Thursday, May 5, 2011

3 Idiots may well be about Medicine

3 Idiots is about the friendship of three adventurous people who qualify into the best engineering school in India, a tough feat considering thousands from the subcontinent have applied. Movie-going friends have highly recommended it, so I decided to get a first-hand experience. A Bollywood film, the highest grossing in history—this ought to be fun.

The movie brings us to scenes of college life: the dormitory ritual (which reminded me of the one we had in West Wing One of Yakal Residence Hall), the long queue in the showers, the pressures and joys of being in a class of equally intelligent people, and the terrors of having to face a dreaded professor.

In this highly tense learning environment where students have jumped off buildings because they weren't able to submit their thesis on time, we get to know Rancho (Aamir Khan), a curious freshman who almost always stands out. A happy-go-lucky man exuding an an almost careless countenance, he has earned the ire of the dreaded Dr. Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani), director of the college, at their first meeting.

Rancho cannot help but live against the prevailing status quo. He goes to school to learn, to satisfy his curiosity, to increase his learning—and these he does believing in the motto, "All is well." (There's a cool, funny song-and-dance number in the movie with this all-is-well mantra, something that makes Indian films endearing).

Meanwhile his classmates, especially two who'd become his closest friends, are there for other reasons: for Raju (Sharman Joshi), studying there is his ticket out of poverty; for Farhan (R. Madhavan), it is a painful living out of his parents' dreams. Rancho, Raju, and Farhan are the key players in the movie. Their experiences will bind them closer to each other, and how they relate to each other reminds me of the proverb, "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Chatur (Omi Vaidya), another interesting figure in the movie, is Rancho's . . . antithesis. He memorizes everything, churning every detail without really understanding anything. The typical teacher's pet, he strives to be on top of the class. No matter what he does, though, he can never get to topple the effortless Rancho in the number one spot. His purpose in life, even after graduation, is to prove that he's better than Rancho.

Raju and Farhan are changed men after having been with Rancho—good friends, after all, change us for the better. It was Rancho who convinced them that for any real learning to happen, it must be done with passion. This especially hits to the core of Farhan, who has decided to quit engineering for his one true love, photography. They never see Rancho again after graduation, but on the fateful day of September 5, years after they have graduated, they embark on a quest to find him—and they discover something both shocking and inspiring.

And then it hit me: that sounds a lot like medical school, too. Any person, medical students especially, will find Three Idiots fun and meaningful. The movie tells us that friendship is more valuable than academic achievement, that learning is more important than high grades.

I know a friend who was forced by his doctor-parents to take up medicine. His heart wasn't in it, so he quit to pursue his lifelong dream . . . to become a pilot. The last time I saw him, he was in much better shape, having found purpose in what he does. I had never seen him so happy. I know of people, too, some of them in my class, who are in medschool for reasons similar to those of Farhan and Raju. I don't know what will happen to them, but I pray they find meaning in what they do, be it in medicine or elsewhere.

Just recently I've been getting a significant amount of traffic from people because of a piece I wrote entitled To the freshman of the UP College of Medicine. If you're one of them, I suggest you evaluate your motives for enrolling. If you plan to take medicine for other reasons other than you are passionate about it, think again. Better yet, watch this film. After all, going to medicine half-heartedly is ultimately an expensive waste of time.

5 comments:

  1. I loved this movie! :D I think it's great for all students, really--not just engineering (or med) students. :)

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  2. Naunahan mo ako sa pagsulat ng review! But reading this made me rethink what I'm writing and how I'll be writing it. Thanks Lance!
    I watched it last week and tried to sleep last night while my cousins watched it. I couldn't understand the Hindi but I could imagine the flow.

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  3. I remember posting a reply here, but it's not here!

    This movie really rocks! You beat me to the punch of a review, but reading yours made me rethink how I'll write mine. It does contain values even we as a country need.

    I've held back on reading up on your updates, but they're worth the wait. Nice one, Lance!

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  4. Kat, that's good to know. I re-watch the fun scenes once in a while.

    Anjo, I got your reply in my email, but it never got posted here. Blogger has been having some problems recently, and if they finish fixing stuff, that lost comment should pop up here soon. Do write your review! (And I frequent your blog often; makes me feel so close to the TV reporters.)

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  5. Thanks so much, brother Lance! It's been difficult to come up with good stories lately, that's why I'm trying to branch out. Yun lang, it's less marketable to our online news site.

    Another aspect of commenting on blogger I don't like is I don't get to monitor when you reply back.

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