Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Produced by||Vidhu Vinod Chopra|
|Screenplay by||Abhijat Joshi |
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
|Story by||Abhijat Joshi |
|Based on||Five Point Someone – What not to do at IIT! by |
|Narrated by||R. Madhavan|
|Starring||Aamir Khan |
|Music by||Shantanu Moitra|
|Cinematography||C. K. Muraleedharan|
|Editing by||Ranjeet Bahadur |
|Distributed by||Vinod Chopra Productions|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||164 Minutes|
|Country||‹See Tfd› India|
|Budget||35 crore (US$6.98 million)|
|Box office||385 crore (US$76.81 million)|
3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian comedy-drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, with a screenplay by Abhijat Joshi, and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. It was loosely adapted from the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. 3 Idiots stars Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Omi Vaidya, Parikshit Sahni and Boman Irani.
Upon release, the film broke all opening box office records in India. It was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend in India and has the highest opening day collections for a Bollywood film. It also has the record for highest net collections in the first week for a Bollywood film. Within 10 days of its release, the film crossed the 1 billion mark in India and became the first film of 2009 to do so. The film also created a new box office record for a release in the last quarter of a year (October to December), breaking the previous record set by Ghajini. It is also the highest-grossing film to be released in the second half of the year (July to December), breaking the previous record also held by Ghajini.
3 Idiots has become the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in India, breaking the previous record set by Ghajini which also starred Aamir Khan. It also became one of the few Indian films to become a major success in East Asian markets such as China, eventually bringing its overseas total to US $23.9 million—the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in overseas markets. It was expected to be the first Indian film to be officially released on YouTube, within 12 weeks of releasing in theaters on 25 March 2010, but finally got officially released on YouTube in May 2012. The film also went on to win many awards, winning six Filmfare Awards including best film and best director, ten Star Screen Awards and sixteen IIFA awards.
The film also uses real inventions by little known people in India's backyards. The brains behind the innovations were Remya Jose, a student from Kerala, who created the exercise-bicycle/washing-machine, Mohammad Idris, a barber from Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh, who invented a bicycle-powered horse clipper, and Jahangir Painter, a painter from Maharashtra, who made the scooter-powered flour mill. This film was remade in Tamil as Nanban, by S. Shankar, which was released in January 2012. It has also been announced that there will be a Chinese remake of the film produced by Stephen Chow and that there are plans for a Hollywood remake produced in the United States.
Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) and Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad "Rancho" (Aamir Khan) are three engineering students who share a room in the residence of Imperial College of Engineering (ICE). Farhan is studying engineering to pursue his father's wishes over his own wish — to become a wildlife photographer. Raju is studying to raise his family's fortunes and get them out of poverty. On the other hand, Rancho studies for his simple passion in machines and devices. Rancho believes that success in studying is not achieved by solely memorizing definitions given by textbooks or professors, but by understanding and applying the concepts. He believes that one should follow excellence, not success, as success will come itself if excellence is followed.
However, this different approach is sneered upon by the faculties, including the dean of the college, Professor Viru "Virus" Sahastrabudhhe (Boman Irani). In contrast, Virus' favorite student, Chatur "Silencer" Ramalingam, (Omi Vaidya) believes in mindless memorizing over understanding, in order to reach his goals of corporate and social status. Meanwhile, Rancho falls in love with Virus' medical student daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor) when he, Raju and Farhan accidentally crash her sister's wedding banquet to obtain a free meal, which infuriates Virus. Virus labels Rancho and his friends as "idiots" and continually attempts to break Rancho's friendship with Farhan and Raju.
Things further escalate when the three friends drunkenly break into Virus's house one night to allow Rancho to confess his love to Pia, and urinate on the front door before fleeing. The next day, Virus threatens to rusticate Raju unless he squeals on Rancho. Not wanting to betray his friend or let down his family, Raju attempts suicide and ends up in a coma. However, with two months of extensive care from his mother, Rancho, Farhan, and Pia, he makes a full recovery. Following his hard-won recovery, Raju discards his fear of the future. Encouraged by Rancho, both Raju and Farhan gain courage to do what they were afraid to do before. Raju takes a frank approach in an interview for a corporate job, while Farhan convinces his parents to allow him to pursue his love of wildlife photography, both successful in their endeavors.
