||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2013)|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Produced by||Vidhu Vinod Chopra|
|Written by||Abhijat Joshi
|Screenplay by||Abhijat Joshi
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
|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$5.4 million)|
|Box office||392 crore (US$60 million)|
3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian coming-of-age 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. The film stars Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Omi Vaidya, Parikshit Sahni and Boman Irani. 3 Idiots went on to become the highest-grossing Bollywood film and was surpassed only in 2013 by Chennai Express.
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 held the record for highest net collections in the first week for a Bollywood film. 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 Rancchoddas "Rancho" Shyamaldas Chanchad (Aamir Khan) are three engineering students who share a room in a hostel at the Imperial College of Engineering, one of the best colleges in India. While Farhan and Raju are average students from modest backgrounds, Rancho is from a rich family. Farhan wants to become a wildlife photographer, but has joined engineering college to fulfil his father's wish. Raju on the other hand wants to uplift his family fortunes. Rancho is a wealthy genius who studies for the sheer joy of it. However, Rancho's passion is for knowledge and taking apart and building machines rather than the conventional obsession of the other students with exam ranks. With his different approach Rancho incurs the wrath of dean of college, Professor Viru Sahastrabudhhe aka ViruS (Boman Irani). Rancho irritates his lecturers by giving creative and unorthodox answers, and confronts ViruS after fellow student Joy Lobo hangs himself in his dormitory room. Rancho denounces the rat race, dog-eat-dog, mindless rote learning mentality of the institution, blaming it for Lobo's death.
Threatened by Rancho's talent and free spirit, ViruS labels him an "idiot" and attempts on a number of occasions to destroy his friendship with Farhan and Raju, warning them and their parents to steer clear of Rancho. In contrast, ViruS model student is Chatur Ramalingam or "Silencer", (Omi Vaidya) who sees a high rank at the prestigious college as his ticket to higher social status, corporate power, and therefore wealth. Chatur conforms to the expectations of the system. Rancho humiliates Chatur, who is awarded the honor of making a speech at an award ceremony, by substituting obscenities into the text, which has been written by the librarian. As expected, Chatur mindlessly memorises the speech, without noticing that anything is amiss, partly aided by his lack of knowledge on Hindi. His speech becomes the laughing stock of the audience, infuriating the authorities in the process.
Meanwhile, Rancho also falls in love with ViruS' medical student daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor) when he, Raju and Farhan crash her sister's wedding banquet in order to get a free meal, in the process further infuriating ViruS.
The three students continue to anger ViruS, although Rancho keeps coming first in every exam, while Chatur is always second, and Farhan and Raju are inevitably in the last two positions. The tensions come to a head when the three friends, who are already drunk, break into ViruS's house at night to allow Rancho to propose to Pia, and then urinate on a door inside the compound before running away when ViruS senses intruders. The next day, ViruS threatens to expel Raju lest he talks on the other two. Unable to choose between betraying his friend or letting down his family, Raju jumps out of the 3rd floor window and lands on a courtyard, but after extensive care from Pia and his roommates, awakes from a coma.
The experience has changed Farhan and Raju, and they adopt Rancho's outlook. Farhan decides to pursue his love of photography, while Raju takes an unexpected approach for an interview for a corporate job. He attends in plaster and a wheelchair and gives a series of non-conformal and frank answers. However, ViruS is unsympathetic and vows to make the final exam as hard as possible so that Raju is unable to graduate. Pia hears him and angrily confronts him, and when ViruS gives the same ruthless reply he gives to his students, Pia reveals that Viru's son and her brother was not killed in an accident but committed suicide in front of a train and left a letter because ViruS had forced him to pursue a career in engineering over his love for literature; ViruS always mentioned that he unsympathetically failed his son on the ICE entrance exams over and over to every new intake of ICE students. After this, Pia walks out on the family home, and takes ViruS' spare keys with her. She tells Rancho of the exam, and he and Farhan break into ViruS's office and steal the questions and give it to Raju, who with his new-found attitude, is unconcerned with the prospect of failing, and refuses to cheat. However, ViruS catches the trio and expels them on the spot. However, they earn a reprieve when Viru's pregnant elder daughter Mona (Mona Singh) goes into labour at the same time. A heavy storm cuts all power and traffic, and Pia is still in self-imposed exile, so she instructs Rancho to deliver the baby in the college common room via Voice over IP, after Rancho restores power using car batteries and a power inverter that Rancho had made up and ViruS had mocked. He then delivers the baby with the help of a cobbled-together Vacuum extractor.
