Thursday, October 6, 2011

3 Idiots (Rajkumar Hirani)

The Idiots.

Here's what pure cinematic escapism is all about. "3 Idiots", which gained an unexpected popularity among the adolescent demographic here in the Philippines, has combined colorful characters, a well-weaved (though a bit far-fetched at certain turns, I must admit) narrative and a breathing, all-smiling grasp of the meaning of true education, the joy of learning and of course, friendship.

Aamir Khan, looking like a cross between Tobey Maguire and Jude Law, plays Rancho, a character wrapped in a velvet of myth but whose energetic presence and sentimental vulnerability makes him all the more affecting and engaging even though merely imagining someone like him to exist in real life departs from plausibility. Think of him as Andy Dufresne reiterated into India's stoic engineering culture. Just like Jean-Pierre Jeunet's splendid "Amelie", which boast of relentless sub-narratives that have enhanced and expanded its mono-centered story (to that of the titular girl) into a 2-hour circus-like universe of emotions and ideas, "3 Idiots" has masterfully etched a unique atmosphere out of the potentially boring and monotonous everyday lives of the engineering world.

But then again, with Bollywood and its endless arsenal for entertainment, that which includes rainbow-palette dance sequences and sugary sentimentalism, nothing is impossible, except of course putting a toothpaste back into its tube (a little in-joke there).

Aside from being a highly amusing comedy film about camaraderie, it's also a wonderful showcase of existential optimism that even borders light philosophy, but never succumbs into conceptual confusion. This is "3 Idiots'" specific strength. Along with its long-running energy are well-conceived ideas that never falter in the face of quick humor. Director Rajkumar Hirani took advantage of the film's catchy overall visual texture and effectively inserted life lessons and instant but penetrating wisdom into its very core, added up some quick-witted conversational symbolism, a genuine inclination to connect with its viewers and voila, an ideal thinking man's quasi-fantasy dramedy.

But limiting "3 Idiots" within the accepted idea of the term 'thinking man' is just like adhering myself to school director Viru's (one of the film's great highlights, played by Boman Irani) stern but flawed educational principle of text-book knowledge and by-the-book intelligence. Just like what Rene Descartes famously stated, "I think, therefore I am"; with "3 Idiots", as what I have mentioned, being a film for thinking men, I used the term in the sense of how it encapsulates the cerebral wholeness of everyone whose gift to distinguish schooling from education, from memorization to absorption automatically makes them its tailor-made audience. A film that is purely fit for every autonomous thinker who can beat their heart or two for an education that is something more than a one-sided inclination towards a monetary future.

For once, I'm really glad that a film of this content and caliber has able to pervade itself into the immediate film-watching vicinity of many people, especially students. Glaring and losing hope at those trash comedy films being spoon-fed into mainstream audience's mouths just to compensate for everyone's hunger to be entertained and be somehow enlightened, along came "3 Idiots" with all barrels blazing and every means utilized to deliver something much, much more than a few laughs.

If the usual comedy film can induce laughter, this film 'inspires' laughter. This is an ideal film for values formation and a wonderful Indian picture that never squeezes out its distinct cinematic character from the common geographic and cultural staples of the country itself. It treads its own path and creates a name out of something truly original and very worthwhile. And also, it never felt like it's almost 3 hours long.


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