions and Sharman Joshi in 3rd) who has his life issues successfully resolved by chief mercenary. Lesser mortal has to be a poor lad from minority community (Zaheer, Victor and Farhan) respectively. There is nothing new in the minority angle, Manmohan Desai used it pretty deftly in his movies. Barring the first edition lesser mortal actually has daddy issues with dad played none other than Pareekshit Sahni (and this is ironical because he himself is a deeya tale andhera). People say movie makers are artists I say they are pop psychologists.

I urge the readers not to think I hate the movie or this is some sort of review/appraisal/derision of the movie. There is neither any claim of go watch the movie nor will I claim do not set eyes on the movie nor will I give some stars to rate a piece of work like many movie reviewers of Hindi cinema do. If you have followed my analysis well you will realize the movie is actually not based on Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone - What Not to do at IIT but yes the man should be given some credit. It is just my thoughts put together which distracted me while watching the film (and if you haven't watched 3 Idiots then why should only I suffer the fate, I leave these coordinates to bother you too).

10 comments:

Amit said...

I agree that message-wise the movie
goes a step beyond novel and is more in line with munnabhai-style pop preaching, but in execution, scenes after scenes are copied blatantly from the novel in fact most bits which make it engineering college story, raggging, khadus prof, prof ki maal beti, paper chori, suicide attempt and god know what more are all taken from book. Atleast he deserves a credit as prominennt at a starting "inspired from" or something, not a hidden line at end

Kapil Barve said...

@Patrik bhai: Aapko kaisi lagi?
Chetan bhagat ke interview dekha tha maine ek youtube per bechara dukhi tha ekdum... bol raha tha "Bhagwan dekhta hai sab kuch. Is janm mein jo kharab karo uska fal isi janm mein milta hai" :D

Jaideep said...

correct analysis patrick bhai! I have become too cynical to buy this all is well nonsense. I liked the movie for its humor much more than for its message.

foibled spirit said...

Practicing Pop Psychology successfully indeed requires a certain skill. Quark, you give us a peep into the formula which nicely anticipates the structure of this pop psychology. Perhaps, another entry about linkages between ideologies and pop psychology/filmic formulae would be an interesting read. I say this because all too often sugar coated pop-ish entertainers are considered bereft of any ideology but it is precisely in these entertainers that we should look for ideologies.

TheQuark said...

@Amit, Kapil: I wanted to avoid the credit controversy because it is just a pointless argument.

@Kapil: As I said it is Hirani's mythology retold in new context. Parts of the movie were hilarious and parts were drab.

There was a scene supposedly poignant but being an engineer it made me cry out loud because it looked pretentious. It also reminded an incident back from my college days. In a presentation given by a student on a tiny database which has very less memory, the professor asked what is the typical size of memory and the answer was "One". Professor definitely lost his cool as the boy missed the unit now go figure the scene in the movie.

@Jaideep: Yes engg college time humor used well, ragging, resenting professors etc. I am sure we always felt engg colleges have not been tackled in Hindi cinema.

@foibled spirit: Glad that you got my point to the T. Ashis Nandy had a brilliant essay on Manmohan Desai's crazy movies, will dig and send the title to you some day. Currently I am thinking of something on the lines of how different were daddy issues in Hrishi Da's movies vis-a-vis Amitabh Bachchan's angry young genre. If one had reconciliation in Hrishida's (and other so called middle class movies) with paternal figure (often played by Utpal Dutt) then Amitabh's movies always had a missing/domineering parental figure.

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