After the baby is apparently stillborn, Rancho resuscitates it. ViruS reconciles with Rancho and his friends and allows them to take their final exams and they graduate. Rancho comes first and is awarded ViruS's pen, which the professor had been keeping for decades before finding a brilliant enough student to gift it to.
Their story is framed as intermittent flashbacks from the present day, ten years after Chatur vowed revenge on Rancho for embarrassing him at the speech night and promised to become more successful than Rancho a decade later. Having lost contact with Rancho, who disappeared during the graduation party and went into seclusion, Raju and Farhan begin a journey to find him. They are joined by Chatur, now a wealthy and successful businessman, who joins them, confident that he has surpassed Rancho. Chatur is also looking to seal a deal with a famous scientist and prospective business associate named Phunsukh Wangdu. Chatur sees Wangdu, who has hundreds of patents, as his ticket to further social prestige. When they find Rancho's house, they walk into his father's funeral, and find a completely different Rancho (Jaaved Jaffrey). After accusing the new man of stealing their friend's identity, the host pulls a gun on them, but Farhan and Raju turn the tables by seizing his father's ashes and threatening to flush them down a toilet. The householder capitulates and says that their friend was a destitute servant boy who loved learning, while he, the real Rancho, was a lazy wealthy child who disliked study, so the family agreed to let the servant boy study in Rancho's place instead of labouring. In return, the real Rancho would pocket the qualifications and the benefits thereof, while the impersonator would sever all contact with the world and start a new life. The real Rancho reveals that their friend is now a schoolteacher in Ladakh.
Raju and Farhan then find Pia, and take her from her wedding to Suhas, by performing the same tricks with his material possessions, and having Raju turn up to the ceremony disguised as the groom and eloping with Pia in public. When they arrive in Ladakh, they see a group of enthusiastic children who are motivated by love of knowledge. Pia and the fake Rancho rekindle their love, while Chatur mocks and abuses him the schoolteacher before walking away. When his friends ask what his real name is, he reveals it is Phunsukh Wangdu and phones Chatur, who has turned his back, to turn around and meet his prospective business partner. Chatur is horrified and falls to his knees, accepts his defeat and continues to plead his case with Phunsukh to establish the business relationship he was after.
- Aamir Khan as Ranchoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad/Chhote/Phunsukh Wangdu – One of a group of three friends in the university. He went missing after graduation and his two friends traveled across India looking for him. Rancho, as a student, was intelligent and had brilliant methods to be successful and content in life. He fought against the wrong system of teaching and was often punished for this. Also he was in a romantic relationship with Pia. At the end of the film, he is shown to become a famous scientist and prospective business associate.
- Kareena Kapoor as Pia Sahasrabuddhe – Viru "Virus" Sahasrabuddhe's youngest daughter who pursues being a doctor and Rancho's (Phunsukh Wangdu) love interest. She was engaged to another person but gets attracted to Aamir Khan's character in the film.
- R. Madhavan as Farhan Qureshi – the film's narrator and a friend of Rancho and Raju. His father wants him to be an engineer despite his love for wildlife photography. Towards the climax, it is shown that he convinces his parents about his love for photography and embarks on the journey for the passion of wildlife photography with the help of his friends.
- Sharman Joshi as Raju Rastogi – the third member in the gang comprising Farhan and Rancho. In his college days, he came from an impoverished family with a mother who's a retired school teacher and a paralyzed father who was a postman. His sister is unmarried in the film during his college days. In the present day, he is shown to be a settled married man in Delhi.
- Boman Irani as Dr. Viru Sahasrabuddhe – better known as "Virus", he serves as the strict college director and Pia's father. He is the film's "antagonist". He went on to another level of acting in altering his dialogue delivery and thereby bringing a crude strictness to his character. His character focuses on a person who is highly competitive and challenging in nature and he has done complete justice to the role. towards the end he is shown to be a changed man in terms of his teaching ideologies.
