Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Produced by||Vidhu Vinod Chopra|
|Screenplay by||Abhijat Joshi|
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
|Story by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Based on||Five Point Someone by |
|Music by||Shantanu Moitra|
|Cinematography||C. K. Muraleedharan|
|Edited by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Distributed by||Reliance BIG Pictures|
|Budget||₹ 55 crore|
|Box office||est. ₹ 460 crore|
3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian Hindi-language coming-of-age comedy-drama film co-written (with Abhijat Joshi) and directed by Rajkumar Hirani. Starring Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani and Omi Vaidya, the film follows the friendship of three students at an Indian engineering college and is a satire about the social pressures under an Indian education system. The film is narrated through parallel dramas, one in the present and the other ten years in the past. It also incorporated real Indian inventions, namely those created by Remya Jose, Mohammad Idris, Jahangir Painter and Sonam Wangchuk.
Produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra under the banner Vinod Chopra Films, 3 Idiots received widespread critical and commercial success upon its release on 25 December 2009. The film was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend in India, had the highest opening day collections for an Indian film up until that point and also held the record for the highest net collections in the first week for a Bollywood film. It also became one of the few Indian films at the time to become successful in East Asian markets such as China and Japan, eventually bringing its worldwide gross to ₹392 crore ($90 million)[a] — it was the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time. The film also had a social impact on attitudes to education in India.
The film won six Filmfare Awards including Best Film and three National Film Awards including Best Popular Film. Overseas, it won the Grand Prize at Japan's Videoyasan Awards while was nominated for Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film at the Japan Academy Awards and Best Foreign Film at China's Beijing International Film Festival. This film was remade in Tamil as Nanban (2012), which also received critical praise and commercial success. Nanban had a Telugu dubbed version titled Snehitudu. A Mexican remake, 3 idiotas, was also released in 2017.
In the year 1999, Farhan Qureshi and Raju Rastogi begin their college year in the prestigious Imperial College of Engineering (ICE) in Delhi. They are joined by Ranchoddas Chanchad, nicknamed "Rancho", as their roommate. They meet Manmohan a.k.a. "Millimetre", an adolescent boy helping the students . He is persuaded by Rancho to sneak into school and get educated. While Farhan chose to pursue engineering over his passion for photography to appease his father, Raju has taken the course in an attempt to end his family's poverty and is always afraid of failing. Rancho, on the other hand, is genuinely passionate in science and engineering. He believes in hands-on learning and tends to give unorthodox answers in class, resulting in him coming into conflict with the professors, particularly the institution's director, Viru Sahastrabuddhe, whom the ICE community nicknames "Virus". Virus's traditional and strict philosophies on education contrast sharply with Rancho's carefree love of learning. Meanwhile, Chatur, nicknamed "Silencer" (because of his nature of silently farting), is an arrogant student with little knowledge of Hindi due to his Ugandan-Tamilian upbringing, who is obsessed with topping the exams and invariably learns by rote.
Sometime later, the trio finds that a student named Joy Lobo, whose interest in machines was as much as Rancho, committed suicide by hanging himself, which was caused by depression after Virus informs Joy's father that Joy would be unable to graduate that year due to a delay in his submission of an assignment. Joy had taken longer as he wanted to perfect his breakthrough drone design of a quad-copter, and also due to a break on account of his father's brief illness. Rancho criticises Virus' method of teaching and tries to show him how much pressure engineers face when they study, angering him further. Rancho visits his friends' families, and later, the trio then gatecrashes the wedding of Virus' elder daughter, Mona to eat good food. They meet and befriend Pia, who turns out to be Virus' younger daughter and a resident student at the city's hospital. Rancho advises Pia not to marry her fiancée Suhas Tandon because he's madly obsessed with expensive jewellery, brands, and prices and has no true love for her. Rancho gives Pia a demo on Suhas' attitude by spilling mint sauce on his shoes to annoy him. When Virus spots the trio, he summons Farhan and Raju on the next working day and tells them of the consequences of being friends with Rancho by comparing their families' incomes. He tells them that Rancho comes from a very rich family and does not need to worry about getting good grades and making a career. Affected, Raju moves out and into Chatur's room. During the Teachers Day celebration, Chatur is humiliated when he delivers a Hindi speech modified by Rancho and as a result, he bets Rancho that ten years later, they would see who is more successful. Sometime later, Pia is at the mall with Suhas and spots Rancho with an invention named after Virus; The Virus Inverter. Rancho explains to Pia that he dislikes the way her father teaches his students and that they end up lame like Suhas. Rancho plays a prank on Suhas, pretending that Pia lost her watch, to prove that Suhas shows more value to expensive stuff rather than her. Fed up with Suhas' behaviour, she tells him off. Rancho and Pia save Raju's dying father; Raju reconciles with his friends while Pia falls in love with Rancho.
