14 Aug 2022


"3 Idiots" Film Analysis

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Academic level: University

Paper type: Movie Review

Words: 1568

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"3 Idiots" is a comic film that depicts the relationship between Rancho, Farhan, and Raju, who are friends who encounter multiple experiences. The film subtly shows aspects connected to religion, such as prayer and conducting ceremonies like marriages and funerals. Rancho acts as a magnifying lens concerning savior-like input that likens him to Lord Krishna. 

The film explicitly reflects concerning religion in subtle terms with specific scenes drawing audiences' attention to religiously performed ceremonies and individuals seeking the assistance of an invincible hand to help them with their endeavors. According to Ostrowski (2016, 1), "the majority of Bollywood films commence with a short scene dedicated to a principal Hindu deity" given "Religion is nearly synonymous with the Indian film industry." The film introduces viewers to one main character called Raju in the opening scenes, who mirrors individuals who become religiously zealous due to their afflictions that seem to overburden them. Raju comes from a low-income family entailing a mother who is a retired teacher, an ailing father, and a sister who is ripe for marriage yet cannot go through the process like her peers due to their income shortages. Such troubles push Raju to take his burdens to God, spending most of his time chanting prayers as he seeks help from His maker (Hirani 2021 [2009], 12:39). The opening scenes depict Raju as a person overwhelmed with fear and not a believer. It is his fear that pushes him to pray to God for intervention and not faith. At one point, his friend jokes concerning his fear, suggesting Raju has more religious rings, each representing a prayer item, than the number of his fingers. Apart from Raju, the film depicts individuals (students) praying to their supernatural beings on the morning they expect their results. The students mirror a general trend by believers who commonly engage in supplication to God when faced with troubling situations or in dire need of a miracle. Lastly, the film explores specific ceremonies that have religious afflictions, such as weddings and burials. Some marriages in the film included Pia's sister's wedding and Pia's failed wedding. The latter introduces viewers to an exciting element concerning the religious ceremony whereby after the performing of specific prayers and rites, a final ritual involves going around thrice to establish the couple as wedded officially. The weddings equally depict an interesting element concerning Hindu religion whereby the bride pays the bride price as represented by Raju's sister. The latter cannot marry due to the lack of funds to purchase the demanded car to settle the fees. For the burial ceremony depicted in the film, the viewers witness specific rites and prayers with the bereaved family members. It illustrates the process of exhumation transcending to placing the ashes in an urn with Rancho stating plans to deposit them in a sacred river. Therefore, the film explores specific elements that have ties to religion, depicting meaningful ceremonies such as weddings and burials accompanied by individuals engaging in prayer. 

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The film equally goes beyond entertainment to depict religious affiliations using Rancho as a magnifying lens to describe the character similar to Lord Krishna regarding showing humanity the righteous way of life significantly to Farhan and Raju's friends. According to Mishra (2010, 646), many Bollywood films make the point concerning moral fables with grounding on canonical texts or epics that suggest individual action as constructive of the higher moral order; our acts condition our lives in this world and the next. Rancho plays a guide to his friends, saving them from tragic outcomes from the way they lead their lives and external forces. Firstly, when Farhan and Raju get a summon from the prestigious Imperial College of Engineering director, "Virus," to warn them against their friendship with Rancho, the latter explains the importance of sticking together (Hirani 2021 [2009], 54:30). During the visit to Farhan's home, he notices the wildlife photographs Farhan took and recommends Farhan to drop Engineering and study photography which he has a passion for. Secondly, Raju abandons Farhan and Rancho after heeding the call to the director's plea and moves to Chatur's room. The latter two do not lose hope to gain back their friend and engage in a sabotage mission spearheaded by Rancho. However, their efforts fail to convince Raju otherwise overly concerned with his family's more inferior status than his friends' families. Rancho eventually rescues Raju's father during a medical emergency by riding him to the hospital on a scooter. The move surprises the medical professionals and infuriates Raju, who considered the movement dangerous. However, the doctor attending to Raju's father exclaims at the prompt action, which, if had not occurred, would see Raju's father lose his life. The friends eventually reestablish their friendship thanks to Rancho's efforts. Rancho equally motivates Farhan and Raju into excelling, saving them from their poor performance that placed their professional careers at stake. After drinking, Farhan and Raju question why they fail in their papers during a heart-to-heart talk while Rancho tops the class. Rancho advises Raju to let go of his fear and face life from a bold standpoint, leading him to excel in engineering, which he is passionate about. On the other hand, Rancho issues advice Farhan to drop engineering and pursue a career in wildlife photography. After the recovery of Raju from his suicidal attempt, the two take up Rancho's guidance, with Raju ridding himself of the sacred rings and acquiring a job after displaying honesty and courage, which is a new outlook he gained from Rancho. Farhan confronts his father and finally convinces him to allow him to pursue photography. Therefore, Rancho plays the role of being a guide to his friends to ideal destinations. 

