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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|
|Cinematography||C. K. Muraleedharan|
|Edited by||Rajkumar Hirani|
|Distributed by||Reliance BIG Pictures|
|Box office||est. ₹392 crore|
3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian coming of age comedy-drama film co-written, edited, and directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Abhijat Joshi wrote the screenplay. It was inspired by 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.
Upon release, the film 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. It 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 to become successful in East Asian markets such as China, eventually bringing its overseas total to more than US$65 million at the time—the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in overseas markets, before being overtaken by Chennai Express in 2013. Over the years, it has attained the cult status.
The film is distinctive for featuring 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 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 subtitled version of the film grew popular in South Asia, especially China, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.
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. A Telugu remake was planned despite Nanban having a Telugu dubbed version titled Snehitudu. 3 idiotas a Mexican remake will be released in 2017.
Farhan Qureshi(R Madhavan) and Raju Rastogi(Sharman Joshi) are students at the prestigious Imperial College of Engineering (ICE). Farhan's passion is wildlife photography, but he pursues an engineering degree to appease his father. Raju chooses engineering with hopes of improving his family's financial situation, but his lack of self-confidence results in poor grades. Their third roommate and friend, Ranchodas "Rancho" Chanchad (Aamir Khan), has an immense interest in engineering, and invents in his spare time. After giving unorthodox answers in class, Rancho faces scrutiny from the college's director, Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani), known as "Virus", whose traditional philosophies on education and learning contrast sharply with Rancho's atypical ideas of teaching. Virus is shown to be extremely strict — a trait that indirectly caused his own son's suicide after putting him under excessive pressure.
Rancho eventually falls in love with Pia (Kareena Kapoor), Virus' younger daughter, who is a medical student in residency at the city's hospital. Rancho always scores the highest marks on exams out of his class, much to the dismay of both Virus and Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya), an arrogant student who believes in rote learning, and dislikes Rancho, Farhan, and Raju. One night, Rancho, Farhan, and Raju drunkenly break into the Sahastrabuddhe household to allow Rancho to profess his love to Pia. After discovering their antics, Virus threatens to expel Raju unless he writes a letter blaming Rancho for the break-in. Unwilling to betray Rancho or disappoint his family, Raju unsuccessfully attempts suicide, and ends up in a coma. After intensive care and support from his friends, Raju recovers just before he successfully interviews for a corporate job. Before this Rancho and Pia post Farhan's letter to his favorite photographer. Farhan gets a positive response but fears his father. Rancho then convinces him to go confront his father and his father reluctantly agrees to it. All this while Virus gets frustrated at Rancho's influence on Raju and Farhan, and he conspires to deliberately modify the final exams and make it so difficult so that none of them can graduate. However, Pia gives Virus' office duplicate keys to Rancho to enable him to get the exam papers. But Virus finds them and expels Rancho. The trio, however, earn a reprieve when Virus' pregnant elder daughter Mona (Mona Singh) goes into labour at the same time a heavy storm cuts off all power and traffic. Despite this, Rancho uses his engineering knowledge to deliver the baby in the college common room. A grateful Virus finally acknowledges Rancho as an extraordinary student, and allows the three to graduate. Rancho then unexpectedly disappears shortly after the ceremony. None of them have heard from Rancho since graduation.
10 years later, Farhan is a successful wildlife photographer, Raju is doing corporate job and settled in a comfortable lifestyle with his wife and Chatur Ramalingam is a vice president of a corporation in the USA. In present day Farhan is boarding for a flight. Suddenly he gets a call from Chatur telling him that he found Rancho. Farhan lands the flight by acting that he is dead. On the way to the campus he takes Raju and reaches the campus only to find Chatur but no Rancho. But Chatur reveals that Rancho is in Shimla. So, the three of them go to Shimla. But at Shimla they discover that the Rancho they knew was actually "Chhote", an orphaned servant to the Chanchad family household in Shimla. When the real Ranchodas (Javed Jaffrey) went to London for four years, his father allowed the servant to fill his son's place - including using his son's full name - and take credits for the degree. Ranchodas gives address and informs that Chhote currently lives in Ladakh, where he is a school teacher. On the way, the three rescue Pia from her arranged wedding with Suhas Tandon (Olivier Sanjay Lafont) at Manali so that Pia could marry "Rancho". Upon arrival in Ladakh, the four find the village school where they see young students' inventions resembling Rancho's own college projects. Raju, Farhan, and Pia then happily reunite with Rancho on a sandbar, where Rancho and Pia kiss. Assuming Rancho to just be a school teacher, Chatur forces him to concede that he is less successful than Chatur. Shortly after, Rancho reveals that he became a scientist (while also teaching young children when he's not researching), and that his real name is Phunsukh Wangdu. Much to Chatur's horror, this also happens to be the name of an important inventor that Chatur had spent a year trying to find and sign a business deal with.
