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3 Jan 2010

3 Idiots - Five Point Someone?

Chetan Bhagat, Aamir Khan, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and '3 Idiots'. They have been behaving like 3 Idiots ever since the release of the movie, as if that's a way of advertising the movie itself. The controversy of who should get the credit appears to be getting uglier each day.

Chetan Bhagat insists that he was not given enough credit for the movie. According to him, the movie is based on his book upto 70% and his name only appears at the end of the credits ("after the asssistants", etc) as author of the book 'Five Point Someone' whereas he was promised that his name would appear among the "big actor and actresses" right at the top. He also has a problem with the movie-makers claiming that the movie is "loosely based" on his book with only 2-5% similarity and the rest of the script is original, with Abhijat Joshi credited for the script.

Those part of the movie claim that Bhagat has been given his due credit, as promised ("exactly as in the contract") and maintain that the script is largely original. Really? How can something be 'original' if it was "loosely based" on a book. I have read the book but do not remember enough details to make a comparison. In fact, I have not even watched the movie (still hoping I can... sigh). However, as Bhagat points out and so have numerous readers, TV channels and newspapers, there seem to be a fair number of instances that are a straight rip-off from the book.

I'm not really trying to take sides here but going by the support Bhagat is getting from his readers who, I think are the best judges, it seems rather lame that the producers of the movie are spending large amounts of money and time in press conferences, threats of going to court and fighting him in public. As Chetan says, the best way to know the truth is "read the book & watch the movie". I religiously watch all of Aamir Khan's movies and I have read all of Chetan Bhagat's books. Someone like me doesn't need to be prompted. I am sure there are a lot of people out there like me. It's quite clear that the entire hungama is a gimmick to make more people "read the book & watch the movie"

As I already tweeted yesterday, I'm inclined to agree with Pritish Nandi's take on this issue. It is a typical AK method of trying to notch up sales for the book and increase viewership for the movie. I'm not sure it is really necessary, though. Aamir Khan's movies need no other publicity than the fact that they are his. Add to that, his unique methods of marketing them (remember the staff at PVR Cinemas in Mumbai with the Ghajini hair-cut, last year?) and he's got a winner. In fact, didn't 3 Idiots make a whooping 7 crores in just the first 3 days of it's release? Five Point Someone is already a pretty popular book and Chetan Bhagat markets his book pretty well. The hype he created for his latest book '2 States' was no mean task. Millions of copies of his books have been sold and still are. So, why are they behaving like idiots? Simple enough answer, eh? The movie is called 3 Idiots. Surprise surprise!

Khan is definitely trying to keep the excitement for the movie alive for a few more weeks. The movie has been selling at an exorbitant price of 350 bucks per ticket on weekends and cinemas are still running houseful. Clearly, the ruse is working. He's brilliant, no doubt. When it's Aamir Khan, no publicity is bad publicity. By making Bhagat the victim, the latter retains his fan-following. Everybody wins.

Obviously, there will be no court case, although they have been threatening about it. Why have they not done it already? Whereas the papers have been reporting Chetan's stand on the threat as being ready to face whatever comes because he has the support of his fans, that is not what I saw on TV last night. At the threat, Bhagat simply said that he merely noted in his blog about being hurt by the attitude of the makers of the movie and he did not really care so much for the credit. It seemed like he was not up and ready for a fight in court but was rather resigned to accept it if it happened. Either he is a bad actor (on the premise that this is a publicity stunt) or he is just giving interviews because he opened his big mouth in the first place.

Chetan's latest tweet says that he is tired of the interviews around this issue and would stop after the next two, which he has already committed to. It reeks of Aamir Khan's style. He stays mum throughout the making of the movie, lets the producers start promoting the movie towards the date of it's release and then makes his media appearance just around the time of release. Then he goes quiet and lets the dust he raised, settle. In the meanwhile, the gullible audience has grown poorer by the rupee while he laughs his way to the bank and so do the producers.


  1. I am not a fan of Mr. Bhagat for sure. But, as a reader who has read "Five point someone" and a movie-goer who has watched "3 idiots", I completely agree that the movie is just an extended version of the book and has a lot of scenes which are absolute rip-offs from the book.

    I just felt like saying this, AK does his publicity. But, it is far much better than SRK's for MNIK. I think, AK is an intellectual, where as SRK is a marketing gimmick.

    Blame me for what I said, but, I don't care. I am probably from that 10% of Indians who do not watch SRK's movie in a cinema hall.

    I think the blog is very good. Why not someone think about using this as a nice plot for their next movie????

  2. CB wrote a book that most youngsters who've studied for engineering go through. In the movie, AK is actually questioning the system and the characters are doing stuff i don't remember from the book. The only thing similar to CB's book, from what I remember of the book is the pressure for grades, the main character dating the professor's daughter.

    I agree with Karthik abt SRK's movies stinking these days. Love AK for the movies he does - always has some message.

  3. Looks like my blog has triggered off a couple of mini-blogs, LOL. Thanks for the comments guys :-)

    I'm going to watch the movie on Wednesday, will see what it's turned out like.

    PS. About the SRK & AK theory - AGREED.

  4. hi there
    dropped by this blog by accident
    was reading off some tfn stuff coz been wanted to do it for past two years but somehow could not!!
    anyway - i think Chetan Bhagat's blog www.chetanbhagat.com gives a very sound logic from a reader - author point of view
    however - the two points i want to make
    1. CB has a point when he says you can buy a painting , but then u cant say that u painted it
    2. Fundamentally in a book the relationship is between author n reader publisher is a background guy; however i celluloid, max credit goes to the actor who brings the character to life.
    See the movie with this perspective
    rajiv anand

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Anand.

    I've read CB's blog and am aware of his perspective. Also heard AK and others on TV.

    Personally, I think the author has got his due credit with the book and the movie-makers collectively for their movie. The premise of this blog is the fact that this whole issue is a publicity gimmick

  6. http://caricaturehome.blogspot.com/2010/01/aal-izz-well.html

  7. Thanks for sharing that, Minanath. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words!