Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Three Idiots, and Other Cool Things.

"So, you're telling me Three Idiots are going to watch 'Three Idiots'". Superna Kapur, 29th December 2009.

Yeah, so, I apologise for my mother's alleged sense of humour. Alleged in italics, like The Times of India* has taken to writing. As you have gathered, I went to watch 'Three Idiots' yesterday. With two of my friends. Neither of whom are idiots.

I was completely bowled over by the film at the time. I loved it. I have never been so bowled over by a film, not even Milk, which I watched, dry-eyed, in a hall full of weeping people who, furthermore, kept quiet during the movie. I loved this film despite a kid screaming "Mama, Susu aa rahi hai" when [spoiler alert] the examination paper is being leaked. It's exuberant and easy to relate to if you've been in college recently- in some cases, a little too close for comfort. It leaves you laughing at most places, and (not entirely unusually if you are as soppy as me) crying once or twice. It's amusing, even at points where the humour is hackneyed and less-skilled actors/directors would have you rolling your eyes. The innuendoes are not, for the most part, overdone- which is a merciful blessing. The movie starts off well, and progressively gets better until the interval. After the interval, the plot falters a bit, and lapses into a collection of vignettes rather than an actual film, but soon gets back on track, and gives us a true-Hindi film meet Wodehouse climax, where nobody is unhappy at all.

It also shows a lot of Delhi (always a good thing as far as I am concerned), and cocks a snook at some of Hindi cinema's holy cows. The long-suffering mother, the villainous Seth, the 'Apaahij' father and the 'Ayaash Beta' all come up for their share of flak. Of course, being a Bollywood film, it does have wild coincidences, and really insane scenes when vacuum cleaners are used to assist a woman in voiding her womb, but well, that is, after all, what makes Hindi films what they are. I mean, who would really want to see what an IIT-ian's life is all about? Six hours of physics, an hour of oiling one's hair, and twenty four hours of sexual frustration are not what I would pay good money to watch.*

All in all, it was an enjoyable film, though Why one needed to go to Vasant Kunj from Daryaganj to get to a decent hospital was beyond me.

Jumping from one engineering college story to another, I recently read the delightful "Oops...I fell in love....Just by Chance..." by another of Shrishti Publication's finds. (Aishwarya has referred to another oeuvre of this publication house here). The book is notable for the way it blends traditional Indian values with modernity - a protagonist evidently has three of every kind of imported underwear because three is his lucky number. It also demonstrates acute sensitivity towards queer people- the author thoughtfully points out that only the "non-gay" section of IIT suffers from sexual frustration. An encounter with "a gay" at trendy malls in Delhi is also dealt with with the wit and humour which is a hallmark of the house of Shrishti- a kick in the balls is to be recommended to those of us who have had to deal with unwanted same-sex advances. The romance in the story is brilliantly portrayed; what woman could resist a man who saves her from (gasp!) being coated with chocolate by her friends! No, what?

The author also shows feeling for italics. One suspects he has taken to writing for the Times of India. Or- and equally probably- that the Times of India recruits from amongst these literary genii.

My interest in the author meant I researched a little about him. After all, to be 22 and have a book published is no mean task. After all, Rushdie (Harsh's inspiration) hadn't published a book at 22. Nor had Coatzee [sic], another of his favourite authors. Harsh informs readers of the IIT- E Magazine that he does not grudge them their success- after all, as he sagely points out, "their books have a world of their own". Harsh's inspiration for his own magnus opus is interesting- a blast in Mehrauli in 2008 served to unlock his creative juices, though, as he points out, he had already written for the aforementioned E-Magazine, which had, for some obscure reason, failed to recognise his talent earlier! Fear not, Harsh, their loss (to quote a marginally more-celebrated author)parallels the story of the base Indian who threw away a pearl richer than his tribe!

To us- who have not yet seen our name decorating the cover of a book, Harsh offers constructive advice. Confidence, he says, is the key. When one is convinced one's book could stand on the same shelf as Sidney Sheldon or Coatzee [sic], there will be light! "The light", he goes on to tell us, "that will dazzle you with humility and self-pride at the same time." One waits, earnestly, for such light to shine upon us.

Harsh acknowledges, however, that his books are prone to one criticism- that of being reminiscent of other books dealing with life in IIT. To counteract this, he offers us a sneak peak into his second novel, which is being written as I type. The book deals with the life of a person afflicted with AIDS,which I am sure he will handle with the sensitivity he has so aptly demonstrated. One waits, eagerly, for his latest.

* Apologies to Manu and Siddharth.


Blogger Shrey said...

nice post. as usual.although I dun think sid qualifies fr an apology as d undergrads at IIT tend to fit into d stereotype much btr dan post grads...

5:12 am  
Blogger Abdaal said...

The second part of this post is classic..

9:26 am  
Blogger Aishwarya said...

The similarity of Oops...I fell in love to other books in the genre is not one of its flaws, but one of its biggest strengths. I felt that the book as a whole was working as a sort of metacritical observation on the genre as a whole - kind of like the early Discworld books.

11:53 am  
Blogger Wanderer said...

Good for you, you killed my comment with that apology!
Though I disagree with Shrey. A visit and stay at the IIT campus (atleast Delhi) will make you realize that post grads are much worse off than undergrads. I just happen to have gone to one St.Stephen's College before getting here :P

Read this for more perspective

10:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

人自幼就應該通過完美的教育,去建立一種好的習慣。 ..................................................

1:08 am  

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