One night during their senior year, Farhan and Raju are upset that they are trailing behind in their grades every year and that Rancho is always in the front of every school picture. Farhan exposes Rancho of not telling Pia that he is in love with her and hasn't told her for the past four years. The three friends drunkenly break into the Sahastrabuddhe residence so that Rancho can propose to Pia. As the trio escape, Virus recognises Raju and, on the next day, threatens to expel him unless he writes a letter recommending Rancho for expulsion. Unwilling to betray Rancho or disappoint his family, Raju unsuccessfully attempts suicide and ends up in a coma. With intensive care and support from his friends, Raju recovers just in time for his first job interview on the campus, which he succeeds in cracking. Meanwhile, Rancho and Pia post Farhan's letter to his favourite Hungarian wildlife photographer Andre Istvan, who offers him a position as an assistant. On Rancho's advice, he communicates his dream to his father, who though reluctant at first, gives his blessings for the sake of his son's happiness.
Infuriated by this and Rancho's influence, Virus sets a difficult final exam paper to fail Raju, wherein Pia tries to help the trio by revealing to them the location of the exam paper in her father's office; unfortunately, Virus finds out and expels them. Pia confronts Virus about her brother who had committed suicide because he couldn't meet Virus' expectation of clearing the engineering exam. That same night, the pregnant Mona goes into labour during a heavy storm that cuts off all traffic and electricity in the city. Rancho and the other students help them by using their engineering knowledge to quickly modify a vacuum cleaner into a ventouse and deliver the baby with the help of Pia over a video call. A grateful Virus finally acknowledges Rancho as an extraordinary student and revokes their expulsion. On graduation day, Rancho suddenly disappears shortly after the ceremony ends.
Ten years later, in 2009, Farhan is a successful wildlife photographer, while Raju is married and settled with his family in a comfortable lifestyle with a corporate job and Chatur is married and the vice-president of a reputable corporation in the United States wanting to crack a business deal with a world renowned scientist and businessman with 400 patents to his name, Phunsukh Wangdu for whom he has been asking an appointment for over 1 year ; none among the three of them have heard from Rancho since graduation. Reuniting at the ICE campus, after Chatur reminds them about the bet,they travel to Shimla, where Rancho was spotted in the background of a snapshot taken by Chatur's secretary, Tracy, who was trying to get an appointment with Wangdu. Chatur then went through the Shimla directory and found the address of Rancho. Upon arrival, they meet a man who turns out to be the real Ranchoddas Chanchad (Javed Jaffrey) at his father's funeral and the photos of the Rancho they knew replaced with the real one. From him, Farhan and Raju learn that the Rancho they knew was actually "Chhote", the smart son of the gardener who was a servant to the Chanchad family who would sneak into school wearing Ranchoddas' old uniform and help Ranchoddas with his schoolwork until he was found out by a teacher who told Ranchoddas' father.Ranchoddas' father then arranged for Chhote to attend ICE in his son's name so that Ranchoddas could take credit for the degree while he was in London for 4 years . He also told Chhote to cut off all contact with his ICE friends after graduating but Chhote was sure that Farhan and Raju would come looking for him. Ranchoddas provides Chhote's address in Ladakh, where he is a schoolteacher. On the way, they pass Manali where against Chatur's wishes, they rescue and prevent Pia from marrying Suhas, who is now a changed man but reverts to his old ways when Raju, disguised as the housekeeping man, puts mint sauce on his wedding jacket, making Raju run away from the wedding in his attire.
