3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed and written by Rajkumar Hirani, with screenplay by Abhijat Joshi,It was produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra under the banner Vinod Chopra Films. The film follows the friendship of three students at an Indian engineering college, and is a satire about the social pressures under an Indian education system. The film is narrated through parallel dramas, one in the present, the other ten years in the past. It also incorporated real Indian inventions, from Remya Jose, Mohammad Idris, Jahangir Painter, and Sonam Wangchuk. Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi star in the title roles, with Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani and Omi Vaidya.
The film received critical acclaim and commercial success. Upon release, 3 Idiots was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend in India and had the highest opening day collections for an Indian film up until that point, and also held the record for the highest net collections in the first week for a Bollywood film. It also became one of the few Indian films at the time to become successful in East Asian markets, such as China and Japan, eventually bringing its worldwide gross to ₹459.96 crore ($90 million)[a]—it was the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time. The film also had a social impact on attitudes to education in India .
The film won six Filmfare Awards including Best Film, and three National Film Awards including Best Popular Film. Overseas, it won the Grand Prize at Japan's Videoyasan Awards, and was nominated for Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film at the Japan Academy Awards and Best Foreign Film at China's Beijing International Film Festival. This film was remade in Tamil as Nanban (2012), which also received critical praise and commercial success. Nanban had a Telugu dubbed version titled Snehitudu. A Mexican remake, 3 Idiotas, was also released in 2017.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Produced by||Vidhu Vinod Chopra|
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
|Story by||Rajkumar Hirani Abhijat Joshi|
Five Point Someone|
by Chetan Bhagat
|Narrated by||R. Madhavan|
|Cinematography||C. K. Muraleedharan|
|Edited by||Raj Kumar Hirani|
|Distributed by||Reliance BIG Pictures|
|2 hours and 51 minutes|
|Box office||est. ₹460 crore|
On board a departing Air India flight, Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan) suddenly receives a call from Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya) claiming that he has found Rancho. He then causes an emergency landing by feigning a heart attack. Farhan fetches Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) and they meet Chatur at a water tank in their old college campus; Chatur revealing that Rancho is in Shimla.
As they drive their way to Shimla, a flashback shows Farhan and Raju beginning their college year in the prestigious Imperial College of Engineering (ICE) in Delhi. They are joined by Ranchoddas Chanchad (Aamir Khan), known as "Rancho" . While Farhan takes engineering over photography to please his father, Raju takes the course to lift his family from poverty. Rancho, on the other hand, believes in hands on learning and tends to give unorthodox answers in class, coming into conflict with professors, in particular with the institution's director, Dr. Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani), whom the ICE community nicknames as "Virus", and whose traditional and strict philosophies on education contrast sharply with Rancho's carefree love of learning. Meanwhile, Chatur, nicknamed “Silencer", is an arrogant Ugandan-born Tamil student with little knowledge of Hindi, who is obsessed with topping the exams.
Days later, the trio find a student named Joy Lobo (Ali Fazal) hanging in his room; his death caused by depression after Virus tells Joy's father that he will be unable to graduate. Rancho uses this to criticize Virus's method of teaching and show him how much pressure engineers face when they study - angering him further. After Rancho visits his friends' families, the trio then gatecrash a wedding to eat and meet and befriend Virus's daughter, Pia (Kareena Kapoor), who is a residency student at the city's hospital. When Virus's spots the trio, he summons Farhan and Raju on the next school day and threatens their families income. During a Teachers Day celebration, Chatur is humiliated when he delivers a Hindi speech modified by Rancho, and bets Rancho that ten years later,they would see who is more successful. Sometime later, Rancho saves Raju's dying father with the help of Pia.
One night during their senior year, the three friends drunkenly break into the Sahastrabuddhe residence to propose to Pia. As the three friends escape, Virus recognizes Raju, and threatens to expel him unless he writes a letter implicating Rancho in the break-in. Unwilling to betray Rancho, Raju attempts suicide and ends up in a coma. With intensive care and support from his friends and Pia, Raju recovers in time for a corporate job interview. Meanwhile, Rancho and Pia post Farhan's letter to his favorite photographer, Andre Istvan, who offers him a position as assistant. After advice from Rancho, he communicates his dream to his father, who gives his blessing.
