December 26, 2009

Believing in Idiots

Last month an upcoming production house hired me as their first in-house writer. And just a year ago I was going through the biggest struggle of my life. My decision to give up the job of a doctor in the Armed Forces to join in the Hindi film industry had caused an unprecedented disapproval for me by my family. The boy whose futile grades had always made them swell with an unreasonable pride was just not supposed to give up everything for a lesser and riskier life. I was called names. I was emotionally blackmailed. But since I refused to bend, they had to. Today, things are better. Although my dad still does not talk to me, and although not a single day has passed when I have not thought about all that has happened and all that is at stake, all is well. Today I called my mom and asked her to go for a movie ASAP, and to take dad with her too. The movie is what the entire country is dying to watch today. The movie is what the entire country should watch soon. Two years ago there came a movie that talked about taking care of your child. The commercial success of that film actually caused a significant change. Hope the same happens again, this time for people like us.

Last year, when I asked my mom to trust me for one final time, she had one big argument, among others – what would the people say! These ‘people’ are the immediate and extended family, and neighbours, and all those who have showered their honest or pretentious compliments on my parents for my ‘achievements’ since childhood. I used to tell my mom, and I still do, that I do not give a damn to what ‘people’ think or say. The only thing that matters to me is whether my own parents believe in me. But I understand that they are not wrong. The entire system is based on the mad rush for these conventional ‘achievements’. My parents are away from us, and surrounded by ‘people’. And they form a part of the ‘people’ for the parents of some other kid. And this has resulted in the society we have today – a society where a man has to take decisions not from his heart, but thinking of the ‘people’ around him.

Today, I have got a ‘fixed job’ in a ‘company’, never mind I am still a writer. I get something as a ‘salary’, never mind my friends are earning almost twice that amount as Army doctors. All those who were busy talking about me got tired long ago and had moved on with their own petty complications of life. They ‘feel good’ when they come to know about this recent ‘progress’ of mine. Perhaps making them happy is as easy as infuriating them. Only, neither matters to me. It has been thirty months since I went home or met my dad. And at times I do feel like going back for a short vacation. I have no idea when that will happen. But I know that I am ecstatic at the life I could create for myself, against all odds. And the only people I have to thank are those who helped me during the toughest phase of my life, when my own ‘people’ had denounced me as a disillusioned idiot.

For the way it relates to me, Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots is my favourite movie of the year. For the way the medium of cinema is used, it is possibly the best too. This post is perhaps the most personal post on this blog. But all inhibitions are actually shattered when you experience something as warm and wonderful as this. I won’t recommend this movie to you. I recommend this to your parents. Make sure they go for it.


  1. I agree. Totally.

    You know I am glad you could take a call, be strong and do what you like.

    Its like Sharman Joshi tells Kareena in the movie " that if you dont run with me, you will regret this moment for the rest of your life."

    Every middle class Indian could have related to the agony that our defunct education system creates.

    Perosnally, I had two such moments in my life.

    1) Where I could not take the call - And I live on with the boredon, the lunancy of a job and corporate trappings.
    2) When I did stand up for my self - I live with the implications of my actions. Happy but at dissonance with my context.

    I hope you work it out with your dad, life is after all not forever. Like Seth said - In the end we will all be dead or dying.

    I am sure his dissonancce gnaws at his heart too.

    But Critically - 3 idiots could do with a little editing. It reminded me of Tare Jameen per at one momemnt, Good will hunting at another and aslo of Mumnabhai -1.

    Critically, 3

  2. Thanks for your encouragement.

    I think resemblance with Munnabhai is obvious. That is Hirani's trademark. Kubrick's movies, in spite of belonging to different genres, reminded of one another. This is Hirani's style and it is original.

    Resemblance with TZP is also obvious, both addressing the theme of education system, parenthood and following your heart. And Aamir Khan giving out the message...

    The resemblance with GWH is, yeah, there. An extraordinary guy from a poor background. But I guess it ends there. Rancho's character is far more warm and eager to learn.

    Anyway. I, as you can understand, feel a little bias. Some films go beyond critical appreciation. They just inspire you, and you ignore the flaws.

    It is not the best film ever. But it is one of the most important things from Hindi film industry.

  3. You will be a huge success soon!! Even I am living some of my dreams through you :-) Best wishes.

  4. Rajkumar Hirani has taken over from Hrishida. Social messages with feel-good cinema and about the middle class.

  5. just hope and pray that things work out wonderfully for you ..and of that i am kind of certain ... we grew up in a world where for quite a while , 'realising your dreams' and ' making parents proud (in a social acceptance scale)' were synonymous it really takes a toll on all concerned when and if these two things diverge ...your dad will come around ...its just that fathers need more time ,i guess ..watched 3 idiots yesterday ... the connotations in the movie felt eerily familiar ..

  6. especially madhavan's words which went something like " agar engineer ban bhi gaya to , bahut kharaab engineer banoonga " ..havent felt connected so emotionally to any hindi movie dialogue in quite sometime :D

  7. I think 3 idiots was definitely the best hindi film last year but it lacked the essence which Munnabhai or RDB had. It has too many feel good factors which are actually not possible in real life and definitely not Aal izz well.


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