So I watched 3 Idiots, and it was ..um...how shall I put this? 'Terrible' sounds like it would fit, but 'saddening' sounds closer to what I'm feeling.
An IIT-graduate is the Indian Elvis-cum-pornstar. I know that. I grew up in Tamil Nadu, for Christ's sake. I was interested in this movie because I thought the story had a fertile premise; three young men make it to an institution that everyone and their brother wants to go to. They all have their issues and they deal with them. Eventually they learn that happiness is when you do what you enjoy. And of course, there is an endearingly awkward romance alongside the main story. I thought it would make for a good movie, because of all the above, and also, um, because of the inexplicable crush I have on Sharman Joshi. Ahem.
But it wasn't a good movie. It wasn't even an indifferent movie. It was a ridiculously bad movie, and a large part of the problem was the shallow characterisation.
I mean, who was that shifty-eyed guy with the permanently guilty expression of a four year old caught with its fist in a jam jar? I've never seen a seventeen year old with that expression, and it annoyed me because it was clearly meant to be 'cute'. I am not a fan of 'cute', especially when the allegedly 'cute' person is employing said 'cuteness' to come off as childlike and endearingly naughty. I also intensely dislike it when the whole deal has the 'Look at me! Aren't I cutely childlike and cutely naughty? Aren't I just so irresistibly cute?' vibe about it.
Along with being cute, Aamir also multitasks as a saint. He has no flaw. Not one. He never gets angry, impatient, tired or frustrated, would risk his career for his friends, who, incidentally, he neither ever fights with nor grows impatient with, and is basically a ray of freaking sunshine. He eats rainbows and shits butterflies. He divides all of his time between being -
3. a genius, and;
Which brings us to another itchy spot; isn't it enough being a genius these days? Or is there a group of critics somewhere complaining that they're tired of plain ol' geniuses, and that geniuses who are also saints are the new in-things?
My point is, Mahatma Gandhi wasn't a playback singer, a gymnast, an Olympic gold-medallist and a mathematician alongside being a political activist. He was just a political activist. And he was a genius. And that should be enough for us, unless we plan to convert the IIT-JEE into a qualifying paper for the priesthood. Which we haven't, so there's no need to be this creepily saintly.
As for the preachiness, my God, seriously. It's almost as though the moviemakers are telling us, "See, here is the point!Have you got the point?" And then they pick up the point and hit us on the head with it multiple times, just to make sure we've got the bloody point. What happened to subtlety in filmmaking? Perhaps more importantly, what is this precious point?
Who knows? It's there somewhere, suffocated under all the rubbish that was put in to, I don't know, accessorise it? But seriously, why disguise the perfectly simple and interesting point of the movie with a stormy-night-childbirth, a runaway bride, Ladakh, Shimla, 400 patents, an identity-swap and Javed Jaffrey's father's ashes in a toilet bowl? Why was there so. much. clutter?!
Th clutter really really annoyed me.
But what annoyed me even more than all of the above multiplied by 100000, was fellow movie-goers admitting that perhaps the central character was ridiculously saintly, the principal cartoonishly evil, and movie clumsily made, but it was a brilliant movie nevertheless because it had a message.
Now the above statement is so very WTF that it is difficult to immediately respond to it.
The message - howsoever goodhearted - of a movie, can never excuse bad execution. Especially when the message is nothing original; that is not to say that all good messages are original. I firmly believe that the education system in India requires some serious reconsideration.
However that is not the message in this movie. The only message in this movie is that you could die from peeing on a spoon. (Corollary - Spoons are potentially evil.)
And that, my friends, is simply not good enough.
Badly played, gentlemen.