Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Produced by||Vidhu Vinod Chopra|
|Screenplay by||Abhijat Joshi
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
|Story by||Abhijat Joshi
|Based on||Five Point Someone – What not to do at IIT!
by Chetan Bhagat
|Narrated by||R. Madhavan|
|Music by||Shantanu Moitra|
|Cinematography||C. K. Muraleedharan|
|Editing by||Ranjeet Bahadur
|Distributed by||Vinod Chopra Productions|
|Running time||171 minutes|
|Budget||35 crore (US$6.4 million)|
|Box office||385 crore (US$70 million)|
3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian comedy-drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, with a screenplay by Abhijat Joshi, and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. It was loosely adapted from the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. 3 Idiots stars Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Omi Vaidya, Parikshit Sahni and Boman Irani.
Upon release, the film broke all opening box office records in India. It was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend in India and had the highest opening day collections for a Bollywood film. It also had the record for highest net collections in the first week for a Bollywood film. Within 10 days of its release, the film crossed the 100 crore (US$18 million) mark in India and became the first film of 2009 to do so. The film also created a new box office record for a release in the last quarter of a year (October to December), breaking the previous record set by Ghajini. It is also the highest-grossing film to be released in the second half of the year (July to December), breaking the previous record also held by Ghajini.
3 Idiots has become the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in India, breaking the previous record set by Ghajini which also starred Aamir Khan. It also became one of the few Indian films to become a major success in East Asian markets such as China, eventually bringing its overseas total to US$25 million—the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in overseas markets. It was expected to be the first Indian film to be officially released on YouTube, within 12 weeks of releasing in theatres on 25 March 2010, but finally got officially released on YouTube in May 2012. The film also went on to win many awards, winning six Filmfare Awards including best film and best director, ten Star Screen Awards and sixteen IIFA awards.
The film also uses real inventions by little-known people in India's backyards. The brains behind the innovations were Remya Jose, a student from Kerala, who created the exercise-bicycle/washing-machine; Mohammad Idris, a barber from Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh, who invented a bicycle-powered horse clipper; and Jahangir Painter, a painter from Maharashtra, who made the scooter-powered flour mill. This film was remade in Tamil as Nanban (2012) which also received critical praise and commercial success. It has also been announced that there will be a Chinese remake of the film produced by Stephen Chow and that there are plans for a Hollywood remake produced in the United States.
Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) and Ranchhoddas "Rancho" Shamaldas Chhanchad (Aamir Khan) are three students who share a room in the residence of the fictional Imperial College of Engineering (ICE). Farhan is studying engineering to pursue his father's wishes, over his own passion for wildlife photography. Raju is studying to get his family out of poverty. On the other hand, Rancho studies for his simple passion in machines. Rancho believes that one should follow excellence, not success, as success will take care of itself if excellence is followed.
However, this different approach is sneered upon by the president of the college, Professor Viru "Virus" Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani). Virus's favourite student, Chatur "Silencer" Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya), believes in mindless memorising over understanding in order to reach his goals of corporate status. Raju, who is initially annoyed by Rancho's methods, moves in with Chatur, where he fares worse. In order to save Raju and provide him with an example, he sabotages a speech Chatur has been writing to give on Education Speech Night, where the Minister of Education and the President of the college attend with many students. Chatur, with his lack of knowledge in Hindi, mindlessly memorises the compromised paper and becomes the laughingstock of the night. Highly insulted and driven to vengeance, he swears retaliation and bets that he will become more successful with his methods than Rancho. Meanwhile, Raju's paralysed father goes into a cardiac arrest, and is saved in the nick of time by Rancho and Pia (Kareena Kapoor), Virus' daughter, who is doing residency in the city hospital. This makes Raju genuinely change his mind about Rancho and becomes his bosom friend along with Farhan. Rancho falls in love with Pia, and she reciprocates. Angered, Virus continually attempts to break Rancho's friendship with Farhan and Raju. However, they stick with Rancho always, who continuously comes first in every exam, while they are always last, barely passing, due to Farhan's photography passion, and since Raju is a scared man. Things further escalate four years later when the three friends drunkenly break into Virus's house one night, in order for Rancho to finally profess his love for Pia; unfortunately Virus finds out. The next day, Virus threatens to rusticate Raju unless he pins the drunken incident on Rancho. Not wanting to betray his friend or let down his family, Raju attempts suicide and ends up in a coma. With two months of extensive care from his mother, Rancho, Farhan, and Pia, he makes a full recovery and thus discards his fear of the future, adopting Rancho's outlook. His frankness impresses the corporate agents during a job interview and they hire him. Farhan, goaded by his friends, convinces his parents to allow him to drop out of school and follow his wildlife photographer dream.