Infuriated by Rancho's influence, Virus sets a difficult final exam to fail Raju. Pia tries to help the trio by revealing to them the location of the exam paper, but Virus finds out and expels them. Pia confronts Virus about her brother who committed suicide because he couldn't meet Virus' expectation of clearing the engineering exam. That same night, Virus' pregnant elder daughter Mona goes into labor during a heavy storm which cuts off all traffic and electricity. Rancho and the other students use their engineering knowledge to deliver the baby with the help of Pia over video call. A grateful Virus finally acknowledges Rancho as an extraordinary student, allowing the three to graduate. On graduation day, Rancho disappears shortly after the ceremony ends.
Returning to the present, Farhan is a successful wildlife photographer, Raju is married and settled with his family in a comfortable lifestyle with a corporate job, and Chatur is the vice president of a reputed corporation in the United States. None of them have heard from Rancho since graduation. Arriving at Shimla, they meet a man who turns out to be the real Ranchoddas Chanchad. From him, they learn that the Rancho they knew was actually "Chhote", an orphaned servant to the Chanchad family. Ranchoddas' father arranged for Chhote to attend ICE in his son's name, so that his son could take credit for the degree. Ranchoddas provides Chhote's address in Ladakh, where he is a school teacher. On the way, they pass Manali and rescue Pia from marrying her materialistic boyfriend Suhas over Chatur's objections; Chatur hurries to seek a business deal with world-renowned scientist and businessman with 400 patents, Phunsukh Wangdu.
Upon arrival in Ladakh, the four find the village school, witnessing young students' inventions that resemble Rancho's own college projects. Raju, Farhan, and Pia then happily reunite with Rancho but Chatur insults Rancho, and asks him to sign a statement that he is the less successful one. Without comment, Rancho does so. As Chatur walks away in triumph, Rancho reveals himself to be Phunsukh Wangdu much to his friends' and Pia's surprise. A horrified Chatur accepts his defeat and begs him to sign the contract while Pia and the three friends run away laughing.
Principal photography 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. Filming of the ICE college scenes took place at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore campus for 33 days as a part of the second schedule of production. The dormitory scenes were filmed at the institution's female dormitory block.
The film is distinctive for featuring real inventions by little-known people in India's backyards. The brains behind these innovations include Remya Jose, a student from Kerala, who created the pedal operated washing-machine; Mohammad Idris, a barber from Hasanpur Kalan in 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. The character Phunsuk Wangdu may have also drawn inspiration from Ladakhi inventor Sonam Wangchuk.
|Soundtrack album by Shantanu Moitra|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|1.||"Aal Izz Well"||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire||4:34|
|2.||"Zoobi Doobi"||Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal||4:06|
|3.||"Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh"||Shaan, Shantanu Moitra||4:59|
|4.||"Give Me Some Sunshine"||Suraj Jagan, Sharman Joshi||4:05|
|5.||"Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe"||Sonu Nigam||3:30|
|6.||"Zoobi Doobi" (Remix)||Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal||3:27|
|7.||"Aal Izz Well" (Remix)||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire, Jaive Samsun||4:41|
The film initially opened up on 1550 prints worldwide. 3 Idiots was released in 1800 theaters in India, which was at that time a big domestic release. 3 Idiots was released in 415 screens overseas. 3 idiots was released in 2,215 theaters worldwide.
It was expected to be the first Indian film to be officially released on YouTube on 25 March 2010, only 12 weeks after its initial theatrical release. Officially, it was released on YouTube in May 2012, but its access has since been restricted.
The film released in Taiwan on December 2010, followed by Hong Kong on 1 September 2011. In China, it was released as San Geshagua ("Three Idiots"), in December 2011. In South Korea, it was released in 2011. Alongside the original Hindi version, a Mandarin Chinese dubbed version was also released, with the popular actress Tang Wei (known for Lust, Caution) voicing Kareena Kapoor's role and Huang Bo voicing Aamir Khan's role (Khan and Bo later collaborated again on Secret Superstar).