Upon arrival in Ladakh, the four head to the village school and witness the young students' inventions that resemble Chhote's college projects. They are reunited with the adult educated Manmohan, now going by the nickname "Centimetre" who has now become a helper for Chhote after receiving a letter from him to help him. He tells them that Chhote never forgot about them, stealing and keeping Pia's scooter helmet as a memento, reading Farhan's photography books and Raju's blog. He then tells them where to find Chhote. The four happily reunite with Chhote to which Pia and Chhote smooch, while Chatur, unaware of Chhote's secret thinking he is Rancho, insults and asks Chhote to sign a contract stating that he is the least successful person; Chhote does so without commenting. As Chatur walks away triumphantly, Chhote reveals himself to be Wangdu, to his friends' and Pia's surprise and delight. Realizing this, a horrified Chatur accepts his defeat and pleads him to sign his contract while Wangdu and his friends run away laughing. In the end, Wangdu tells everyone his theory: "Follow excellence and success will by itself follow you".
- Aamir Khan as Ranchoddas "Rancho" Shamaldas Chanchad / Chhote / Phunsukh Wangdu, one of the titular trio in the engineering college who vanishes after graduation and whom his two friends hunt for 10 years, while telling stories of their time in college together. Rancho, as a student, was conspicuously ingenious and angry at the inhumanity of the college's system. At the end of the film, he is shown to be a famous scientist, entrepreneur and business magnate who also teaches young children when he takes a break from researching.
- Madhavan as Farhan Qureshi, the film's narrator and one of the trio whose father persuades him to study engineering over his dream career of wildlife photography; in the end he is shown to have published several books of photographs.
- Sharman Joshi as Raju Rastogi, another of the trio who comes from an impoverished family with a mother who is a retired school teacher and a paralysed father who worked as a postman. In the flashback story, his family was unable to afford the car that would be demanded as a dowry for his sister. In the present story, he is a settled married man in Delhi who has freed his family from poverty by becoming a wealthy executive.
- Kareena Kapoor as Piya Sahastrabuddhe, Virus' younger daughter, an intelligent and capable doctor. Despite her father's disapproval, she and Rancho fall in love.
- Boman Irani as Dr. Viru Sahastrabuddhe, the college's strict director known as "Virus" and Pia and Mona's father who acts as the film's antagonist. He stubbornly sticks to a doctrinal method of teaching, putting him at odds with Rancho. At the end, he is shown to have changed his doctrinal methods of teaching.
- Omi Vaidya as Chatur Ramalingam, a Ugandan-Indian educated in Tamil-speaking Pondicherry who has little knowledge of Hindi. His habit of being gassy due to consumption of pills to enhance his memorisation earns him the nickname Silencer. In the present story, he is vice-president of an American company (Rockledge Corporation) who discovers his success being overshadowed by Rancho in the end of the film. Baradwaj Rangan wrote that Chatur being a Tamil from Uganda makes him "twice removed from the North Indians around him – a stranger to the nation as well as the national language."
- Rahul Kumar as young Manmohan (nicknamed Millimetre), and Dushyant Wagh as adult Manmohan (Centimetre). As an adolescent, he earns a small living by doing errands for students, such as laundry, finishing assignments and getting groceries. Rancho persuades him to buy a school uniform and sneak into school to gain an education. Later he becomes an assistant to Rancho/Phunsukh Wangdu in Ladakh.