When Virus discovers that Raju successfully obtained a job offer, he conspires to prevent him from getting the job by creating an exam paper so tough that will deliberately fail Raju. When Pia learns of his plan, she helps Rancho and Farhan by providing them with the keys to her father's office. They bring a xeroxed copy of the exam to Raju, but Raju, with his newfound attitude, calmy throws the paper away. However, Virus catches them and expels them on the spot. Pia angrily confronts him, revealing that his son, Pia's brother, committed suicide when he could not get into ICE, like Virus demanded, even though he had no interest in engineering and instead wished to be a writer. After revealing this, Pia exiles herself by fleeing to her hospital where she is a student. Later that same night, Pia's pregnant older sister Mona (Mona Singh) goes into labor. A heavy rainstorm cuts all power and floods the streets, making it impossible for the ambulance to reach Mona, and Pia is stuck at her hospital, where she had fled. Rancho, Farhan and Raju come to the rescue, along with other students from ICE. Over phone and webcam, Pia instructs Rancho to deliver the baby via VOIP. After the baby is apparently stillborn, Rancho resuscitates the baby by leading the students in saying "All is well". Virus finally reconciles with Rancho and his friends, and allows them to stay for their final exams.
Their story is framed as intermittent flashbacks from the present day, ten years after Chatur bet that he'd become more successful than Rancho. Having lost contact with Rancho, who disappeared during the graduation party and went into seclusion, after five years, Raju and Farhan begin a journey to find him. They are joined by Chatur, now a wealthy and successful professional in the USA, who is looking to seal a deal with a famous scientist and prospective business associate named Phunsukh Wangdu. When they find Rancho's house in Shimla, they find a completely different man: the real Ranchoddas Chanchad (Jaaved Jaffrey).
Forcing the new man to surrender his identity, they come to know that their friend was a destitute servant boy "Chhote" who loved learning, while he, the real Rancho, disliked study. After seeing the boy's intelligence, the family agreed to let the servant boy study in Rancho's place instead of laboring. In return, the real Rancho would pocket his qualifications and after graduating, the servant boy will cease all contact. The real Rancho reveals that Chhote is now a schoolteacher in Ladakh. At the same time, they find out that, without Rancho, Pia decided to marry the same price-obsessed banker, Suhas, that Rancho initially talked her into dumping, and they go to rescue her from the wedding.
Raju and Farhan find Pia and arrive at Rancho’s school. Pia and the fake Rancho rekindle their love, while Chatur mocks Rancho for becoming a lowly schoolteacher. He asks Rancho to sign a "Declaration of Defeat" document. When Rancho's friends ask what his real name is, he reveals that he is actually Phunsukh Wangdu himself. Chatur finds out about this and is horrified; he accepts his defeat and pleads his case with Phunsukh, to establish the business relationship he was after as the gang runs off into the sunset with Chatur in pursuit and as the credits roll in.
- Aamir Khan as Ranchhoddas "Rancho" Shamaldas Chanchad / Phunsukh Wangdu/ Chote
- Kareena Kapoor as Pia Sahastrabudhhe
- R. Madhavan as Farhan Qureshi
- Sharman Joshi as Raju Rastogi
- Boman Irani as Viru Sahastrabudhhe (Virus)
- Omi Vaidya as Chatur Ramalingam (Silencer)
- Rahul Kumar (Actor) as Manmohan "MM" aka Millimeter
- Mona Singh as Mona Sahastrabudhhe
- Sanjay Lafont as Suhas
- Parikshit Sahni as Mr. Qureshi
- Farida Dadi as Mrs. Qureshi
- Amardeep Jha as Mrs. Rastogi
- Mukund Bhatt as Mr. Rastogi
- Javed Jaffrey as Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad (Cameo)
- Arun Bali as Shamaldas Chanchad
- Ali Fazal as Joy Lobo
- Akhil Mishra as Mr. Dubey (Librarian)
- Rajeev Ravindranathan as Lead Ragging Senior
- Harvinder Singh as Mr. Dhillon
- Achyut Potdar as Workshop Class Professor
- Pitobash as ICE college student
The shoot of the film with the supporting characters began on 28 July 2008. Hirani and his team left in late August for the shoot with the principal cast. The film was shot in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ladakh, Chail and Shimla. Aamir and rest of the cast began shooting in early September. Hirani planned to wrap up the film by December. The first scene was shot in an aircraft with Madhavan. From Mumbai, the crew and cast comprising Aamir and Kareena went to Ladakh for a 20-day schedule. The shooting also took place at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore for 33 days as a part of the second schedule of production. A scene of the movie was also shot at Indian Institute Of Technology Bombay (Mumbai).
