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Harley Lond's Movie Reviews (12)

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3 Idiots 
3 idiots
2.5/4 stars

This Bollywood comedy somehow got overlooked by the mainstream film review press in the states and it's a real shame. There's an infectious, devil-may-care boyishness about this story that follows the college antics of three young men working their way through one of India's most prestigious engineering universities. Frahan (Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi), led by the rambunctious outsider, free-thinking rebel and super brain Rancho (Aamir Khan), proceed to turn things upside down for the other students -- and the arch-conservative dean, dubbed "Virus" -- as they play prank after prank and continually test the limits of the strict Indian social system. The film begins with Frahan and Raju going on a quest to find their missing friend 10 years after graduation, and the film is told in flashbacks. Throw in some colorful singing and dancing routines and here's one delightful, enjoyable outing. On the surface "3 Idiots" plays out as a college comedy about three undergrads getting into trouble with a stoic, conservative administration. But the laughs go deeper, striking at the conformity of the Indian social system that forces students to go into fields of learning not for that which suits them, but because that is what their parents expect of them -- kind of the educational/employment version of an arranged marriage. Rancho's attacks on rote memorization can only remind one of some U.S. films in the 60 and 70s that cast a jaundiced eye at America's educational system. We have only two gripes with the film: It's title makes it seem like it's an Indian version of "Dumb & Dumber," but that is so far from the truth it's painful -- its title and poster art may have scared off viewers. The other: its two-and-a-half-plus hours running time needed to be shortened. Otherwise, this definitely is a gold-star outing. Aamir Khan has been a superstar in India for more than two decades -- he's in his mid-forties -- and "3 Idiots" -- 'Ghajini' -- became the highest grossing Indian comedy of all time.

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