- Mona Singh as Mona Sahastrabuddhe, Pia's elder sister and Virus's first daughter.
- Parikshit Sahni as Mr Qureshi, Farhan's father, a strict but loving parent who just wants his son to be happy.
- Farida Dadi as Mrs. Qureshi, Farhan's mother, a loving and caring parent.
- Amardeep Jha as Mrs. Rastogi, Raju's mother, a retired schoolteacher and dedicated mother.
- Mukund Bhatt as Mr. Rastogi, Raju's paralysed father who used to work as a postman.
- Rajendra Patwardhan as Govind, Viru's personal assistant.
- Javed Jaffrey as the real Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad. It is from him that Raju and Farhan learn the truth: Chanchad's father sponsored an orphaned servant boy called 'Chhote', who had demonstrated his intelligence and love of learning, to earn a degree in his name, while the real Ranchoddas was in London. He appreciates what Chhote did for him, and tells Raju and Farhan where to find him.
- Arun Bali as Shamaldas Chanchad, father of Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad.
- Ali Fazal as Joy Lobo, a student with a passion for machines. After Virus tells him that he will not graduate, he commits suicide.
- Akhil Mishra as Librarian Dubey
- Rohitash Gaud as Ranchoddas' (Real Ranchodas) servant
- Achyut Potdar as Machine Class Professor
- Madhav Vaze as Joy Lobo's father.
- Olivier Sanjay Lafont as Suhas Tandon, Piya's ex-fiancé, who cares only about money and ostentation.
- Jayant Kripalani as a company head who conducts Raju's job interview.
- Atul Tiwari as R.D. Tripathi, Minister in Auditorium during Silencer's speech
- Rajeev Ravindranathan as ragging senior student
Principal photography 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 the 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 dormitory scenes were filmed at the institution's female dormitory block.
The brains behind these innovations include Remya Jose, a student from Kerala, who created the pedal operated washing-machine; Mohammad Idris, a barber from Hasanpur Kalan in 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. The character Phunsuk Wangdu may have also drawn inspiration from Ladakhi inventor Sonam Wangchuk.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Shantanu Moitra chronology|
|1.||"Aal Izz Well"||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire||4:34|
|2.||"Zoobi Doobi"||Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal||4:06|
|3.||"Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh"||Shantanu Moitra||4:59|
|4.||"Give Me Some Sunshine"||Suraj Jagan, Sharman Joshi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan||4:05|
|5.||"Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe"||Sonu Nigam||3:30|
|6.||"Zoobi Doobi" (Remix)||Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal||3:27|
|7.||"Aal Izz Well" (Remix)||Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire, Jaive Samsun||4:41|
The film initially opened up on 1550 prints worldwide. 3 Idiots was released in 1800 theatres in India, which was at that time a big domestic release. 3 Idiots was released in 415 screens overseas.
It was expected to be the first Indian film to be officially released on YouTube on 25 March 2010, only 12 weeks after its initial theatrical release. Officially, it was released on YouTube in May 2012, but its access has since been restricted.
The film released in Taiwan on December 2010, followed by Hong Kong on 1 September 2011. In China, it was released as San Geshagua ("Three Idiots"), in December 2011. In South Korea, it was released in 2011. Alongside the original Hindi version, a Mandarin Chinese dubbed version was also released, with the popular actress Tang Wei (known for Lust, Caution) voicing Kareena Kapoor's role and Huang Bo voicing Aamir Khan's role (Khan and Bo later collaborated again on Secret Superstar).
Following its success in other Asian markets, Japanese distributor Nikkatsu announced plans to release the film in Japan. It was released there in June 2013, with the title きっと、うまくいく (Kitto, Umaku Iku).
The film's worldwide lifetime gross was ₹459.96 crore (US$90 million),[a] making it the highest-grossing Indian film at the time. The film was listed in Guinness World Records for the record of highest box office film gross for a Bollywood film.