- 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 intelligent and had a brilliant personal philosophy. He rallied against unjust systems of teaching. At the end of the film, he is shown to be a famous scientist and also teaching young children when he's not 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 despite his lack of interest in the career. Instead, he becomes an accomplished wildlife photographer.
- 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 – Viru "Virus" Sahastrabuddhe's younger daughter, an intelligent and capable doctor. Rancho is her love interest, and she breaks off her engagement to another to be with Rancho.
- Boman Irani as Dr Viru Sahastrabuddhe – better known as "Virus", he is the strict college director. He is also Pia's father, and the film's "antagonist". By the end of the movie, he has changed his doctrinal method of teaching.
- Omi Vaidya as Chatur Ramalingam – better known as "Silencer". a Tamil who is the enemy of Rancho, Farhan, and Raju who also has a mere inability to speak Hindi due to two factors; being born in Uganda and having completed basic education in Pondicherry.[clarification needed] He believes in mindless memorisation. and sneers at Rancho's distinctive ideas, as does Virus. In the present story, he is vice-president of a company.
- Rahul Kumar as Manmohan – Better known as "Millimeter" or "MM", a young man who earns a small living in the college such as helping students by ironing their clothes, finishing assignments, and getting groceries; Rancho persuades him to buy a school uniform and go to any school to gain knowledge.
- Dushyant Wagh as Centimeter/Elder Manmohan – the present-day Millimeter who becomes Centimeter, who works as Rancho's/Phunsukh Wangdu's assistant 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.
- Amardeep Jha as Mrs Rastogi – Raju's mother, a retired schoolteacher and dedicated mother.
- Javed Jaffrey as the real Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad – a person Raju, Farhan, and Chatur meet during the Shyamaldas 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 he sends 'Chhote' to ICE to gain an engineering degree in his name. He does appreciate what Chhote did for him, giving Raju and Farhan information on 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 – a materialistic man who is Pia's ex-fiance.
- Jayant Kripalani as Interviewer – the company head who conducts Raju's job interview.
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 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.
|Territories and ancillary revenues||Price|
|Satellite rights with a TV channel||₹22 crore (US$3.3 million)|
|Worldwide distribution rights||₹65 crore (US$9.7 million)|
|Music rights (T~Series)||₹12 crore (US$1.8 million)|
|Total||₹99 crore (US$15 million)|
- The figures don't include the Print and Advertising (P&A) costs.
After its initial run, the film's adjusted worldwide lifetime gross was ₹339 crore (equivalent to ₹597 crore or US$89 million in 2016).
According to Box Office, 3 Idiots grossed ₹11.92 billion (equivalent to ₹21 billion or US$310 million in 2016) worldwide at the end of its theatrical run. 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 Rs 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$9.9 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$21 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$4.5 million) during the third week, ₹16 crore (equivalent to ₹28 crore or US$4.2 million in 2016) in its fourth week and ₹9.75 crore (equivalent to ₹17 crore or US$2.6 million in 2016) in fifth to make a total of ₹202 crore (equivalent to ₹356 crore or US$53 million in 2016) in five weeks, first Indian film ever to collect this huge amount, hence established the ₹200 crore (US$30 million) Club.
3 Idiots became the then highest-grossing Bollywood film in overseas markets and now[when?] it ranks 4th with 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." 3 Idiots added US$7 million from a wide release in far eastern markets like South Korea, China, Hong Kong etc. 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 (61 million) in its first two weeks of run – That makes the film the highest grossing Hindi film ever in Japan.
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 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 six 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 Korean site Naver gave the film a review rating of 9.4 out of 10.
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 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 won 52 accolades; among these are five Filmfare Awards including best film and best director, ten Star Screen Awards, sixteen IIFA Awards, three National Film Awards, five GIMA Awards, two Apsara Awards and seven Bollywood Hungama Surfers Choice Movie Awards. In January 2014, it was nominated in the Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film category for 37th Japanese Academy Awards.
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." 
|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|
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.
- 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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