Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Produced by||Vidhu Vinod Chopra|
|Screenplay by||Abhijat Joshi
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
|Story by||Chetan Bhagat|
|Narrated by||R. Madhavan|
|Music by||Original Songs:
|Cinematography||C. K. Muraleedharan|
|Edited by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Distributed by||Reliance BIG Pictures|
|Budget||₹55 crore ($9 million)|
|Box office||est. ₹459.96 crore ($88 million)[a]|
3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian coming-of-age comedy-drama film, directed and written by Rajkumar Hirani, and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, with screenplay by Abhijat Joshi, inspired by the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. The film stars Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi in the title roles, along with Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani and Omi Vaidya. The film is about the friendship of three students at an Indian engineering college, and is a satire about the social pressures under an Asian education system. It also incorporated real Indian inventions, from Remya Jose, Mohammad Idris, Jahangir Painter, and Sonam Wangchuk.
The film received critical acclaim and commercial success. Upon release, 3 Idiots was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend in India and 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 ₹459.96 crore ($88 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 as well as other Asian countries such as China.
The film won six Filmfare Awards including Best Film, and three National Film Awards including Best Popular Film. It also received a Japanese Academy Award nomination for Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film, and won the Grand Prize at Japan's Videoyasan Awards. The subtitled version of the film became popular in South Asia, East Asia (Greater China, South Korea and Japan), Southeast Asia (such as Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines), and the United States. 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.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Soundtrack
- 5 Release
- 6 Critical reception
- 7 Pre-release business
- 8 Box office
- 9 Awards
- 10 Controversies
- 11 Remakes
- 12 Legacy
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi), and Ranchoddas "Rancho" Chanchad (Aamir Khan) are students and roommates at the prestigious Imperial College of Engineering (ICE). This movie addresses two major issues in the society: one is the issues associated with the present day Education system particularly in Engineering colleges and another one is the parent's expectations and demands towards their children on pursuing "Engineering" for their social status.
Rancho believes in practical education system and tends to give unorthodox answers in class, Rancho comes into conflict with the institution's director, Dr. Viru "Virus" Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani), whose traditional and strict philosophies on education contrast sharply with Rancho's carefree love of learning. Viru often tries to break the relationship of the three friends, but is unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Chatur Ramalingam, an arrogant Ugandan-born Tamil student, is highly obsessed with standing first in the exams and either reads a lot, or distracts students before exams to stand first. Rancho decides to teach him a lesson, and ultimately makes him embarrass himself on teachers day. Humiliated, Chatur holds a bet with Rancho that ten years later, they would see who is more successful.
One night during their senior year, the three friends drunkenly break into the Sahastrabuddhe household to allow Rancho to profess his love to Pia. After discovering their antics, Viru threatens to expel Raju unless he writes a letter implicating Rancho in the break-in. Unwilling to betray Rancho or disappoint his family, Raju unsuccessfully attempts suicide. With intensive care and support from his friends, Raju recovers in time for a corporate job interview. Meanwhile, Rancho and Pia post Farhan's letter to his favorite photographer, Andre Istvan, who offers him a position as assistant. Farhan still fears his father's rejection, but after advice from Rancho, he communicates his dream to his father, who gives his acceptance.
Infuriated by Rancho's influence on Raju, Viru intentionally decides to set a difficult final exam to fail Raju. Pia gives Viru's spare office keys to Rancho to enable him to get the exam papers, but Viru discovers the trio and expels them. However, when Viru's pregnant elder daughter Mona (Mona Singh) goes into labor during a heavy storm that cuts off all power and traffic, and Rancho uses his engineering knowledge to deliver the baby with the help of Pia, a grateful Viru finally acknowledges Rancho as an extraordinary student, allowing the three to graduate. Unexpectedly, Rancho disappears shortly after the convocation.
Ten years later, Farhan is a successful wildlife photographer, Raju is settled in a comfortable lifestyle with a corporate job and wife, and Chatur is vice president of a reputed corporation in the United States. None of them have heard from Rancho since graduation. Farhan is boarding a flight, when he suddenly receives a call from Chatur claiming that he has found Rancho. In order to exit the plane, Farhan causes an emergency landing by faking a heart attack. On the way to the campus, he picks up Raju and meets Chatur at the ICE campus only to find that Rancho is not there. Chatur reveals that Rancho is in Shimla.
Arriving at Shimla, they meet a man who turns out to be the real Ranchoddas Chanchad (Javed Jaffrey). From him, they learn that the Rancho they knew was actually "Chhote", an orphaned servant to the Chanchad family. After Chhote demonstrated high intelligence, Ranchodas' father arranged for Chhote to attend ICE in his son's name, so that his son could take credit for the degree. Ranchoddas provides Chhote's address in Ladakh, where he is a school teacher. On the way, in Manali, they also rescue Pia from marrying her price-obssesed boyfriend Suhas, so that she can marry Rancho.
Upon arrival in Ladakh, the four find the village school, witnessing young students' inventions that resemble Rancho's own college projects. Raju, Farhan, and Pia then happily reunite with Rancho. Assuming Rancho to be a mere school teacher, Chatur insults Rancho, and asks him to sign a statement that he is the less successful one. Without comment, Rancho does so.
