In honor of Sharman Joshi’s birthday
catch his character Raju in “3 Idiots”
Have you ever lost touch with a very close friend; then, years later, you come into contact with them again and it’s as if you had just seen them yesterday? 3 Idiots is about the joy of such friendships and much more. This film is currently the biggest worldwide grosser in the history of the Hindi film industry and for good reason. Set in the Imperial School of Engineering in Delhi, an elite school where competition is fierce, the movie questions traditional methods of teaching and the meaning of success. I know this sounds somewhat dull but 3 Idiots is anything but. Much of the story is told in flashbacks focusing on the college life of the three students referred to in the title: Rancho, Raju, and Farhan. Each character is revealed in details which allow us to understand and become emotionally involved with them. Raju (Sharman Joshi) comes from a desperately poor family. His background is revealed in a hilarious scene done in 1950’s black-and-white film style. His father is bedridden, his sister is not able to marry because there is no dowry, and his mother constantly complains about the price of food. Success in college is Raju’s only path out of poverty, and the pressure is overwhelming him. Farhan’s (R. Madhavan) father has sacrificed for years to see his son become an engineer. Farhan’s respect for his dad’s sacrifice has caused him to put his own desires aside. Both Raju and Farhan show a deep affection and appreciation for their families. Rancho, played with passion and sensitivity by Aamir Khan, is the protagonist of this story. The son of a wealthy man (or so it seems), Rancho is a brilliant and creative student who takes the path less traveled, but his free-spirit flies in the face of the school’s director, Viru “Virus” Sahastrabudhhe (Boman Irani). This humorous character has a lisp and lots of quirks. In his rigidness, he symbolizes all that is wrong with the Indian educational system. Unfortunately for Virus, his own daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor) becomes intrigued by Rancho and eventually falls in love with him. Virus’s idea of the ideal student is “Silencer” (Omi Vaidya). Silencer views education as a race for grades and not for knowledge. Success defined by materialism is his highest aspiration. After being humiliated by Rancho in a prank that causes him public embarrassment, Silencer makes a bet that becomes the premise of the film. Writer director, Rajkumar Hirani, has made 3 Idiots fast paced and funny throughout. He allows the actors to bring their characters to life by portraying a variety of emotions and situations with empathy and humor.