Furious, with his dignity and pride ruined as a result of Fahran and Raju getting jobs,Virus schemes to set Raju an impossibly tough final exam, as the job offer is contingent on graduation. Pia learns of this and informs Rancho and Farhan, who break into Virus's office for the exam. However, Raju, with his new-found attitude, refuses to cheat and throws the paper away. However, Virus catches them, beats Rancho with his umbrella, and expels them on the spot. Pia angrily confronts him, revealing that her brother, whom their father had pushed to become an engineer despite his preference for literature, committed suicide after failing ICE's entrance exam three times. After revealing this secret, Pia then flees to her hospital, sobbing. Later that night, Pia's pregnant older sister Mona (Mona Singh) goes into labour. A heavy rainstorm cuts all power and floods the streets, making it impossible for Mona to reach the hospital, or Pia to reach Mona. The students rig up a power supply and other equipment so that, with guidance from Rancho & Pia by webcam, they can deliver the baby. The baby is apparently stillborn, but kicks when the students all chant Rancho's calming mantra "All is well." Thus, the baby is resuscitated. Virus finally reconciles with Rancho and his friends, allowing them to stay for their final exams, and giving Rancho an astronaut pen, a symbol of excellence that he has been keeping for thirty years to give to some exceptional student.
Their story is framed as intermittent flashbacks from the present day, ten years after Chatur vowed that he'd become more successful than Rancho. Chatur, who now boasts of his wealth and his bright career with an American company, is eager to rub it in Rancho's face. Raju and Farhan have tried to find Rancho for five years with no results; with Chatur's help, they travel to the Chhanchad estate in Shimla, where they find a completely different man: the real Ranchhoddas Chhanchad (Jaaved Jaffrey). They coerce the man into revealing the truth: their friend was an orphaned servant boy who loved learning, unlike the man they encountered, the real Rancho. After seeing the boy's intelligence, Rancho's father arranged for the servant boy to go to college and earn a degree in Rancho's name. The real Rancho reveals that their friend is now a schoolteacher in Ladakh.
On the way, the three rescue Pia from an unhappy wedding, over Chatur's objections: he wants to get the trip finished quickly, because he is in a hurry to seal a business deal with Phunsukh Wangdu, a scientist with hundreds of patents. In Ladakh, Raju and Farhan find villagers working with gadgets that show the stamp of Rancho's ingenuity, and learn from their friend MM that Rancho has all of Farhan's photography/research books, reads Raju's engineering blog every day, and kept Pia's helmet. The three friends reunite and Pia and Rancho rekindle their love, while Chatur mocks Rancho – until Rancho reveals his true name: Phunsukh Wangdu. Chatur, mortified, accepts his defeat and pleads with Phunsukh to forgive him and accept his company's contract. Phunsukh, Pia, Farhan and Raju run laughing into the distance as Chatur begs Rancho to sign the contract and save Chatur's job.
