3 idiots – Not really!!

2 01 2010

“3 idiots” has been a pleasant surprise. I have presumed that it’s based on Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone and was curious to know how it turned out. The good talk about the movie finally encouraged me to watch it a couple of days ago. I was careful not to read any reviews or in fact any of the related stuff. At first glance the movie seemed very different from the novel. Owing to the fact that I read the novel two years ago, I don’t remember much about it other than that it’s about three friends in IIT, that it was entertaining and snippets of it here and there. I quickly realized that the movie is very different from the book, with a direction of its own. The general idea has been based on the novel but the plot itself is different. The movie definitely has a higher purpose. As I think about it again, many things and scenes appear to have been used from the book and it’s very unfair not to mention Chetan in the title credits and publicity. Among the ideas adopted from the book are: three friends in engineering, college ragging, Venkat(Chatur), affair with professor’s daughter, carefree attitude of the character Ryan (Rancho), stealing the question paper etc. I feel that comparing the movie and the novel doesn’t do justice to either of them, given that their souls are different.

“3 idiots” has the right mix of right elements – fun and message. About the fun part – it’s mostly guy stuff. So, no comments! 🙂 Coming to the message part, I think it can’t be over-emphasized. It’s a sad reality in our country that parents and society at large suppress one’s desire to realize one’s dreams. Actually, it’s not this way just in India, but the same attitude can be seen in a number of other Asian countries too. I happened to know about it by chancing upon a lament of an Asian(Anson Chi) in the form of a book – Yellow on the Outside and Shame on the Inside. (It’s a free e-book and very easy to read.) In the mad race to be successful (which means to become an engineer or a doctor, preferably from a reputed institute), countless youngsters are under tremendous pressure.

In a country like India, where there are the qualified people far exceed the employment opportunities, the competition is bound to be cut-throat. But it is made worse by the attitude which values monetary success over passion/interests. When people are more concerned with maintaining their status and seeking society’s approval or admiration than with the personal interests and aspirations, frustration continues to prevail.

One catch here is that one has to be aware of what one want. How many can be sure about their interests at the end of high school? I feel that for the vast majority, realization comes much later. In my opinion, the environment doesn’t allow people to develop and pursue interests of their own in the early age. The reason of course is that children depend on parents until well into their twenties. The family and social system we usually are proud about rises its ugly head in such ways and makes us start wondering. Lucky are the ones who discover their passion for something and are encouraged to pursue it from the beginning. These are invariably exceptions rather than the norm, which is an unfortunate reality.

The pressure of constantly being in a race or of trying to meet someone else’s expectations no doubt wears a person out at some point. I loved this line by Amir Khan from the movie: “Don’t run after success, run after excellence.” Let learning be a joy, not punishment or just an ordeal.

The Rancho character is a blast. He is funny, passionate, confident, and brilliant. He is also idealistic. Amir did a great job, as usual. But, as expected, it was a bit difficult to imagine and see him as a 20 year old. Another striking thing in the movie is the scenery. I’m astonished to find India so beautiful. I’ve never been to North India and just didn’t guess it could be so amazingly exquisite. I was also a bit ashamed that I didn’t realize it before. Ladakh was exceedingly lovely in the climax scene.

And I can’t agree more with the ‘All izz well” philosophy. It’s a powerful positive thinking technique which enables us not just to accept things but also to respond to them constructively. This reminded me of the magic statements, which I learned and used with success in difficult times, from Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking:

  • I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me
  • If God be for us, who can be against us?

Though these seem to be bound by a religion, the general idea is to look up to a supreme power/being as a source of inspiration and courage. The reason for mentioning this is to make the point that simple statements like that can be very powerful in their effects.

Music is good and I loved two of the songs:

To conclude, “3 idiots” is an awesome movie in the lines of Lage Raho Munnabhai and Taare Zameen Par. I hope people get its message, in the sense that they apply it in thier lives.

Image Source: http://www.dancewithshadows.com/

2 States

12 12 2009

I finished reading 2 States: The Story of My Marriage (by Chetan Bhagat) a couple of days ago. Hmm.. the standard is pretty much the same but I have to admit that this one is more entertaining than the others. In my opinion, 2 States comes closer to Chetan’s dubut hit Five point Someone in mood and quality. The fact that they both are semi-autobiographical doesn’t seem to be a coincidence to me. (The other two books in between have been a kind of let downs – basically seemed inferior.)

The concept of boy and girl going to the would-be in-laws to impress them reminded me of a Tamil movie Jodi.

2 States is funny, romantic, silly and filmy all the same time. I really wonder how close the novel characters resemble the real people concerned, because at times it seemed to me that he stretched their idiosyncracies a bit too much. Ananya being so hi-fi from the beginning, poking fun at things and booing, giving the impression of being extra extra cool actually didn’t impress me much. I don’t mean to say that there is anything wrong about it but I felt it made her very unreal. I wonder whether Chetan’s wife Anusha is really like that. I googled for her picture, and here‘s one of the couple:

She sure is beautiful and they both make a wonderful couple to look at. I’m also a bit curious about the truth about his father and wonder about their romance part. All in all, I felt that this book is a bold move on his part. Just can’t guess how much of it is fiction and how much is fact.

There are a very few morsels of thought in this novel, one of which I really liked is Krish’s explanation as to why he has found Guruji’s advice enlightening and why he has felt better. Here’s what he says to Ananya about it:

“Sometimes in your life you just meet someone or hear something that nudges you on the right path. And that becomes the best advice. It could just be a bit of common sense said in a way that resonates with something in you. It’s nothing new, but because it connects with you it holds meaning for you.”

The most hated popular books

6 10 2009

Nothing is liked by everyone. However great or popular a thing might be, there will be at least a few who are not impressed by it. Likewise there are some popular books, award winners and best sellers, which are hated by a significant number of people.

From what I’ve observed in some of the online book communities and groups, the most hated books seem to be –

  • Alchemist by Paulo Coelho(Bestseller)
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy(Booker Prize winner, 1997)

Others include –

  • Paulo Coelho’s other books like Eleven Minutes
  • Chetan Bhagat’s literary attempts etc.

Also I’ve heard more negative reviews than otherwise about Kiran Desai’s Inheritance of loss (Booker prize winner, 2006).  But still I decided to try it, going by it’s literary recognition and ignoring the fellow readers’ bitter experiences. And that was a decision I greatly regret. Reading that book was a sheer torture.

So, when I recently picked up The God of Small things from the library, it is not without much hesitation. But, there’s  a surprise waiting for me. I’m enthralled by her writing. I was not at all prepared for her highly delectable prose, which swept me off my feet (or so I felt). I’m really enjoying the book and even before I finish it, I have a feeling that I would read it again and again.