The film created the highest collection record for paid previews with ₹27.5 million that time, which was broken by Chennai Express (2013). In its four-day first weekend, the film netted ₹38 crore (equivalent to ₹71 crore or US$10 million in 2018), and broke the record held by Ghajini for the first weekend collections. By the first week, the film netted ₹79 crore (equivalent to ₹149 crore or US$21 million in 2018), again breaking the box office record held by Ghajini. 3 Idiots had nett grossed ₹56 crore (equivalent to ₹105 crore or US$15 million in 2018) in its 2nd week, ₹302.5 million (US$4.2 million) during the third week, ₹16 crore (equivalent to ₹30 crore or US$4.2 million in 2018) in its fourth week and ₹9.75 crore (equivalent to ₹18 crore or US$2.6 million in 2018) in fifth to make a total of ₹ 202 crore in five weeks, first Indian film ever to collect this huge amount, hence established the ₹200 crore (US$28 million) Club. Its final domestic gross in India was ₹ 273.82 crore (US$57.05 million).[a]
3 Idiots became the then highest-grossing Indian film in overseas markets, with an overseas gross of US$30.5 million (₹ 186 crore).[a] Its first weekend opening collection overseas was $4 million. It set record collections for Indian-produced films in territories such as the United States and Australia. 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, and nearly $1 million in Australia. 3 Idiots has the biggest first week total in the US with around $3 million over its first four days.
Unusual for an Indian film at the time, 3 Idiots became a success in East Asian markets. 3 Idiots had a wide release in East Asian markets including China, South Korea and Hong Kong. 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 NT$10 million (US$629,024) grossed. 3 Idiots was the first aired Indian film in Hong Kong, where it grossed HK$22 million at the box office since its showing from 1 September 2011 through January 2012, the equivalent of US$3.02 million. It was the 14th highest-grossing film of 2011 at the Hong Kong box office.
In South Korea, where it was released in 2011, the film grossed ₩3,416,415,900 (US$3,084,647). The film was number-one at the South Korean box office for five weeks, drawing an audience of 459,686 viewers.
In China, where it is known as San Geshagua ("Three Idiots"), the film grossed ₹11 crore in 2 weeks in December 2011, eventually crossing the $2 million mark within 18 days, and nearly $3 million within a month, as of 5 January 2012.
Upon its release in the Japanese market in June 2013, it went on to collect around ¥100 million (₹ 61 million) in its first two weeks of run – that makes the film the highest grossing Hindi film ever in Japan. Its final gross in Japan was ¥150 million (US$1.6 million). The film's final gross in East Asian markets was US$11,333,671 (₹69.2 crore).
Subhash K. Jha stated: "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". Nikhat Kazmi of the 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."
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 received praise overseas. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rare 100% "Fresh" critics' rating based on 13 reviews, with an average score of 7.44 out of 10. 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 film was praised by critics in East Asia and Southeast Asia. South China Morning Post wrote that the film "wraps a heavy message in light comedy. It is satire at its best, a powerful indictment of India's education system in which students cram for exams while stifling their dreams." Chaerim Oh of KAIST Herald wrote that "the film never harshly denounces the educational system but instead uncovers disturbing truths and unseen consequences of tremendous pressure upon students" and that "if you don't end up crying like I did (or won't admit that you did), you'll still enjoy the movie." In Japan, Yuri Wakabayashi of Eiga also gave the film a positive review.
In 2013, renowned Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg praised 3 Idiots, which he had seen three times and said he "loved the emotional undertones." He listed it as one of five films that he connects with, along with The Godfather (1972) and his own work on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Jaws (1975).
|Territories and ancillary revenues||Price|
|Satellite rights with a TV channel [Sony]||₹22 crore (US$3.1 million)|
|Worldwide distribution rights||₹65 crore (US$9.1 million)|
|Music rights (T~Series)||₹12 crore (US$1.7 million)|
|Total||₹99 crore (US$14 million)|
- The figures don't include the Print and Advertising (P&A) costs.
