Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aal Izz Not Well

I just saw 3 Idiots. And I just had little beer to drink. And now I suddenly have a lot to say! I just found the movie ok ok. While it’s a formulaic & Masala hindi movie and I don’t like those but what actually killed the movie for me was high expectations, or rather wrong expectations. Someone had told me it was true to the book ‘5 Point someone’, while someone else had posted on FB that “It will remind you of your engineering days”, yet another post was “Best story about Friendship”, yet another was “Movie of the year”. Sorry but I didn’t find it any of the above. It was full of ‘done to death’ jokes like the space pen-pencil joke, the 4 women in Burqa getting their photograph taken, the replacing ‘chamatkaar’ with ‘balatkaar’, the mixing exam answer copies with others and a hundred others. And don't even get me started on the music.

The alcohol is hitting my brain now. And I’m just getting warmed up.

So now I will begin to spew my verbal volleys.

Engineering being the flavor of the day I will write this post as an Engineer. I will break it into 3 components. One for each idiot in me probably.

First take the Protagonist, or we say here in Hindi movies, the hero. Rancho. The character is so governed by Hindi Movie clichés, actually the whole movie is, but still. The Mr Goody two shoes, who is the brainiest, creativiest, most free spirited and of course the guy who sets all wrong right. Not possible in real life… You cannot have such a chilled out attitude…. If you don’t come out when a senior calls you, you don’t get your door peed upon. You get your door broken, you dragged outside and you getting beaten black and blue. That’s the reality of engineering college. You don’t address your final year senior by his name (assuming the helicopter guy was in the final year, because you have such projects only in the final year), and you certainly don’t walk in your director’s room to give him Gyan. There is no surer way to get flunked or worse, suspended.

In all autonomous colleges engineering or otherwise, you don’t only get grades on what you write but also on what the Prof thinks about you. So Rancho coming first in exams is also highly unlikely. There are a lot of other 'non sensical' scenes with him too, but that’s pardoned, this being a Hindi Movie and all.

Then the other guy. Raju. Ok I agree having a Bimar Baap, Buudhi Maa and Bin byahi Behan is campy. Maybe it even struck a funny chord with people, but even I being a fan of all things campy/spoof didn’t find some things funny. There is nothing funny about some guy who is poor and his all family depending upon him to make it in the world.

And if you are so desperate that you are willing to take your life if you get rusticated then you don’t do TP in the college. And you certainly don’t pee on the director’s front door. I mean one mischief getting out of hand is understandable but you don’t do it knowingly. You should be scared.

And lastly the third guy Farhan. I like him. He is the most realistic of all the characters. The engineer who actually wished to be a wild life photographer. There are a lot like him. People forced into being an engineer or doctor because his dad either could not become one, or maybe his neighbor Kapoor Uncle’s sons became. All and all it doesn’t matter why are you being forced, neither does it matter what you wished to be. You fate is sealed a long time ago.

I can speak because I am one. Ever since I was in the 4th class and lived near Bansal Classes (for the uninitiated – Bansal Classes is the best and toughest IIT entrance coaching in the country) my dad had plans of sending me there. I did not know the difference between Engineer and Engine Driver then probably, but who cares. I was just an above average student with just a few bright sparks here and there. But one day my parents bought me a form. And I was threatened with no TV, no Bike, no phone, no this, no that if I don’t get through. Scared I shut myself in the room for a w eek and only emerged out to eat. I almost topped the exam in my fear. What I did to become an engineer is another story in itself. But two things are true, first I was good at maths thought I hated it, and loved physics, still do. And secondly the reason of becoming an engineer is the same as doing MBA, the lack of a better idea. I still don’t know what I wanna do. I have thought being a DJ, Bartender, Bar Owner, Rock Star, Filmmaker, Automobile Engineer, Automobile Salesman, IT Salesman, Advertising and everything in between. And I am still confused.

But back to the movie. I’m afraid that the movie fails to break any new ground. He could have focused on the actual engineering hostel life, the tragedy of student suicides, the ineffectiveness of grades in the real life or a maybe some other real issue. But he chose to just touch these issues and move on to more frivolous stuff that pleases the crowd.