- Aamir Khan as Ranchhoddas "Rancho" Shamaldas Chhanchad / Phunsukh Wangdu / Chhote
- Kareena Kapoor as Pia Sahasrabuddhe
- R. Madhavan as Farhan Qureshi / Narrator
- Sharman Joshi as Raju Rastogi
- Boman Irani as Viru "Virus" Sahasrabuddhe
- Omi Vaidya as Chatur "Silencer" Ramalingam
- Rahul Kumar as Manmohan "MM" aka Millimeter / Centimeter
- Mona Singh as Mona Sahasrabuddhe
- Sanjay Lafont as Suhas Tandon
- Parikshit Sahni as Mr. Qureshi
- Farida Dadi as Mrs. Qureshi
- Amardeep Jha as Mrs. Rastogi
- Mukund Bhatt as Mr. Rastogi
- Javed Jaffrey as Ranchhoddas Shamaldas Chhanchad (Cameo)
- Arun Bali as Shamaldas Chhanchad
- Ali Fazal as Joy Lobo
- Akhil Mishra as Mr. Dubey (Librarian)
- Rajeev Ravindranathan as Lead Ragging Senior
- Harvinder Singh as Mr. Dhillon
- Meghna Bhalla as Raju's Wife
- Achyut Potdar as Workshop Class Professor
- Pitobash Tripathy as ICE college student
The shoot of the film with the supporting characters began on 28 July 2008. Hirani and his team left in late August for the shoot with the principal cast. The film was shot in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ladakh, Chail and Shimla. Aamir and rest of the cast began shooting in early September. Hirani planned to wrap up the film by December. The first scene was shot in an aircraft with Madhavan. From Mumbai, the crew and cast comprising Aamir and Kareena went to Ladakh for a 20-day schedule. The shooting also took place at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore for 33 days as a part of the second schedule of production.
Box office 
As of February 2012, 3 Idiots grossed roughly 385 crore (US$70 million). Box Office India declared the film an "All time Blockbuster", and it is one of the films on their list of "Biggest Blockbusters Ever in Hindi Cinema". A success party was organised to celebrate 3 Idiots box office success.
|Territory||Nett collections (After entertainment tax)|
|India||202.57 crore (US$37 million)|
99.2 crore (US$18 million)
67 crore (US$12 million)
|US$6,532,874 (United States)|
|Worldwide||385 crore (US$70 million)|
It broke all box office records upon release. In its four-day first weekend, the film netted 38 crore (US$7.0 million), and broke the record held by Ghajini for the first weekend collections. By the first week, the film netted 79 crore (US$14 million), again breaking the box office record held by Ghajini. 3 Idiots had nett grossed 56 crore (US$10 million) in its 2nd week,30.25 crore (US$5.5 million) during the third week,16 crore (US$2.9 million) in its fourth week and 9.75 crore (US$1.8 million) in fifth to make a total of 191 crore (US$35 million) in five weeks.
3 Idiots is the highest-grossing Bollywood film in overseas markets with record overseas gross of US$ 25 million. 3 Idiots first weekend opening collection in overseas was $4 million. It set record collections for Indian-produced films in territories such as United States, Australia, Fiji, and some African territories. In the United States, the film earned $6.5 million since its opening, in addition to over $2.5 million in the United Kingdom, over $2 million in Canada, nearly $1 million in Australia, and over $3 million in South Korea. 3 Idiots has the biggest first week total in US with around $3 million over its first four days.
Unusual for an Indian film, 3 Idiots has become a major success in East Asian markets. The film had the longest showing period at cinemas in Taiwan, for more than two months from December 2010, breaking the record of Avatar, with over TWD $10 million grossed. The film was the first aired Indian film in Hong Kong, where it grossed HKD $22 million since its showing from 1 September 2011, as of January 2012, and the equivalent of over US $3 million as of 4 March 2012. In China, where it is known as San Geshagua ("Three Idiots"), the film grossed $1.15 million in four days in December 2011, eventually crossing the $2 million mark within 18 days, and nearly $3 million within a month, as of 5 January 2012. Alongside the original Hindi version, a Chinese-dubbed version was also released, with the popular actress Tang Wei (best known for Lust, Caution) voicing Kareena Kapoor's role. One reason for its success in East Asian markets such as China and Hong Kong is because of their similar education systems, thus many students were able to identify with the characters, with some Chinese universities "even prescribing the film in their coursework as a kind of stress-relief in their classrooms." Following its success in other Asian markets, Japanese distributor Nikkatsu has announced plans to release the film in Japan.
