Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

3 Idiots (2009)

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani

Starring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Madhavan, Sharman Joshi

Author

A revelry of piss, suicide, musical numbers, crying, and bad comedy. Any attempt at drama is killed by some combination of the aforementioned. With so many swings in mood, it’s hard to appreciate the story.

Humor comes in the form of slapstick, childish insults, and carnival music. And when the characters laugh hysterically at things that are so unfunny, it makes them even less funny. I can’t believe they used “Do you know our names?”, one of the oldest jokes in the book, as the punchline for a scene. Is there no such thing as wit in Indian cinema?

When someone is not pissing or otherwise being silly, drama presents itself as characters crying. And in any dramatic situation, it is not courage or resolve which gets the characters through them. It is the repeated chant of “all is well” that gets them through it? How profound! Not.

The characters might be considered irreverent by Indian standards, but they are just plain silly by American standards. Each one of them is a goofy, overexpressive clown, with Virus being the most annoying of the bunch. Khan is OK as the main character Rancho, although he has this scary-looking, wide-eyed pedophile look that is a little creepy.

To me, the most interesting thing about Indian speech is the reckless, awkward adoption of English in casual conversation. Words and phrases and even full sentences are injected into Hindi discussions seamlessly, but unpredictably and quite often incorrectly. And English nicknames are given to each other haphazardly, without any particular meaning or background, almost as if the fact that they are English is novelty enough. Why do Indians do this? As evidenced by the repeated American references and flag-covered underwear, it seems that there is admiration for America, and maybe that’s what makes them want to use English.

The Bollywood music numbers were the icing on the cake. Nothing takes me out of a story faster than spontaneous, non-narrative singing and dancing. It didn’t help that there’s some awful lip-syncing.

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