The film opened up on 1800 prints worldwide, and grossed roughly 385 crore (US$76.81 million). Box Office India declared the film an "All time Blockbuster". It broke all box office records upon release. In its four-day first weekend, the film netted 38 crore (US$7.58 million), and broke the record held by Ghajini for the first weekend collections. By the first week, the film netted 79.5 crore (US$15.86 million), again breaking the box office record held by Ghajini.
3 Idiots is the highest-grossing Bollywood film in overseas markets. It set record collections for Indian-produced films in territories such as United States, Australia, Fiji, and some African territories. In the United States, the film earned $6.5 million since its opening, in addition to over $2.5 million in the United Kingdom, nearly $1 million in Australia, and over $3 million in South Korea.
Unusual for an Indian film, 3 Idiots has become a major success in East Asian markets. The film had the longest showing period at cinemas in Taiwan, for more than two months from December 2010, breaking the record of Avatar, with over TWD $10 million grossed. The film was the first aired Indian film in Hong Kong, where it grossed HKD $22 million since its showing from September 1, 2011, as of January 2012, and the equivalent of over US $3 million as of 4 March 2012. In China, where it is known as San Geshagua ("Three Idiots"), the film grossed $1.15 million in four days in December 2011, eventually crossing the $2 million mark within 18 days, and nearly $3 million within a month, as of 5 January 2012. Alongside the original Hindi version, a Chinese-dubbed version was also released, with the popular actress Tang Wei (best known for Lust, Caution) voicing Kareena Kapoor's role. One reason for its success in East Asian markets such as China and Hong Kong is because of their similar education systems, thus many students were able to identify with the characters, with some Chinese universities "even prescribing the film in their coursework as a kind of stress-relief in their classrooms." Following its success in other Asian markets, Japanese distributor Nikkatsu has announced plans to release the film in Japan.
Unlike the original novel, 3 Idiots received highly positive reviews upon its release. Subhash K. Jha (film critic and author of The Essential Guide to Bollywood) states: "It's not that 3 Idiots is a flawless work of art. But it is a vital, inspiring and life-revising work of contemporary art with some heart imbued into every part. In a country where students are driven to suicide by their impossible curriculum, 3 Idiots provides hope. Maybe cinema can't save lives. But cinema, sure as hell, can make you feel life is worth living. 3 Idiots does just that, and much more. The director takes the definition of entertainment into directions of social comment without assuming that he knows best." Nikhat Kazmi of the Times of India gave it four and a half stars and suggests that, "The film is a laugh riot, despite being high on fundas [...] Hirani carries forward his simplistic `humanism alone works' philosophy of the Lage Raho Munna Bhai series in 3 Idiots too, making it a warm and vivacious signature tune to 2009. The second half of the film does falter in parts, specially the child birth sequence, but it doesn't take long for the film to jump back on track."  Mayank Shekhar of the Hindustan Times gave the film three and a half out of five stars and comments that "this is the sort of movie you’ll take home with a smile and a song on your lips."  Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave 3 Idiots four and a half out of five stars and states: "On the whole, 3 Idiots easily ranks amongst Aamir, Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's finest films. Do yourself and your family a favour: Watch 3 Idiots. It's emotional, it's entertaining, it's enlightening. The film has tremendous youth appeal and feel-good factor to work in a big way."  Kaveree Bamzai of India Today gave 3 Idiots five stars and argues that "it's a lovely story, of a man from nowhere who wanted to learn, told like a fairy tale, with the secret heart carrying its coded message of setting all of us free." 
