Sunday, January 17, 2010

3 Idiots: Confusing a Nation!


Ok, so 3 idiots, the current Bollywood flick is officially the biggest blockbuster of Indian cinema. An amazing movie with a terrific plotline and characters. Topping it all is the brilliant message it delivers encouraging one to follow the heart, rather than go by the conditioning of parents when it comes to choosing ones profession. At the same time it encourages the pursuit of Excellence rather than the pursuit of Success. A nation agrees but I am a little confused.

The issue is not with the message itself, but by the method through which it is conveyed. Let me explain myself.


Chatur vs Rancho - Pick Your Hero

The drama in any story arises when there is conflict between personalities, more so, when they are placed on an even footing. This movie has not one but two conflicts. The first one is between Rancho and the eccentric professor Virus. But they are not equals, so let us keep them aside. The second conflict is between equals Rancho and Chatur.

Rancho aka Phunsuk Wangru is a born genius who can think differently, act differently, has the capacity to change the world. Then we have Chatur Ramalingam aka Silencer who is our studious boy next door, more interested in the pursuit of success even if it means mugging up the answers to the exam questions or buttering up to the professors. One has an answer to every problem, the other is an ordinary man without any extraordinary prowess.

Who looks like the hero? It has to be Rancho and that’s what the movie also makes of him at the end. This is where I slightly disagree. According to me, Chatur is the bigger hero.

Not blessed with natural genius, Chatur nonetheless does well for himself. Proof? The fancy cellphone, super expensive car, mansion, etc that he flashes before his friends at the start of the movie. He is a success achieved purely by hardwork. A virtue which most of us sadly lack. His sheer perseverance to be successful in life must be appreciated but rather he is caricatured in the film much to the delight of the audience. I too being one of the guilty ones who laughed the loudest only to realize much later that I am being taken for a ride. It suddenly dawned on me that its these very Chatur's that make up a crucial part of the Microsoft's, Dell's, Intel's, Infosys and countless other successful corporations of this world. You really think Rancho would try for a job in any of these places? Even if he did get in, how long would he stick around ?

One might now argue that Chatur is just another guy running after money, has no real passion in life, passion is all that matters, doing what one likes the most is more important than making money doing mundane things. Rancho might probably go on to become the next Bill Gates, who knows. Hmmm....


Passionate reality cheque!!!

"What is my passion?" A question that most people keep thinking of, find an answer too late in life, or worse still, never find it. The latter being most common. This movie encourages one to find their passion and pursue it.

Well, the problem for me is that my passion isn’t a constant. It changes with time as I get to experience more of life. It’s an ongoing experiment. So am I fair in saying that I am a passionate guy and will do whatever my mind or heart says to me? I wish it could be like that but fortunately or unfortunately, we have more to life than pursuing our passions. We have responsibilities towards our near and dear ones. Goals to achieve, which could be simple things like, how do I impress the girl or guy next door (actually this could be one of your passions, I could be wrong after all), how do I pay my next credit card bill or emi and many other such trivial or real concerns depending on what stage of life one is in? Welcome to reality.

Unlike the majority of people, luckily Rancho dosent seem to have any such issues in life as he is a loner till almost the end of the movie. Maybe, Kareena can throw some light on how married life is treating her after she settles down with Rancho in Ladhak. Am sure, she will have some interesting titbits to share.

Moving onto 'Gulab Jamuns' and 'Tom & Jerry'

When I was very young, my only passion in life was to eat Gulab Jamuns the whole day. I know another friend of mine whose only ambition in life was to just watch Tom & Jerry cartoons even when he was in 12th standard. Imagine if we were to go and tell our parents that we wanted to pursue stuff like eating Gulb Jamuns and watching Tom & Jerry they would certainly think we lost our minds and wouldn’t waste a second to give us a piece of theirs.

Passions develop over time and unfortunately it is most often during our college years or later that we recognize our true passion. Perhaps because it’s when we experience life out of our comfort zone. Few, who find their passion much earlier in life are the lucky ones who go on to build careers in their chosen fields. What about the rest? Are they doomed? I don't think so. There is a simple technique to deal with this. Your passions could become your hobbies whenever you discover them. Make enough progress in one field to invest in your passion in another field. This investment could be as simple as time. Time to watch your favourite movies or listen to your favourite music, you don’t necessarily have to be a film maker or a musician to enjoy these passions and by doing so as a hobby it doesn’t make you any less passionate or a lesser mortal than the creator.

Talking of creators, I would like to shift some gears now and explore another facet of this world, to show why we need more of Chatur's in this world than the Rancho's.

For Every Rancho, this world needs a Million Chatur's

Yes, we need the Rancho's who become the Phunsuk Wangrus of the world, to make their wonderful inventions and make our world better. They are the creators. But the creator is nothing without the consumer. Henry Ford the legendary car maker and industrialist is probably the first man to realize this. He produced one of the largest selling cars ever and also pioneered the start of assembly line culture in industries. He had people doing the most mundane things like fitting screws the whole day at his factories. Yet, he found ways to motivate his workers and make passionate consumers out of them. How did he do it? He introduced the culture of 8 hour work day and the 5 day work week, paid higher salaries. His logic was simple. The workers needed time to go out and enjoy themselves too and not just work 24/7. He thereby indirectly led them to buy his cars, as now they had the time and the resources to have a good life. It was a win win situation for both, as Ford made money selling his cars and the workers had access to a great life. Till this day, this formula is working everywhere. Try hard to deny it, it is the circle of life for most of us, not just for individuals alone but for entire nations too. We are left wondering if we live to work or work to live.

That is why, I am most convinced that in order to maintain this balance, we need a few million Chatur's to let the Rancho's do what they want to do. The man with all the fancy gadgets, the one who enjoys the fruits, Chatur is meant to live a complete and fulfilling life while the Rancho's of the world are toiling away creating the gadgets of tomorrow.

All Izz Well that Ends Well

The purpose of writing this post is not to belittle the intentions of the filmmakers but the message in the movie comes with a little asterisk at the corner. All I have tried here is to make the fine print a little more visible and clear. To be super successful in life you either need to be an eccentric genius like Rancho or achieve success by sheer dint of hardwork like Chatur. There is no middle path. And yes, even if you have the brains of a Rancho you still need to work very hard. Like Thomas Alva Edison once said "Genius is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration". This point, the movie misses out entirely.

Before you leave, don’t forget to add your valuable comments below or at the 'Mind u Read' Facebook page. Am expecting a great debate on this topic. I remain convinced we need more of Chatur's ilk for a healthy wealthy balance of this world. Rest, I will leave for you to decide. All izz well, I hope?

Also don't forget to read my subsequent Posts on 3 idiots :

When Fiction Meets Reality - Part 01 (My first reaction to your comments)

When Fiction Meets Reality - Part 02 (My second reaction to your comments)