Bollywood Hungama
Last Updated 20.11.2018 | 10:23 PM IST
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Book Review – 3 Idiots: The Original Screenplay

Screenplay: Now how many would be actually interested in going through hundreds of pages of that even if the screenplay belongs to a film? Perhaps just the students of cinema and staunch followers of moving images on screen.

3 Idiots: Now how many would be actually interested in revisiting the film all over again? Well, silly question, isn’t it? After all we all know the answer.

So what happens when the screenplay of the most loved film of at least the current decade, if not the last 20-30 years, hits the stands? It is an exciting preposition for not just those who would want to learn the art of writing a screenplay by the masters themselves (read Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi and Vidhu Vinod Chopra). Instead, it is bound to strike a chord with those film buffs who have at least a bare minimum interest in reading about them than just watching them.

What surprises though is the fact that this offering – ‘3 Idiots: The Original Screenplay’ – is not ‘just’ about the screenplay. It has a lot more to offer and this is what you explore once you start turning over the pages. This is because it doesn’t turn out to be the cut and dry approach of reprinting the entire screenplay for readers to study, interpret and learn. Instead, there are quite a few spoken words by everyone associated with the film which gives this book an added touch.

There is a detailed introduction by Rajkumar Hirani where he brings to fore some of the most unknown facts about his own personal life. Detailing his humble beginning, he talks about the journey that he took from pursuing core academics to someone who first got associated with theatre and moved towards films by sheer luck. The underlining statement made at the very beginning of the book? ‘Pursue excellence and success will follow’, something which is the not just the core of Hirani’s life but also ‘3 Idiots’ in general.

This is what sets the base for the screenplay which starts making so much more sense, especially after one has seen the film. If you are reading this piece, it would be impossible to believe that you haven’t seen the film so far. This is the reason why when detailing around location, time zone, dialogues, backgrounds, voiceovers, songs and pauses come up in the book, they are almost brought to life. Due to the very fact that you have seen the film, it becomes so much easier to comprehend what was going around in the mind of the makers when they were putting together the screenplay.

However, this is the very point where you end up saluting their genius as well because what seems so easy and comfortable to interpret was once just a thought that went through multiple drafts before making t to the final bound copy. For those who would have read the script first, it is obvious that they would have had their own interpretation about a particular scene. Of course this is the basic fact because different people can be expected to look at a scene differently. However, what comes on screen is the final take that went with the vision of the director. This is where Rajkumar Hirani deserves a pat on the back for getting his brilliant set of actors deliver those wonderful lines while keeping the background of a scene totally in synch with the written world.

In fact you can’t help but get into an admiration mode scene after scene because you know that what leads to a comic, dramatic, subtle or aggressive touch could have been enacted and looked so differently if perfect all around control from the creative team wouldn’t have been on display.

This is what one gets to hear from Aamir as well as he gives a detailed interview around the making of the film. One has always waited to hear things straight from the mouth of the man who is rightly termed as a perfectionist. This is where author Smirti Kiran comes into picture who has conceptualised and compiled this book. She gets together the entire core team of 3 Idiots and asks interesting enough questions that lead to an interesting, lengthy and detailed conversations leading to some facts that weren’t quite explored in and around the release of the film.

Close to 100 odd pages in the book are spent on these conversations which makes ‘3 Idiots: The Original Screenplay’ totally different from other Hindi film screenplays which have been brought on stands so far. Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor, Omi Vaidya and Boman Irani – each of them speak at length around how they came into the film and the experience of making the film. Also rest assured, there are none of those boring, clichéd and diplomatic ‘Oh I loved working with XYZ’ statements that time and again threaten to eat up some precious paper.

It is during these conversations when quite a few trivia is revealed that makes one not go through the entire book in a jiffy but also preserve it as a reference point. Here is presenting some of the trivia:

– Impostor angle came in the film, courtesy a real life film director who got into FTII as an impostor

– The watch scene between Kareena and Aamir came from a real life incident where Vidhu Vinod Chopra, in his struggling days, gave it back to his show-off happy relative

– The intermission scene with Javed Jaffrey’s face in a college photograph was an after thought and introduced as a suggestion from Vidhu Vinod Chopra

– Boman Irani’s daily ritual of a power nap and getting his shave done is picked from real life routine of Mahatma Gandhi

– Aamir, Madhavan and Sharman actually consumed alcohol for their drunken scene. Kareena didn’t follow suit even though she was doing a drunken scene for the first time.

– Surveillance chopper, which was the creation of character played by Joy Lobo, was Dia Mirza’s idea

– Aamir Khan was not supposed to do 3 Idiots. It was Shah Rukh Khan who was doing it first.

All one can say after going through the book is – ‘Thank you team of 3 Idiots for bringing this book on shelves. Rest assured, it would have a long life there!’

Price: Rs. 495/=

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