The film equally goes beyond depicting explicit religious themes using Rancho and his positive influence on society and other individuals. In the opening scenes, Rancho arrives at the prestigious Imperial College of Engineering when the juniors undergo a humiliating experience to show their respect to the seniors. He refuses to be a party to such humiliation and devices an intelligent plan that saves him. The act introduces Rancho as a unique individual emphasized by the opening scenes whereby he offers the director a challenging question and smartly explains his viewpoint to the lecturers. Rancho shows reservations concerning learning involving cramming textbook definitions, and he believes there should be no strict teaching model for students to enjoy their learning experience. Rancho witnesses as Joy Lobo fails to meet the deadline for his project leading to humiliation from the director. He takes it upon himself to complete the task for Lobo and surprise him. Another individual that Rancho helps is Pia. He demonstrates to Pia why she should not marry Suhas, who is all about the price tags and lacks humane character. Rancho equally expresses his dissatisfaction with taking photographs according to one's rank in class. He suggests that the move is humiliating for those who fail their exams, such as his friends, and the system prevents fun in learning by subjecting learners to unmerited pressures leading to terrible outcomes involving student suicides. Despite being rusticated by Virus from the college, Rancho comes to his family's rescue and invents a pump device that helps deliver a baby in a procedure that required machine input due to the failure of the baby to crown. Rancho's device mirrors the machine he promised to invent and name after Virus after the director finds him and his friend's gatecrashing his daughter's wedding. He suggested using car batteries to solve the power outages that negatively affect wedding ceremonies in Delhi. He uses car batteries to generate power following the power outage facilitated by the heavy downpour for the birth procedure he conducts. During the final stages of the film, the audience learns about the real identity of Rancho. The actual Rancho has a flashback when telling Farhan and Raju the story concerning their friend, who was actually the son of their gardener who had a high affinity for learning. He went to school under a hidden identity and gained an engineering degree for Rancho. In the end, the audience learns that Farhan and Raju's friend alias is Phunsukh Wangdu. The latter is a renowned scientist and businessman with a school that helps children interested in the engineering profession. 

In the film, Rancho, later established as Phunsukh Wangdu, magnifies the portrayal of Indian religion, especially his resemblance to Lord Krishna, in showing humanity the right path. According to Lyden (2009,1), the development of religion and film facilitated diverse viewpoints leading to defining parameters to assess the emerging discipline. Shastri (2011, 38) suggests that modern-day engagement with stories (a vital element of contemporary culture) entails the kind of border play around texts in which stepping in and out of the diegetic world is a prime activity." "3 Idiots" displays the development by having subtle aspects depicting religious connections in a comic narrative. However, the main character describes "savior-like" traits through his input in friends lives and others, including society. Apart from saving them from terrible outcomes, he shows compassion, love, kindness, and generosity, qualities held by supernatural beings such as Lord Krishna. Rana (2019, 80) posits that Lord Krishna is an avatar of the Divine that came to earth to show humankind the righteous way of life. The mentioned attributes of Rancho establish the intersection between the role he plays and Lord Krishna's input to humanity. Suh (2020, 286) describes the rebirth of Reeves through the films he acts in establishing the interconnection with Buddhist ideology. Rancho equally delivers on his character to magnify the traits of a higher deity and equally demonstrate himself as miraculous. His adage "all is well" assists him and his friends through troubling times and saves miraculously saves the newly born baby from death. The act completes his status as supernatural, although in human form, just like Lord Krishna. 

Rancho in the film magnifies attributes of Lord Krishna involving leading others to the right path, which establishes its ties to Indian religion. It equally explores subtle and explicit issues concerning the faith by depicting prayer and conducting specific ceremonies. The film reflects the development of Bollywood involving exploring thrilling narratives while keeping up with forms of religious themes in displaying moral values, among others. 


Lyden, J. (Ed.). (2009).  The Routledge companion to religion and film . Routledge, pp. 1-10. 

Mishra, V. (2010). Hinduism and film: Bollywood . Brill, pp. 636-651. 

Ostrowski, A. (2016). Found in Translation: From Hollywood Hits to Bollywood Blockbusters.  Journal of Religion & Film 11 (2), 4. 

Rana, P. R. (2019). The sacred Mahakala in the Hindu and Buddhist texts.  Nepalese Culture 13 , 77-94. 

Shastri, S. (2011). “The play’s the thing, wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king”: Intertextuality in Om Shanti Om.  Journal of Film and Video 63 (1), 32-43. 

Suh, S. A. (2020). Once The Buddha Was Born as Keanu Reeves: The Shaping of Buddhism in American Film and Popular Culture.  CrossCurrents , pp. 275-288. 

3 Idiots . Dir. Rajkumar Hirani. Netflix Canada [Canada], 2021 [2009]. Streaming Services. 

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