Critical reception 
Unlike the original novel, 3 Idiots received highly positive reviews upon its release. Subhash K. Jha (film critic and author of The Essential Guide to Bollywood) states: "It's not that 3 Idiots is a flawless work of art. But it is a vital, inspiring and life-revising work of contemporary art with some heart imbued into every part. In a country where students are driven to suicide by their impossible curriculum, 3 Idiots provides hope. Maybe cinema can't save lives. But cinema, sure as hell, can make you feel life is worth living. 3 Idiots does just that, and much more. The director takes the definition of entertainment into directions of social comment without assuming that he knows best." Nikhat Kazmi of the Times of India gave it four and a half stars and suggests that, "The film is a laugh riot, despite being high on fundas [...] Hirani carries forward his simplistic `humanism alone works' philosophy of the Lage Raho Munna Bhai series in 3 Idiots too, making it a warm and vivacious signature tune to 2009. The second half of the film does falter in parts, specially the child birth sequence, but it doesn't take long for the film to jump back on track." Mayank Shekhar of the Hindustan Times gave the film three and a half out of five stars and comments that "this is the sort of movie you’ll take home with a smile and a song on your lips." Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave 3 Idiots four and a half out of five stars and states: "On the whole, 3 Idiots easily ranks amongst Aamir, Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's finest films. Do yourself and your family a favour: Watch 3 Idiots. It's emotional, it's entertaining, it's enlightening. The film has tremendous youth appeal and feel-good factor to work in a big way."  Kaveree Bamzai of India Today gave 3 Idiots five stars and argues that "it's a lovely story, of a man from nowhere who wanted to learn, told like a fairy tale, with the secret heart carrying its coded message of setting all of us free."
Other critics gave the film a mixed review. Sonia Chopra of Sify gave the film 3 stars and said "Though a bit too calculated and designed, 3 Idiots is still an ok option for the significant message, interesting cast and scattered breezy moments." Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave the film three out of five stars and states: "Going home after watching 3 Idiots I felt like I'd just been to my favorite restaurant only to be a tad under-whelmed by their signature dish. It was a satisfying meal, don't get me wrong, but not the best meal I'd been expecting."  Shubhra Gupta from The Indian Express also gave it 3 stars, stating "‘3 Idiots’ does not do as much for me. The emotional truth that shone through both the ‘Munnabhai’ movies doesn’t come through strongly enough." Raja Sen of Rediff gave the film two out of five stars and states: "Rajkumar Hirani's one of the directors of the decade, a man with immense talent and a knack for storytelling. On his debut, he hit a hundred. With his second, he hit a triple century. This time, he fishes outside the offstump, tries to play shots borrowed from other batters, and hits and misses to provide a patchy, 32*-type innings. It's okay, boss, *chalta hai*. Even Sachin has an off day, and we still have great hope."
The film has also been highly acclaimed overseas. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 100% "fresh" critics' rating based on five reviews as well as an audience rating of 92% based on nearly 20,000 votes. Derek Elley of Variety wrote that "3 Idiots takes a while to lay out its game plan but pays off emotionally in its second half." Robert Abele of Los Angeles Times wrote that there's an "unavoidable joie de vivre (symbolized by Rancho's meditative mantra "All is well") and a performance charm that make this one of the more naturally gregarious Bollywood imports." Louis Proyect described it as a "fabulous achievement across the board. A typical Bollywood confection but also social commentary on a dysfunctional engineering school system that pressures huge numbers of students into suicide." The Korean site Naver gave the film a review rating of 9.4 out of 10. On the Chinese site Douban, 3 Idiots currently holds an average audience rating of 9.1 out of 10 based on nearly 250,000 votes.