The film won 58 accolades from Indian film awards; among these are six Filmfare Awards including Best Film and Best Director, three National Film Awards including Best Popular Film, ten Star Screen Awards, seventeen IIFA Awards, five GIMA Awards, two Apsara Awards and seven Bollywood Hungama Surfers Choice Movie Awards.
In China, it was nominated for the Best Foreign Film prize at the first Beijing International Film Festival in 2011. In Japan, it was nominated in the Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film category at the 37th Japan Academy Awards in 2014; the award was eventually won by Les Miserables. In addition, 3 Idiots won the Grand Prize at the 4th Videoyasan Awards, held by a Japanese organisation of home video retailers in 2014; 3 Idiots was selected as 2013's best video release, beating thousands of films, anime and television shows, including domestic Japanese and foreign Hollywood productions.
- 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) 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."
In an article published in Economic and Political Weekly, Latika Gupta mentions that the film has serious problems when seen from the gender perspective, in particular that it follows the trend set by the 2007 film Jab We Met in its use of women's sexual vulnerability to create sensation and humor. In one scene, students, professors and the chief guest are seen bursting with laughter hearing a speech where the word balatkar (rape) figures 21 times and the word stan (breast) four times (in the English subtitles for international release, the words "screwed" and "bosom" are used instead).
When 3 Idiots made its television debut in July 2010, it drew an audience of 39 million viewers in India.
When 3 Idiots released in China, the country was only the 15th largest film market, partly due to China's widespread pirate DVD distribution at the time. However, it was the pirate market that introduced 3 Idiots to most Chinese audiences, becoming a cult hit in the country. Aamir Khan gained a large growing Chinese fanbase as a result. By 2013, China grew to become the world's second largest film market (after the United States), paving the way for Aamir Khan's Chinese box office success, with Dhoom 3 (2013), PK (2014), Dangal (2016) and Secret Superstar (2017).
3 Idiots has been ranked China's 12th favourite film of all time according to ratings on popular Chinese film review site Douban, with only one domestic Chinese film (Farewell My Concubine) ranked higher. The film holds an average rating of 9.2 out of 10 on Douban, with over 1.15 million votes. On the Korean site Naver, audiences gave the film an average rating of 9.4 out of 10, and it is one of the top 30 highest-rated films on the site.
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. Chaerim Oh of KAIST Herald wrote that the "popularity of the movie, particularly in South Korea, can be traced back to the national background of the overly competitive education system. In Korea, students of all ages - from young elementary children to university graduate students - are trained to study under overwhelming pressure and extremely high academic standards. In short, this movie is, really, our own story."
The film had a social impact on attitudes to education in Asia, including education in India as well as other Asian countries. Chinese universities were "even prescribing the film in their coursework as a kind of stress-relief in their classrooms."
Big in Bollywood
When asked about plans of a 3 Idiots sequel in an interview with Hindustan Times, screenwriter Abhijat Joshi replied, saying, "Honestly, I don't know. We have an idea for the 3 Idiots sequel, a Munna Bhai part three, and also for a PK sequel; but the PK and Munna Bhai sequels interest me the most. So, I think the 3 Idiots sequel may happen in the future, but these two I really want to work on."
In January 2016, director Rajkumar Hirani and actor Aamir Khan confirmed that they were considering a 3 Idiots sequel. Khan told reporters, ""Raju Hirani has given me a hint about '3 Idiots' sequel and I am giving you all a hint. The film will happen if and whenever he will write the script." Hirani agreed, saying "this is one film that I really want to do."
In June 2018, Hirani was asked a question while promoting his upcoming film Sanju and he was quoted as saying, "I definitely want to make a sequel to 3 Idiots, but it’s still in the initial stage and we will take a fair amount of time to develop the script".
- List of highest-grossing Bollywood films
- List of Bollywood highest-grossing films in overseas markets
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