I wouldn't normally waste my time reviewing Bollywood junk but today is an exception. It's really, honestly, not junk. Owning a screen at our local cinema here in Leicester since late December, I was accompanied by some friends who had all seen the film before - one of them seven (yes, 7) times, to see 3 Idiots. The showing was still, 2 months after release, fully packed. In the future I truly believe we will look back and identify 3 Idiots as a classic film and a major stepping stone in Indian Cinema. The multi-award winning maverick film-maker Vidhu Vinod Chopra and National Film Award winning director Rajkumar Hirani come together (again) to push the boundaries of the 'Bollywood Film'.
The film is an adaption of the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat which dives in at the deep end and expresses a story based very much on the authors own experiences of an issue at the core of Indian Society. The 3 idiots in question are students at the prestigious ICT (a fictional college that I'm sure has nothing to do with IIT - the college where the real Chetan Bhagat studied). Students at IIT - sorry ICT - are put under an enormous amount of pressure by the social and educational system, which has lead to many suicides at the real IIT - I'm not going into it here - go look it up on Google.
The core issue here is the life-threatening value that is place on the qualifications and not on the pleasure and excitement of genuine learning - expressed beautifully by the many antics of lead Idiot Rancho (Aamir Khan). While the structure of the film is fairly cookie-cut and predictable - and interjected with the usual irritating musical numbers - the core issues are so powerful (and the dialogue so ridiculously funny) that just the script alone would score an 8/10.
Added to this is a near perfect production, fantastic sets, gripping dialogues and moving performances from all.
Wait.. there's more..
Not only do the A-list lead and his girl perform a 5-10 second long lip-smack (rare on Indian cinema screens) but there are CG images of sperm(!), animations of babies being born, electrical shocks to peoples groins and comedic scenes and exchanges that are a little more evolved than usual pantomime nonsense that Indian film goers would be used to. Although the target audience is Indian, I'm quite sure that non-indian audiences will love the film - especially anyone from a culture where education is academic achievement is paramount.
The nature of the jokes and dialogue, and scenes of suicide and have pushed the certification to a 12A (not that it stopped most of the audience bringing their seven-year-olds) and it's a sensible decision. This is a fun, but teen to adult film that will wrench your heart out of your chest, kick it around the cinema for 3 hours, then put it, aching but inspired, back into your chest.
I'm taking off 1 mark for certain panto-esque scenes towards the end, and a major plot point that seemed to be more of a dramatic after thought, but these are minor quibbles. Go see this if it's still showing! If not, find the DVD! Now!