How a Movie Called 3 Idiots Can Actually Make You Smarter About Life


I remember taking my toddler son to his very first movie. He was in a trance right from the moment he saw the curtain covering the big screen. It was not a particularly entertaining movie for that matter, ‘Princess & The Frog”, so boring it was all I could do to stay awake.

You would not know that from watching my son, his focus never wavered as he sat glued to the seat taking in the big screen. He pounded me with questions throughout the movie, after the movie and even into next day morning.

It was a reminder of the power of movies on us. If you read about a principle such as spend less than you earn, it will barely register in your consciousness. You will probably yawn and move on. But if I were to weave a story around it especially a true personal life experience involving this principle, for e.g. how spending less than I earned helped me purchase my first home you will sit up and take notice. But what if to the story I add sound and images, moving images at that. What would that do to you.

In this article I would like to share with you some great principles for personal and professional success in life from one of the highest grossing movies in Bollywood. Principles that apply to everyone and every time.

Principle # 1 – Don’t just read about it or talk about it. Apply your knowledge to solve your problems.

The protagonist in the movie is a character named ‘Rancho’ played by Amir Khan. On his first day at college he is subjected to hazing by his seniors. To escape Rancho locks himself up in his room. Undeterred his bully stands outside and threatens to urinate on his door if he does not turn himself in. The bully starts a countdown. Rancho takes a metallic spoon ties it to a live electric connection and passes it out from under the door.True to his word the bully promptly starts urinating on the door and receives the shock of his life literally. Urine contains salt, salt is a good conductor of electricity. Put them together and what do you get a perfect antidote to the urine threat. Rancho did not forget his high school chemistry lessons.

Principle # 2 – Detachment can be a game changer.

One of Rancho’s closest friends is the character Raju Rastogi played by Sharman Joshi. He suffers from acute mental worries resulting from being the sole provider to his entire family. He has too much riding on his shoulders so plays safe. Very safe. How familiar is this story in our lives?

Every little bump in life threatens to shatter his very existence. Unable to handle a particularly stressful situation he jumps out the window lands 2 floors down and later in the hospital comatose. Eventually he comes through but his near death experience teaches him how valuable and fragile life is. He turns a new leaf. Nothing that he will face in his life can be as bad as this experience.

When he finally lands the job interview that he was so desperate to ace before his accident he is cool, unattached and true to himself. He arrives with the attitude that he is ready to walk away and that ends becoming the game changer.

Raju Rastogi gets his desired job by giving up the very desperation that was consuming him up.

Principle # 3 – Pursue your passion not your pension

The 3 rd character in this trinity of idiots is a person named Farhan played by Madhavan. He suffers from ambition. Not his but his father’s. Farhan has to become an engineer. Anything less is a catastrophic failure. That would not be a problem but for the fact that Farhan has no interest in engineering. His passion is wildlife photography

Unble to stand up to his father and also being the good son, unable to disappoint him he abides by his father’s wishes and pursues engineering with mediocre results. But Farhan is not entirely castrated by his father’s ambition. A small spark of his passion continues to live in the form of a letter that he had written seeking apprenticeship with a world famous photographer in Hungary. A letter that he had never posted.

Finally at Rancho’s urging he posts his letter and much to his delightful surprise his application gets accepted. His spark of passion now burning bright he convinces his father of his new path and finally gets to live the life of his dreams.

This is an article about a movie about 3 idiots teaching us how to live 3 principles for a richer and more satisfying life.

Who knew watching movies can be more than about entertainment.