Friday, January 01, 2010

3 Idiots: a brief comment

I disliked 3 Idiots intensely and indeed cringed through more than half of it but looking back, I can see that by the standards of contemporary Hindi movies, it is not at all a bad one. There is a certain slickness to the script and the direction (credited to Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani), a couple of good jokes (the jokes are pitched at the level of a 5-year old but the audience around me found them funny), one truly moving scene (about which more later), pleasing performances by pleasing actors (Sharman Joshi, Madhavan and Kareena Kapoor) and of course the great Mr. Aamir Khan himself.

That last part, in case you didn't get it, was intended as sarcasm (the rest was sincere). Indeed 3 Idiots works best when the movie isn't busy adoring its star. Sadly, that would be may be 15 minutes of its running time. The rest is mostly scenes that consist of: (a) Aamir Khan telling people he likes how they ought to live their lives, or (b) Aamir Khan telling people he doesn't like how they ought to live their lives. (Oops, did I say Aamir Khan? I meant his character Rancho. But who am I kidding?) This gets a little wearying after a while since: (a) his intellectual adversaries are either bumbling or wicked or both. They get no good lines and don't offer much of a fight. Khan always has an answer! He's a genius, you see. (b) His friends are either bumbling or helpless or both. And boy, does he love to help! And boy, are they thankful! In fact, they worship the very ground he walks on.

If Khan took praise well, if he looked, oh let's say, just a wee bit embarrassed, this could still be interesting. Not. Aamir Khan, as an actor, is pathologically incapable of modesty. Indeed the more Rancho attains demi-god status in the movie, the more annoyingly smug he looks. Rebellion never had such a supremely self-satisfied avatar.

PS: Watch out for the scene at the very end between Madhavan's character Farhaan and his father, played by Parikshit Sahni. Probably the most touching father-son confrontation I've seen so far. And the song sequences pop and fizz.