- Omi Vaidya as Chatur Ramalingam – better known as "Silencer". Omi plays a nerdy character born in Uganda and completed his schooling in Pondicherry. He believes in mindless memorizing and also sneers Rancho's ideas just like Virus. It is heavily implied that he was called Silencer because he popped "bengali baba's" pills and farts, blaming the output on others, plus cramming on exams by handling out pornographic magazines to the fellow students in order for him to rise his grades. After being insulted due to his speech, he swears retaliation and vows to be more successful. In the present part of the film, he is shown to be a very successful person holding the vice president position of a company. He mocks Rancho into signing a declaration defeat only to learn that Rancho is actually his client, Phunsukh Wangdu and later accepts the fact that Rancho is more successful than him. Vaidya was chosen by Hirani for the role mainly because of his dialogue memorization and his typical slang.
- Rahul Kumar as Man Mohan – Better known as "Millimeter" or "MM". He is a young man who does chores in the college such as helping students by ironing their clothes, finish assignments, in return for money. In the present day, he works as a faculty member in Rancho/Chhote/Phunsukh Wangdu's school in Ladakh.
- Mona Singh as Mona Sahasrabuddhe – Pia's elder sister and Virus's elder daughter. She has a supportive role in the movie.
- Sanjay Lafont as Suhas Tandon – a minor character who is Pia's ex-fiance.
- Parikshit Sahni as Mr. Qureshi – Farhan's father, a strict but loving parent who just wants his son to be settled in life.
- Amardeep Jha as Mrs. Rastogi – Raju's mother, who is a retired schoolteacher and tireless complainer.
- Javed Jaffrey as the real Ranchhodas Shyamaldas Chanchad – a person met by Raju, Farhan, and Chatur during the Shymaldas Chanchad funeral service. His character is shown to be a corrupt person right from childhood, taking benefits from 'Chhote' in his homework and his exams. His father sends him to London and sends 'Chhote' to ICE to gain an engineering degree in his name.
- Arun Bali as Shamaldas Chhanchad – father of Ranchhoddas Shamaldas Chhanchad. He notices the servant boy's intelligence and arranged for him to get to college.
- Dushyant Wagh as Centimeter/Elder Man Mohan – the present day Millimeter who works as Rancho's/Phunsukh Wangdu's assistant in Ladakh
- Ali Fazal as Joy Lobo – the student who has similar passion for machines like Rancho. After Virus tells him that he would not graduate, he commits suicide.
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. Filming of the ICE college scenes took place at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore campus for 33 days as a part of the second schedule of production.
The film initially opened up on 2000 prints worldwide.3 Idiots was released in 1800 theaters in India, which was at that time a big domestic release. 3 Idiots was released in 415 screens overseas.3 idiots was released in 2,215 theaters worldwide
As of February 2012, 3 Idiots grossed roughly 392 crore (US$60 million) worldwide. 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".
|Territory||Nett collections (After entertainment tax)|
|India||202.57 crore (US$31 million)|
99.2 crore (US$15 million)
67 crore (US$10 million)
|US$6,532,874 (United States)|
|Worldwide||392 crore (US$60 million)|
It broke all box office records upon release. 3 Idiots created highest collection record of paid previews with Rs 2.75 crore that time, which was broken by Chennai Express (2013). In its four-day first weekend, the film netted 38 crore (US$5.8 million), and broke the record held by Ghajini for the first weekend collections. By the first week, the film netted 79 crore (US$12 million), again breaking the box office record held by Ghajini. 3 Idiots had nett grossed 56 crore (US$8.6 million) in its 2nd week,30.25 crore (US$4.6 million) during the third week, 16 crore (US$2.4 million) in its fourth week and 9.75 crore (US$1.5 million) in fifth to make a total of 191 crore (US$29 million) in five weeks.
3 Idiots is the highest-grossing Bollywood film in overseas markets with record overseas gross of US$ 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. Upon its release in Japanese markets in June 2013, it went on to collect around ¥100 million(6.1 crores) in its first two weeks of run – That makes the film the highest grossing Hindi film ever in Japan.
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.
3 Idiots is also the most popular Bollywood Movie in the three Social Networks of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter 
|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.
- List of highest-grossing Bollywood films
- List of Bollywood highest-grossing films in overseas markets
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