This Christmas we had another Aamir Khan movie uplift the benchmarks for revenues generated by a movie to stratospheric heights. The immense success of this movie- 3 idiots, has not only left vidhu vinod chopra(producer), raj Kumar hirani(director) and Amir khan laughing their way to banks but also won them the much aspired critical acclaim. This movie has specially been popular among the youth and the songs “aall is well” and “give me some sunshine” have acquired the cult status of campus anthems. But let us see what this movie directly or indirectly surmises.
There is little doubt to the fact that three idiots is an amazing movie. But it is an “amazing movie”-full stop! Nothing more than that… you’ll get the worth of your money- go buy the ticket, spend two and a half enjoyable hours at the theater, laugh your posterior off and come back. For this movie I might suggest a statement from our campus lingo “dil pe lene ki zaroorat nahi hai”.
If you give it a proper thought, you’ll be able to see that the two biggest sins committed by this movie are- its tendency of stereotyping and its polar nature. Though different in nature, both the sins are interrelated.
The movie stereotypes the higher education system in India and pushes it to a pole where it is totally rubbish- there may be a lot of truth in that but it is not completely true. Indian economy has been one of the fastest growing economies in the last decade- no nation can sustain that growth rate of its economy with a completely hopeless system of higher education, there has to be something good in it. True, our education system doesn’t have a lot of room for originality of thought and creativity but it’s not as though it has none of it!! The fact that I am a part of this education system and still thinking on my free will to write this article is itself a proof enough that there is still a lot of room for creativity too- without descending to the level of being a complete academic disaster. And apart from all of this, one good thing about the Indian education system that u can’t deny is that it instills a good work ethic among the students. It makes the students understand that there is no shortcut to success and the only way to attain and retain excellence is hard work- whatever may be type of excellence u desire.
The movie is culprit of stereotyping the teachers as fanatic, heartless and impractical bunch of jokers through just one character- professor Viru S. What it fails to remind is that such caricatures may be one in a thousand. Any average teacher may be anything but he certainly does not have any iota of resemblance with the character of Viru S. Ask any educated Indian- he/she will tell u about at least one (if not four- five) teacher who, at some stage of his education motivated him and would be a source of inspiration for rest of his/her life. This proves we do have a substantial amount of good teachers. Yes, this substantial amount might not be enough, we may need many, and many more of such teachers but this fact doesn’t make every teacher a Viru Sahastrabuddhi. The glass is also half full my friend.
The polar nature of the movie is depicted by its characters:
Rancho- incredibly talented person who doesn’t study even a little and is topper.
Chatur- Cramming expert crams everything and everything in front of him and is second topper.
Raju- doesn’t study even a little, second last person of batch according to grades.
Farhaan- again doesn’t study and is last person of batch according to grades.
It says nothing about the average people. The people who are moderately talented put in a sufficient amount of hard work and get average grades. These people make majority and hence it is these people who run our economy.
The movie tries to establish that you should be naturally gifted in any field in order to pursue a career in it or study it. You should not study engineering unless you are as gifted as the character Rancho. In case you are not as gifted as rancho- go about doing things like wild life photography. This sends wrong message- wild life photography is not some sweet hobby which does not require hard work. No one is a born wild life photographer, though one may be extra ordinary talented in wild life photography but even he has to get a proper education in the subject in which you have to put an equal amount of hard work in order to make a good career. So it again boils down to that tedious routine of classes, exams, results, projects doesn’t it?
Some might say the underlying message of the movie is “everybody has his strengths” and pursue your strength. But everybody also has his standards. What if my personal strength is academics but because I am not as gifted as some Rancho of my class is and I can’t top. What should I do- commit suicide as a character, fed up of his principal does in the movie? The phrase “I Quit” from that particular suicide scene in the movie seems to have become quite fashionable these days- I saw it in the orkut display image of one of my juniors and in orkut tagline of another ones. It leaves me wondering are we so feeble, unmotivated and inspirationally bankrupt lot that we quit on life just because we don’t have the life going our way?
Similar to 3 idiots, a Marathi movie titled “shikshanaaka Aicha Gho” has been made and if you ask a Marathi speaking person for the meaning of the title, he’ll tell u that it literally means “shiksha ki maa ka” (screw the education system)!! Do we want the future of our country in hands of people who hate education?? Do we want our next generation to have this notion that our education system completely trash and deserves to be screwed?
I don’t claim that our education system is perfect. It sure is in need of urgent reforms to relieve the pressure and strain and help develop more multidimensional personalities. But then we have to be the change that we want to see; only complaining is not going to help. Why can’t we work out solutions for the shortcomings of our education system.
Also we have to aware that any change in the education system can’t be carried out overnight. Our HRD minister Mr. Kapil Sibal has carried out educational reforms for class 10 board exam- these reforms are indeed very visionary in nature and similar(or even more extensive) reforms might be needed at the intermediate and higher levels. The media might be much more constructive if it suggested some reforms. No change in the education system is going take place overnight it will come in its due course.
Criticism is welcome but it should be constructive. What these movies do is instill a thinking into children that anything that causes ‘stress’ is evil- it should either be attacked or not even be attempted.
This incredible popularity of the movie in campuses across the country depicts only one thing that the youth of our nation is in no mood to study. If we keep hyping the movies like 3 idiots as we are doing now- we might soon become intellectually bankrupt. The tales of India being a global giant in outsourcing IT services might become only a glorified part of Indian history. Let’s not let that happen!!