One of the most memorable weeks of my childhood was during a summer holiday in Mauritius spent with my brother and cousins with no adult available to take us to the beach. We kept going back and forth to the video store because all there was on television were Bollywood movies with no subtitles. Since then I’ve been pretty biased against Bollywood movies, there’s only so much Shannen Doherty direct-to-video one can take, you know? So when I met friends from Bombay, I asked them for an outstanding Bollywood movie. They said: “You’ve got to see 3 idiots“. That same night a friend from Tanzania wrote on his Facebook wall: “Make your passion your profession.! #The 3 Idiots.” So it was written in the stars, I had to see this movie.
Based on the popular novel Five Point Someone, Rajkumar Hirani’s 2009 film 3 Idiots is a tale à la Voltaire about students and the pressure they cope with. There are a dozen Chinese students presently here at the Learning Lab and most had seen and loved the film. It has become the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in and out of India. I watched it with my friend Mei who had seen it in Taiwan where it was a bigger success than Avatar. According to The Hindu some Chinese universities prescribed the film in their coursework as a stress-relief . The film also did very well in South-Korea where it was released in 2011, since the audience could easily relate to the rigorous educational system and high suicide rate among the student population.
3 Idiots is a film made of conventional wisdom, generosity, humor and yes, some songs here and there (I always like a good song, but if you don’t, don’t let it scare you away, there’s still plenty to love). Just see for yourself: