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Watch It: Three Idiots


Ok, so like many Bollywood movies, the poster doesn't do this film any favors. I wouldn't see this on Netflix and think, "Now, that's a movie worth watching for almost three hours with subtitles!" But it really is. It's based on a book I read and loved while in India; Chetan Bhagat's "Five Point Someone." The book gives an unflinching look at life for young, educated Indians and the pressures they face: go to a good college, get a good job, marry a good Hindu/Muslim/Sikh, and make lots of money! While the movie strays from the original, infusing typical Bollywood flair and flamboyance, it's a great introduction into the culture of India's burgeoning middle class Gen Y.

By the way, Bollywood, for those who don't know, is the Indian movie industry based in Mumbai. The name derives from a combination of "Bombay" (Mumbai's anglicized name) and "Hollywood." Bollywood movies are known for their musical numbers, often sappy emotional story lines, and huge stars. Yet more and more, Bollywood movies are being recognized worldwide for their quality and depth. Most Bollywood movies are shot in Hindi or English, but films are produced all over India in local state and regional dialects. Given the sheer quantitiy of Indian films produced and the different languages they are produced in, it's easier to become a movie star in India than in anywhere else in the world. FYI that.

The movie tells the story of three friends from ICE, an exclusive and rule-driven Engineering College based on IIT- the Indian Institute of Technology. In India, it always seemed to me that young kids wanted to be either a doctor or an engineer - and IIT is the top school for Engineering in the country (surprisingly, I also met quite a few students who wanted to come over here to study at Purdue - Go Boilermakers!) Farhan, Raju and Rancho become best friends in the high-pressure environment of ICE and stick together through comedic escapades (tormenting the school's Director), romance (Rancho falls for the Director's daughter, played by Kareena Kapoor) and heartache (threatened with expulsion, Raju attempts suicide). Yet, after graduation, Rancho mysteriously disappears and 10 years later, Raju and Farhan reunite to find their long-lost friend.

chetan bhaget 3 idiots
'Singing in the Rain' via The Guardian

In true Bollywood style, this film is full of goofy laughs, drawn-out musical numbers (don't feel bad if you have to fast-forward) and lots of heart. It's really the perfect movie for a lazy weekend afternoon when you just want to smile and not think too hard. I watched it with The Boy and by the end of the movie, both of us had a few tears in our eyes. I had some major India-home-sickness and I think he felt more than a little nostalgic for his bromance days in the fraternity.

"Three Idiots" broke every Bollywood record and is now the highest-grossing Indian film in history, not in small part due to it's super-star cast. It is also the highest grossing Bollywood film in oversees markets, finding success in the U.S., Australia and Europe. It's available for rent on Netflix and on Redbox. For more info, check out it's Wiki page or IMDB.

See any good movies this weekend? Or sing outside in the rain? Anyone?

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