Following its success in other Asian markets, Japanese distributor Nikkatsu announced plans to release the film in Japan. It was released there in June 2013, with the title きっと、うまくいく (Kitto, Umaku Iku).
Subhash K. Jha stated: "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". 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."
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 received praise overseas. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 100% "fresh" critics' rating based on eleven reviews. 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 film was praised by critics in East Asia and Southeast Asia. South China Morning Post wrote that the film "wraps a heavy message in light comedy. It is satire at its best, a powerful indictment of India's education system in which students cram for exams while stifling their dreams." Chaerim Oh of KAIST Herald wrote that "the film never harshly denounces the educational system but instead uncovers disturbing truths and unseen consequences of tremendous pressure upon students" and that "if you don't end up crying like I did (or won't admit that you did), you'll still enjoy the movie." In Japan, Yuri Wakabayashi of Eiga also gave the film a positive review. In the Philippines, Sha Nachino praised the film's social commentary on themes such as friendship, success, and education, noting how Rancho questions the education system and the grading system, and said the film is "beautifully crafted, with some exciting twists".
In 2013, renowned Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg praised 3 Idiots, which he had seen three times and said he "loved the emotional undertones." He listed it as one of five films that he connects with, along with The Godfather (1972) and his own work on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Jaws (1975).
|Territories and ancillary revenues||Price|
|Satellite rights with a TV channel [Sony]||₹22 crore (US$3.2 million)|
|Worldwide distribution rights||₹65 crore (US$9.5 million)|
|Music rights (T~Series)||₹12 crore (US$1.7 million)|
|Total||₹99 crore (US$14 million)|
The film's worldwide lifetime gross was ₹459.96 crore (US$90 million),[a] making it the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time. The film was listed in Guinness World Records for the record of highest box office film gross for a Bollywood film.
The film broke all box office records upon release. It created the highest collection record for paid previews with ₹27.5 million that time, which was broken by Chennai Express (2013). In its four-day first weekend, the film netted ₹38 crore (equivalent to ₹68 crore or US$9.9 million in 2017), and broke the record held by Ghajini for the first weekend collections. By the first week, the film netted ₹79 crore (equivalent to ₹141 crore or US$21 million in 2017), again breaking the box office record held by Ghajini. 3 Idiots had nett grossed ₹56 crore (equivalent to ₹100 crore or US$15 million in 2017) in its 2nd week, ₹302.5 million (US$4.4 million) during the third week, ₹16 crore (equivalent to ₹29 crore or US$4.2 million in 2017) in its fourth week and ₹9.75 crore (equivalent to ₹17 crore or US$2.5 million in 2017) in fifth to make a total of ₹202 crore in five weeks, first Indian film ever to collect this huge amount, hence established the ₹200 crore (US$29 million) Club. Its final domestic gross in India was ₹273.82 crore (US$57.05 million).[a]
3 Idiots became the then highest-grossing Indian film in overseas markets, with an overseas gross of US$30.5 million (₹186 crore).[a] Its first weekend opening collection overseas was $4 million. It set record collections for Indian-produced films in territories such as the United States and Australia. In the United States, the film earned $6.5 million since its opening, in addition to over $2.5 million in the United Kingdom, over $2 million in Canada, and nearly $1 million in Australia. 3 Idiots has the biggest first week total in the US with around $3 million over its first four days.
Unusual for an Indian film at the time, 3 Idiots became a success in East Asian markets. 3 Idiots had a wide release in East Asian markets including China, South Korea and Hong Kong. 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 NT$10 million (US$629,024) grossed. 3 Idiots was the first aired Indian film in Hong Kong, where it grossed HK$22 million at the box office since its showing from 1 September 2011 through January 2012, the equivalent of US$3.02 million. It was the 14th highest-grossing film of 2011 at the Hong Kong box office.
In South Korea, where it was released in 2011, the film grossed ₩3,416,415,900 (US$3,084,647). The film was number-one at the South Korean box office for five weeks, drawing an audience of 459,686 viewers.
