Wednesday, March 31, 2010

5 Point Idiots!

We saw the movie 3 idiots several months back because of high recommendations from friends. It was entertaining as most hindi movies are with the extra touch that comes with Aamir Khan movies. Then of course, the controversy of "Is the movie same as the book" and "Why was Chetan Bhagat's name not in the initial credits" flared up. So, curious, I finally bought a legal copy of the book Five point someone. (so that Bhagat also gets his share from me, in the name of fairness).

Having experienced both movie and book in my "unbiased" way, here is my take on the controversy.

The movie is most certainly based on the characters and plot created in the book. But I dont agree it is an adaptation of the book. The characters and plot have been twisted and molded significantly to suit the audience for a Hindi Movie. Chetan Bhagat in his blog on the controversy states that movie people claimed it was only 3-5% from the book while some movie critics said it was more like 70%. I put it at about 20%.

I felt the movie script writers moved away from the plot fairly quickly and even the characters (Ryan => Rancho, Hari => Farhan) are very different while only Alok => Raju was fairly close. Most other characters in the movie were also different and it had new ones like the servant kid, Joy Lobo the brilliant practical student who commits suicide, profs 1st daughter Mona. The book had Prof Veera who was given a miss in the movie. New situations were made up in the movie like the chase to find the disappeared Rancho, Mona's delivery, Joy Lobo and his un-manned helicopter, Rancho becoming a brilliant topper, wedding surprise with Pia, etc. The book had some good spots that were dropped in the movie: the complete canteen/ice-cream parlor college ambience, research project with Prof Veera, C2D Co-operate to Dominate, Hari's slow developing romance with Neha, etc.

The book: It is a typical Chetan Bhagat style of writing. Simple, corny in spots yet engaging enough to finish it quickly. I liked several spots where I felt it elevated itself a bit like Hari's dream of Cherians Graduation speech, the situation where Hari gets caught with Cherians shirt. Overall, the book is more down to earth and depicted the college rat race and lifestyle better than the movie.

Movie: The script writers did what they had to do to make the story sell on the big screen. They mangled it and added more corny (read unrealistic) situations to make it a masala movie. Rancho character is too much to digest but makes a good hero, I suppose. Ending is typical movie style.

I feel both movie and book were superficial and were written to attract the average viewer or reader. Sad, because the story had a lot more potential to be a serious work along the lines of Hollywood movies "Dead Poets Society" or "Good will hunting".

As for the controversy, Chetan deserved better recognition for the original story and plot on which the movie is based. I think he got it anyway even though it was not in the form of movie credits. However, the movie is not an adaptation of the book by any stretch of the imagination. So, rest easy. You both deserve accolades.

Unanswered question: Was the very public spat a shrewd move by both parties to sell their products?


Madhura said...

Fully agree with you. Bhagath deserved better recognition

Winsant surat said...

Chetan got even better recognition after the controversy.