Other critics gave the film a mixed review. Sonia Chopra of Sify gave the film 3 stars and said "Though a bit too calculated and designed, 3 Idiots is still an ok option for the significant message, interesting cast and scattered breezy moments." Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave the film three out of five stars and states: "Going home after watching 3 Idiots I felt like I'd just been to my favorite restaurant only to be a tad under-whelmed by their signature dish. It was a satisfying meal, don't get me wrong, but not the best meal I'd been expecting."  Shubhra Gupta from The Indian Express also gave it 3 stars, stating "‘3 Idiots’ does not do as much for me. The emotional truth that shone through both the ‘Munnabhai’ movies doesn’t come through strongly enough." Raja Sen of Rediff gave the film two out of five stars and states: "Rajkumar Hirani's one of the directors of the decade, a man with immense talent and a knack for storytelling. On his debut, he hit a hundred. With his second, he hit a triple century. This time, he fishes outside the offstump, tries to play shots borrowed from other batters, and hits and misses to provide a patchy, 32*-type innings. It's okay, boss, *chalta hai*. Even Sachin has an off day, and we still have great hope."
The film has also been highly acclaimed overseas. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 100% "fresh" critics' rating based on five reviews as well as an audience rating of 92% based on nearly 20,000 votes. Derek Elley of Variety wrote that "3 Idiots takes a while to lay out its game plan but pays off emotionally in its second half." Robert Abele of Los Angeles Times wrote that there's an "unavoidable joie de vivre (symbolized by Rancho's meditative mantra "All is well") and a performance charm that make this one of the more naturally gregarious Bollywood imports." Louis Proyect described it as a "fabulous achievement across the board. A typical Bollywood confection but also social commentary on a dysfunctional engineering school system that pressures huge numbers of students into suicide." The Korean site Naver gave the film a review rating of 9.4 out of 10. On the Chinese site Douban, 3 Idiots currently holds an average audience rating of 9.1 out of 10 based on nearly 250,000 votes.
57th National Film Awards
- Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment – 3 Idiots
- Best Audiography – Anup Dev
- Best Lyrics – Swanand Kirkire – Behti Hawa Sa Tha Wo
2010 IIFA Awards
- Best Film – 3 Idiots
- Best Direction – Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Story – Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra
- Best Supporting Actor – Sharman Joshi
- Best Actress – Kareena Kapoor
- Best Actor in a negative role – Boman Irani
- Best Lyricist – Swanand Kirkire
- Best Singer Male – Shaan – Behti Hawa Sa Tha Wo
- Best Cinematography – C. K. Muraleedharan, ISC
- Best Screenplay – Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani & Vidhu Vinod Chopra
- Best Dialogue – Rajkumar Hirani & Abhijat Joshi
- Best Editing – Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Sound Recording – Bishwadeep Chatterjee & Nihal Ranjan Samal
- Best Song Recording – Bishwadeep Chatterjee & Sachin K Sanghvi
- Best Sound Re-Recording – Anup Dev
- Best Background Score – Sanjay Wandrekar,Atul Raninga & Shantanu Moitra
2010 Filmfare Awards
- Best Film – Vidhu Vinod Chopra
- Best Director – Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Supporting Actor – Boman Irani
- Best Dialogue – Raj Kumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra
- Best Story – Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Screenplay – Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra
2010 Max Stardust Awards
- Readers Choice Awards for Star Of The Year (Female) – Kareena Kapoor
- Readers Choice Awards for Best Film Of The Year – Drama – Rajkumar Hirani
2010 Star Screen Awards
- Best Film – Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Director – Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Popular Actress – Kareena Kapoor
- Best Villain – Boman Irani
- Best Comedian – Omi Vaidya
- Best Screenplay – Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra
- Best Dialogue – Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Editing – Rajkumar Hirani
- Best Choreography – Bosco-Caesar – Zoobi Doobi
- Most Promising Newcomer – Male – Omi Vaidya
The film's soundtrack is composed by Shantanu Moitra with lyrics penned by Swanand Kirkire.
|Soundtrack album by Shantanu Moitra|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|1||"Aal Izz Well"||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire||4:36|
|2||"Zoobi Doobi"||Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal||4:08|
|3||"Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh"||Shaan, Shantanu Moitra||5:01|
|4||"Give Me Some Sunshine"||Suraj Jagan, Sharman Joshi||4:07|
|5||"Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe"||Sonu Nigam||3:32|
|6||"Aal Izz Well (Remix)"||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire||4:41|
|7||"Zoobi Doobi (Remix)"||Sonu Nigam,Jaive, Shreya Ghoshal||3:29|
Controversy: Adaptation from book
Prior to the release of the film director Rajkumar Hirani commented on the relationship between Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat and 3 Idiots stating:
- Chetan gave me this book to read and I wanted to make a film on it. But I knew right from the start that I could not make a film completely on the book, as it was very anecdotal and a film needs a plot. So I had decided to rewrite it in a screenplay format. You'll see that the film is very different from the book. After I wrote the script, I called Chetan and narrated it to him. I told him that if he did not like the script, I would stop the project. But he was okay with it.
