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Thursday, March 8, 2012

“Three Idiots” – Movie Review

Lisa Huang

The word “idiot” was originally used to describe people who are mentally retarded, but nowadays, it just describes someone who is rather stupid. “Three Idiots” is an Indian movie about three students who are considered, for different reasons, to be “not too bright.”

Official poster and stills from

“Three Idiots” is set in a modern Indian technical college. In India, to study in a good college is very important, and almost everyone thinks the only way to succeed is to study hard, get good grades at school, and get a good job. Parents have high expectations of their children’s performance at school, and they want their sons to be engineers and their daughters to be doctors. This kind of expectations sometimes forces students to study subjects they are not interested in.

There are four characters in this movie. First is Rancho. Rancho is very smart, and he is interested in engineering. He has his own way of thinking, but he is brave enough to challenge the teachers, the principle and even the education system. He always breaks the rules, but he still succeeds.  The second character is Chatur. He is a model student who the teachers like a lot. He always follows the rules and does everything the teachers ask him to do; he also becomes successful after he graduates from the college. The third character is Farhan QureshI. He is one of Rancho’s good friends.  Farhan is interested in taking pictures of wild animals, but because his parents want him to study engineering, he goes to the college of engineering. The last character is Raju. He is interested in (and really good at) engineering, but he has too many worries, such as making money to pay for his sister’s wedding and taking care of his sick father, so he can’t focus on his studies.  Because he has so many worries, he doesn’t do well at school.

Although “Three Idiots” is a comedy which makes us laugh a lot, it is also about the serious problems in real life. One of the problems is the education system, which doesn’t allow or encourage students to form or express their own opinions. There is an example, at the beginning of the movie, where a professor asks the students, “What is the definition of a machine?” Rancho uses a simple way to define a machine, but that is not the answer that the professor wants to hear, so the professor thinks that Rancho is an idiot. On the other hand, Chatur gives a “perfect” answer by reciting the definition from the textbook. This kind of thing also happens in our daily lives. But is it true that the more a person memorizes the more he understands?

Another problem that “Three Idiots” explores is social expectations. In the movie, engineers and doctors are models of success.  However, people are different; all people have their abilities and interests, and it is not appropriate to ask everyone to walk the same path.

“Three Idiots” is a great movie. It gives us the chance to see the Indian education system and society clearly. Although the movie is set in India, the same problems exist in many countries around the world, especially in Asia. Not only does this movie make us laugh a lot, but also forces us to think about the real problems in our society. For an entertaining – and thoughtful – evening, you won’t want to miss “Three Idiots”!

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