|Soundtrack album by Shantanu Moitra|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|1||"Aal Izz Well"||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire||4:36|
|2||"Zoobi Doobi"||Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal||4:08|
|3||"Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh"||Shaan, Shantanu Moitra||5:01|
|4||"Give Me Some Sunshine"||Suraj Jagan, Sharman Joshi||4:07|
|5||"Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe"||Sonu Nigam||3:32|
|6||"Aal Izz Well (Remix)"||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire||4:41|
|7||"Zoobi Doobi (Remix)"||Sonu Nigam, Jaive Samson, Shreya Ghoshal||3:29|
- Chetan gave me this book to read and I wanted to make a film on it. But I knew right from the start that I could not make a film completely on the book, as it was very anecdotal and a film needs a plot. So I had decided to rewrite it in a screenplay format. You'll see that the film is very different from the book. After I wrote the script, I called Chetan and narrated it to him. I told him that if he did not like the script, I would stop the project. But he was okay with it.
The day after the film opened, Chetan also noted:
- Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on '5 Point Someone'. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times. But it was just not possible for me to be involved at every stage of the screenplay writing process since I was in Hong Kong at that time, working full time and busy writing other books. Moreover, Abhijat is based in USA, Raju was in the US for quite a while working on the screenplay but it was not practical for me to do that [...] The film retains the soul of the book. 3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself. And that's why the makers have officially credited the film as 'Based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat.'
A controversy developed a few days after the release, however, over the fact that Chetan's credit, "Based on the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat" appeared in the closing credits rather than in the opening ones. At that time, Bhagat stated that he "was expecting an opening credit and I was quite surprised on not seeing it. They had bought the rights, made the payment and committed to a credit in the contract. It’s there, but it’s not about it being there, it’s about the placement and the prominence." In a 31 December 2009 blog post on his personal website, Bhagat stated that he was told the movie was only 2–5% based on the book, but when he saw it, he felt that it was 70% of the book. He also argued that he was misled by the makers of the film, though he noted, that "this has nothing to do with Mr. Aamir Khan [...] I am a big fan of Aamir and he has made my story reach people. However, he was told by the makers not to read the book, and he hasn’t. Thus, he cannot comment on the issue in a meaningful manner."
A few people responded to Chetan's statements. According to the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), during a press conference with reporters producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra "clarified that in the agreement between the producer and Bhagat, it was clearly mentioned that the author’s name would be put in the closing credits." IANS also reported that Chopra "lost his cool" and "asked a reporter to shut up after being questioned whether his hit 3 Idiots was lifted from author Chetan Bhagat’s book Five Point Someone." Chopra later apologised, stating: "I really think I’m silly. I was provoked, but I shouldn’t have done this. I saw myself on TV and saw how I was shouting ‘shut up, shut up’ like an animal. I told myself — ‘what nonsensical behaviour’." Aamir Khan also responded to these claims. Rajkumar Hirani stated that "We have officially bought the rights for the film. We drew a contract with him and it clearly mentions about the position of his credit. With open eyes he had seen the contract, consulted his lawyer and signed the agreement [...] In the contract, we have said that the title would be given in the rolling credits. We haven't changed the font size. We haven't increased the speed of the title. It's exactly there where it was agreed to be." Chetan Bhagat later apologised stating, "I definitely do not have anything against team 3 Idiots. I may have some issues on the mistake they may have made but nothing about their personality or the kind of people they are. I apologise to their families if there was any distress caused to them. I also want to thank all my fans, who stood by me but I don't want them to turn against anyone especially Aamir."
Following the success of 3 Idiots in East Asian markets such as China and Hong Kong, the producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra has announced that Hong Kong film star Stephen Chow (known for comedy films such as Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle) will be producing a Chinese remake of the film. Chopra also announced that there are plans for a Hollywood remake, and is in talks with three different American studios interested in remaking the film. Chopra also stated that there is an Italian film studio also interested in remaking the film.
See also 
- List of highest-grossing Bollywood films
- List of Bollywood highest-grossing films in overseas markets
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- Official website
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- 3 Idiots at Box Office Mojo
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- 3 Idiots at the TCM Movie Database
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