The day after the film opened, Chetan also noted:
- Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on '5 Point Someone'. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times. But it was just not possible for me to be involved at every stage of the screenplay writing process since I was in Hong Kong at that time, working full time and busy writing other books. Moreover, Abhijat is based in USA, Raju was in the US for quite a while working on the screenplay but it was not practical for me to do that [...] The film retains the soul of the book. 3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself. And that's why the makers have officially credited the film as 'Based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat.'
A controversy developed a few days after the release, however, over the fact that Chetan's credit, "Based on the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat" appeared in the closing credits rather than in the opening ones. At that time, Bhagat stated that he "was expecting an opening credit and I was quite surprised on not seeing it. They had bought the rights, made the payment and committed to a credit in the contract. It’s there, but it’s not about it being there, it’s about the placement and the prominence." In a 31 December 2009 blog post on his personal website, Bhagat stated that he was told the movie was only 2–5% based on the book, but when he saw it, he felt that it was 70% of the book. He also argued that he was misled by the makers of the film, though he noted, that "this has nothing to do with Mr. Aamir Khan [...] I am a big fan of Aamir and he has made my story reach people. However, he was told by the makers not to read the book, and he hasn’t. Thus, he cannot comment on the issue in a meaningful manner." 
A few people responded to Chetan's statements. According to the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), during a press conference with reporters producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra "clarified that in the agreement between the producer and Bhagat, it was clearly mentioned that the author’s name would be put in the closing credits." IANS also reported that Chopra "lost his cool" and "asked a reporter to shut up after being questioned whether his hit 3 Idiots was lifted from author Chetan Bhagat’s book Five Point Someone." Chopra later apologized, stating: "I really think I’m silly. I was provoked, but I shouldn’t have done this. I saw myself on TV and saw how I was shouting ‘shut up, shut up’ like an animal. I told myself — ‘what nonsensical behaviour’." Aamir Khan also responded to these claims. Rajkumar Hirani stated that "We have officially bought the rights for the film. We drew a contract with him and it clearly mentions about the position of his credit. With open eyes he had seen the contract, consulted his lawyer and signed the agreement [...] In the contract, we have said that the title would be given in the rolling credits. We haven't changed the font size. We haven't increased the speed of the title. It's exactly there where it was agreed to be."  Chetan Bhagat later apologized stating, "I definitely do not have anything against team 3 Idiots. I may have some issues on the mistake they may have made but nothing about their personality or the kind of people they are. I apologise to their families if there was any distress caused to them. I also want to thank all my fans, who stood by me but I don't want them to turn against anyone especially Aamir."
This film was remade as a South Indian Tamil film entitled Nanban, by S. Shankar, which was released in January 2012. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Vijay, Jeeva, Srikanth, Ileana D'Cruz, Sathyan and Sathyaraj.
Following the success of 3 Idiots in East Asian markets such as China and Hong Kong, the producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra has announced that Hong Kong film star Stephen Chow (known for comedy films such as Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle) will be producing a Chinese remake of the film. Chopra also announced that there are plans for a Hollywood remake, and is in talks with three different American studios interested in remaking the film. Chopra also stated that there is an Italian film studio also interested in remaking the film.
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- "Aamir's dedication is mistaken as interference", rediff.com, 23 December 2009.
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- Sharma, Neha."Chetan Bhagat feeling cheated?", Hindustan Times, 27 December 2009.
- A book, a film and the truth"
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- Official website
- 3 Idiots at the Internet Movie Database
- 3 Idiots at Box Office Mojo
- 3 Idiots at AllRovi
- 3 Idiots at Bollywood Hungama
- Aamir's 3 IDIOTS to help fight terrorism
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