As Chatur walks away in triumph, "Rancho" reveals himself to be Phunsukh Wangdu, a world-renowned inventor with over 400 patents, with whom Chatur seeks a contract. A horrified Chatur accepts his defeat and begs him to sign the contract while Pia and the three friends run laughing.
- Aamir Khan as Ranchoddas "Rancho" Shamaldas Chanchad / Chhote / Phunsukh Wangdu, one of the title group of three friends in the engineering college. He went missing after graduation and after 10 years his two friends traveled across India looking for him, while telling stories of their time in engineering college together. Rancho, as a student, was conspicuously ingenious and angry at the inhumanity of the school 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.
- Shoaib Ahmed as young Chhote
- R. Madhavan as Farhan Qureshi, the film's narrator and a friend of Rancho and Raju. His father wanted him to be an engineer, but his dream career is wildlife photography; in the end he is shown to have published several books of photographs.
- Sharman Joshi as Raju Rastogi. He comes from an impoverished family with a mother who is a retired school teacher and a paralyzed father who had been a postman. In the flashback story, his family is poor so they can't 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 Pia 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 (nicknamed Virus), college's strict director. He is also Pia's father, and the film's antagonist. He stubbornly sticks to a doctrinal method of teaching, putting him at odds with Rancho.
- Omi Vaidya as Chatur Ramalingam, a Ugandan-Indian educated in Tamil-speaking Pondicherry who has little knowledge of Hindi. He is nicknamed Silencer because the pills he takes, to enhance his ability to memorise passages from textbooks, make him gassy. In the present story, he is vice-president of an American company who only discovers his success being overshadowed by Rancho in the end of the film.
- Rahul Kumar as young Manmohan (nicknamed Millimetre), and Dushyant Wagh as adult Manmohan. As an adolescent, he earns a small living by doing errands for students, such as ironing their clothes, 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.
- Javed Jaffrey as the real Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad. Raju and Farhan go to his home and learn the truth: that 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 does appreciate 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' servant
- Achyut Potdar as Machine Class Professor
- Madhav Vaze as Joy Lobo's father.
- Olivier Sanjay Lafont as Suhas Tandon, Pia'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 Minister in Auditorium
- 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 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 is distinctive for featuring real inventions by little-known people in India's backyards. 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 Shantanu Moitra|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|1.||"Aal Izz Well"||4:34|
|3.||"Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh"||
|4.||"Give Me Some Sunshine"||
|5.||"Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe"||Sonu Nigam||3:30|
|6.||"Zoobi Doobi" (remix)||
|7.||"Aal Izz Well" (remix)||
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.
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. Following its success in other Asian markets, Japanese distributor Nikkatsu announced plans to release the film in Japan; it released in Japan in June 2013.
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 entertainmentioioiuiuuii 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."
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 100% "fresh" critics' rating based on eleven reviews. 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 "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 the Philippines, Sha Nachino praised the film's social commentary on themes such as friendship, success, and education, noting how Rancho questions the education system and the grading system, and said the film is "beautifully crafted, with some exciting twists".
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$3.4 million)|
|Worldwide distribution rights||₹65 crore (US$10 million)|
|Music rights (T~Series)||₹12 crore (US$1.9 million)|
|Total||₹99 crore (US$15 million)|
- The figures don't include the Print and Advertising (P&A) costs.
The film's worldwide lifetime gross was ₹459.96 crore (US$88 million),[a] making it the highest-grossing Indian film ever 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 broke all box office records upon release. It 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 ₹67 crore or US$10 million in 2016), and broke the record held by Ghajini for the first weekend collections. By the first week, the film netted ₹79 crore (equivalent to ₹139 crore or US$22 million in 2016), again breaking the box office record held by Ghajini. 3 Idiots had nett grossed ₹56 crore (equivalent to ₹99 crore or US$15 million in 2016) in its 2nd week, ₹302.5 million (US$4.7 million) during the third week, ₹16 crore (equivalent to ₹28 crore or US$4.4 million in 2016) in its fourth week and ₹9.75 crore (equivalent to ₹17 crore or US$2.7 million in 2016) 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$31 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. 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 at the box office since its showing from 1 September 2011 through January 2012, the equivalent of over US$3 million as of 4 March 2012. It was the 14th highest-grossing film of 2011 at the Hong Kong box office. The film also grossed over US$3 million in South Korea, where it was released in 2011. The film was number one at the South Korean box office for five weeks, drawing over 400,000 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. 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. 3 Idiots added US$7 million from a wide release in Far Eastern markets like South Korea, China, Hong Kong, etc.
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) and especially Dangal (2016).
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 US$1.6 million.
The film won 52 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, sixteen IIFA Awards, five GIMA Awards, two Apsara Awards and seven Bollywood Hungama Surfers Choice Movie Awards.
In Japan, it was nominated in the Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film category at the 37th Japanese 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), 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."
Latika Gupta in an article published in the weekly journal Economic and Political Weekly 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 their use of women's sexual vulnerability to create sensation and humor. In a scene of the movie, 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 China, it has been ranked the country'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 9.1 out of 10 on Douban, with over 700,000 votes. On the Korean site Naver, the most popular web portal in South Korea, 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."
- List of highest-grossing Bollywood films
- List of Bollywood highest-grossing films in overseas markets
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