Hey, but then this is just a Masala movie and I am drunk. Who cares about my review? And Mr Chopra and Mr Hirani are laughing all the way to the bank. For them, Aaal Izz Well.

P.S. - Though it is published in the morning it was written at 11 in the night. As a matter of principle I don't drink in the mornings.


  1. "All izz not well" - Expectations turned down... ur rite....

  2. Oh come on the movie was AWESOMMEEE!! Just like CHandni Chowk to China, it was camp and was meant to have the cliches and stereotypes.. That's what I told my mom, who's not been able to watch a single movie all year because of my reviews/opinions/calling the director and scriptwriter a nincompoop, etc.. LOL..

    Seriously, most over-rated movie of the year.. Just like Deshdrohi was the most under-rated movie last year (it was a laugh riot. It was awesome. If someone says otherwise, screw him/her!)..

    Hirani was capable of much more. Sure, it was funny.. Even in the chamatkaar to balatkar joke (overdone as it may have been), I honestly almost laughed my pants wet.. But lacked the originality of Munnabhai (the one that did not have Vidya Balan). Just above average..

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  4. i agree that the movie was terribly cliched, extremely stereotyped (the bright south-indian bloke with the terrible accent and a competitive streak) not true to the novel and above all very very predictable... but something about it did strike a chord in me... can't really put a finger on what it was, but i think that it managed to capture some of the innocence that we had in the early days...

    what i think the movie was able to portray was what someone said to me a few days back... engineering is not just a degree, its a way of life...

    all is not well, but what the movie was able to convey for me was that all will be well, someday...

  5. @Akhil - I have never been a fan of slapstick / goofy humor. So I didn't like most of it. But still I would say it was an average movie. It did have its strong points. It was a definite what they say a 'Mass Entertainer'.

    But he certainly could have done more

  6. @Shantanu - Though I do admit my own life in engineering was weird and certainly not of a typical engineering student. But still I don't think it portrayed many of those things which we thought was a way of life in engineering days.

    At this point of time I am compelled to ask. What is engineering way of life? Did you know about it when you came to college? Did you even want to become an engineer or just someone who earned well and had respect in society? Would you do the course even you would not get a degree? And why change streams afterward?

    I don't think there is an answer to these questions. May be in a perfect world... But this isn't one of them.

    But then again, to each one his own.


  7. I don't think that there exists such a thing as a typical engineering student...

    That said, even I don't think that the movie was true to life in engineering or even otherwise.

    Yes, it did not portray many of the things that we considered as a way of life in engineering, what many of us still do; even after 2-3 years out of engineering college. But it did portray some of them. Starting right from the ragging to the "friends for life" feeling/experience (probably just those two things that it tried to get right).

    I've been asking myself the same questions, even before you put them in black and white, and there is no answer that you can give to someone, or even yourself.

    What I do appreciate about this is that it is a commendable effort to try and look at things from a non-conformist perspective. Just for that I liked the movie.

    Like you said, to each his own.

  8. I think the strength of the movie was in the narration. Much better than the book.

    Sometimes a film not being true to life is a plus. But please giving birth with a vacuum cleaner was too much for me to digest.

    And I think that it was not true to the book for it's own good.

  9. Yes I agree that any movie being very true to the real life can be quite a drag.

    And being true to the book was also not a prerequisite. I just thought it would be, hence I was disappointed.

    As I have said the movie was surely not bad and did get many things right. But it certainly isn't a Masterpiece.

  10. See this -

    Exactly the kind I wished to take on the movie. If this doesn't convince you, then I don't have anything more to say.

  11. well I also did not like the movie much. Apart from being full of corny bollywood masala stuff, this was probably the first bollywood movie to have a character called Suhas who was portrayed to be a snobbish, price tag crazy foolish guy who gets dumped by Kareena twice in the movie. How mean is that !

  12. @ 2010 - Thank You

    @ Mindpuzzle - Ouch ! That gotta hurt. I am glad Anirudh is not a common name in movies.


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