Movie Club Discussion: 3 Idiots

Movie Club Discussion: 3 Idiots April 5, 2014

I can see why this movie has been recomnded so often and has had such good reviews and press. The title and silly cover images made me reluctant to try it, but I’m glad I did!

The experience was one of those times when I thought to myself: I’m so glad Indian movies are so long 🙂

The overall message was, when you focus on loving what you’re doing, sucess will follow.

Don’t learn because you have to and just cram and memorize, learn because it is thrilling and interesting.

It reminds me of a talk I heard at my Sathya Sai Baba center. A man who had been through the Sathya Sai MBA program spoke about what it was like and he said the message there was that you don’t have to ask for a raise in your job. Do everything that you do with excellence and the raise will come to you.

Sometimes it bothers me to hear that message of “follow your heart.” I’ve struggled a lot as a creative person to make enough money to get by. I always thought that if you follow your passion, the money will follow. You do see that in a lot of people.

But then you also see plenty of “starving artists.”

I wonder sometimes whether I dilute my art by worrying over making a living. If I could let go of all that world stuff and just really focus on the art for the sake of only love, maybe that would make it speak to people more, make it more successful. But then how am I defining success?

Rancho makes a good point that it isn’t only following your passion, but also your talent. Follow it with all your heart and the rest will fall into place. I think I have only followed my passion half way, always with an eye on the race (the “rat race” as we say here), checking how I’m doing against everyone else, doing things for “saftey” just in case. There’s always been fear. I think if I were to truely apply myself with all my heart to the thing that I’m most passionate about, success would come. I do believe that.

Sometimes, though, we don’t know or recognize what our talents or passions are. It can be hard to clear away all the messages and expectations and really see what it is that you love doing. Raju is that way. His passion isn’t clear, but he still needs to let go of the fear in order to get anywhere.

I liked the structure of the movie where we were waiting the whole time to see which method produced better results. Clearly Chatur had wealth and all the external markers of success. I suppose if that’s what you want, go for it. But Rancho was all about success meaning happiness. He learned and loved, and trusted the universe to provide the results.

Did his friends really understand Rancho’s message? They enjoyed his pranks and “demos” but did they really understand that he is doing the work, but for the sake of the work and not the sake of the grade.

Oh wait, now isn’t that the message of the Gita? 🙂 Perform your duty for duty’s sake and not for the sake of the rewards.

Without really understanding what Rancho means, the system is definitely set up to crush your spirit and your independence. Churn out quiet little robots, really. And then people wonder where are the great thinkers? Where are the “out of the box” ideas? They’ve been crushed.

Sometimes the movie feels like a fight for the souls of the two friends between the director and Rancho.

Appearences mean nothing to Rancho. The degree is irrelevant to his success. It’s the knowledge itself, not the name of the school or the diploma, that bring him success. Yet, Rancho has no one depending on him. Not like Raju and many of the others. There is no one’s expectations he is trying to live up to and that does make a diference.

I liked the suspense of waiting to find out what had become of “Rancho” and then the shock of the result, though the clues of the truth were there all along. Particularly in his advice to the young boy who washed clothes and ran errands at the school.

A fun moment was “Results in, so time to strike a deal with God.” And seeing all the different types of prayers that students are giving.

Also, Kareena Kapoor is adorable. Every time I see her, I just fall in love with her bright and happy smile. She has made quirky and fun her calling card (and it works so well that I was really startled when I saw her on the cover of a historical film!)

The scene with Farhan and his dad talking about how he doesn’t want to be an engineer and he’d be terrible at it was very powerful. The dad’s concern is for things that matter so little. “Your friends will be buying cars and you’ll regret that you can’t.” And is that worth the life of frustration and disappointment? Well, only you can know in your own life.

It’s a great message, but I do have to wonder about whether it is right for us to tell our children to just follow their dreams. I have friends in the arts who bitterly regret not studying something “practical.” Is it wrong for parents to worry that their children will not be able to make a living at the things they are interested in?

Where is the right balance between learn something practical and do what you love?

As far as the religious side of it goes, I think Raju says it best, “Today I didn’t beg God for this job, I thanked him for this life.”

As I said earlier, I think this movie is an illustration of the Gita in modern life.

And you know? I’ve heard that story about the astronauts and the pen before, but I never heard the end of it: why the pen was important. Why it could’t be a pencil. I’m glad I finally learned that.


For next week we’ll see a little more of Kareena Kapoor! Next week’s discussion will be on Satyagraha, a movie I had not heard of before but was recommnded on Twitter. I know and understand so little about politics and I hope that this will be eye-opening. (I wanted to do one that was available free on Netflix again also and this fit the bill).

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