In China, where it is known as San Geshagua ("Three Idiots"), the film grossed ₹11 crore in 2 weeks in December 2011, eventually crossing the $2 million mark within 18 days, and nearly $3 million within a month, as of 5 January 2012.
Upon its release in the Japanese market in June 2013, it went on to collect around ¥100 million (₹61 million) in its first two weeks of run – that makes the film the highest grossing Hindi film ever in Japan. Its final gross in Japan was ¥150 million (US$1.6 million). The film's final gross in East Asian markets was US$11,333,671 (₹69.2 crore).
The film won 52 accolades from Indian film awards; among these are six Filmfare Awards including Best Film and Best Director, three National Film Awards including Best Popular Film, ten Star Screen Awards, sixteen IIFA Awards, five GIMA Awards, two Apsara Awards and seven Bollywood Hungama Surfers Choice Movie Awards.
In China, it was nominated for the Best Foreign Film prize at the first Beijing International Film Festival in 2011. In Japan, it was nominated in the Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film category at the 37th Japan Academy Awards in 2014; the award was eventually won by Les Miserables. In addition, 3 Idiots won the Grand Prize at the 4th Videoyasan Awards, held by a Japanese organisation of home video retailers in 2014; 3 Idiots was selected as 2013's best video release, beating thousands of films, anime and television shows, including domestic Japanese and foreign Hollywood productions.
The day after the film opened, Chetan also noted:
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 apologised, 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 apologised 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."
Latika Gupta in an article published in the weekly journal Economic and Political Weekly mentions that the film has serious problems when seen from the gender perspective, in particular that it follows the trend set by the 2007 film Jab We Met in their use of women's sexual vulnerability to create sensation and humor. In a scene of the movie, students, professors and the chief guest are seen bursting with laughter hearing a speech where the word balatkar (rape) figures 21 times and the word stan (breast) four times (in the English subtitles for international release, the words "screwed" and "bosom" are used instead)..
When 3 Idiots made its television debut in July 2010, it drew an audience of 39 million viewers in India.
When 3 Idiots released in China, the country was only the 15th largest film market, partly due to China's widespread pirate DVD distribution at the time. However, it was the pirate market that introduced 3 Idiots to most Chinese audiences, becoming a cult hit in the country. Aamir Khan gained a large growing Chinese fanbase as a result. By 2013, China grew to become the world's second largest film market (after the United States), paving the way for Aamir Khan's Chinese box office success, with Dhoom 3 (2013), PK (2014), Dangal (2016) and Secret Superstar (2017).
3 Idiots has been ranked China's 12th favourite film of all time according to ratings on popular Chinese film review site Douban, with only one domestic Chinese film (Farewell My Concubine) ranked higher. The film holds an average rating of 9.1 out of 10 on Douban, with over 700,000 votes. On the Korean site Naver, the most popular web portal in South Korea, audiences gave the film an average rating of 9.4 out of 10, and it is one of the top 30 highest-rated films on the site.
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. Chaerim Oh of KAIST Herald wrote that the "popularity of the movie, particularly in South Korea, can be traced back to the national background of the overly competitive education system. In Korea, students of all ages - from young elementary children to university graduate students - are trained to study under overwhelming pressure and extremely high academic standards. In short, this movie is, really, our own story."
The film had a social impact on attitudes to education in Asia, including education in India as well as other Asian countries. Chinese universities were "even prescribing the film in their coursework as a kind of stress-relief in their classrooms."
When asked about plans of a 3 Idiots sequel in an interview with Hindustan Times, screenwriter Abhijat Joshi replied, saying, "Honestly, I don't know. We have an idea for the 3 Idiots sequel, a Munna Bhai part three, and also for a PK sequel; but the PK and Munna Bhai sequels interest me the most. So, I think the 3 Idiots sequel may happen in the future, but these two I really want to work on."
In January 2016, director Rajkumar Hirani and actor Aamir Khan confirmed that they were considering a 3 Idiots sequel. Khan told reporters, ""Raju Hirani has given me a hint about '3 Idiots' sequel and I am giving you all a hint. The film will happen if and whenever he will write the script." Hirani agreed, saying "this is one film that I really want to do."
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