Saturday, 22 January 2011

stupidly good

i was a bit skeptical when my family wanted to sit down and watch an indian movie, three idiots. now, don't get me wrong, i have nothing against movies from outside hollywood. in fact, i quite enjoy a lot of foreign and sometimes, independent films (i think my personal favourite is amelie). however, bollywood movies have a shady track record with me, and i wasn't inclined to watch it over some other highly rated movies i had in mind. that being said, i am not at home much, so i didn't complain, and those 'highly-rated' movies have been quite a letdown - especially recently where i find hollywood movies are lacking that originality and panache that usually draws me to them.

in any case, three idiots was actually a pretty immersing film! i thoroughly enjoyed it and i would recommend it to any reader inclined to give it a go. it's not particularly mind-blowing, but i think the script is original (for what a language foreign to me can be), cinematography is up there, and you get all the classic bits of a bollywood piece (yeah, all the dancing, vibrant colours, sing-along-songs, etc etc).

i don't really want to comment on the movie as a whole. instead, there were a few particular points that really caught me and i'd like to touch on that:

1. academia as a business. now, for those who know me, you'd know my particularly utopian views on academia. how pristine and independent it should be; how holistic and thought-provoking it should hold itself. and for obvious reasons, i criticise heavily the holy motherland's ethics and practices, but that's for another day. in any case, the act of the dean churning out 1st classes or a's instead of thinking students is pretty much exemplary of how things shouldn't be done.

2. learn with passion, and everything else will follow. this is kind of the main character's dogma - he argues that one should be passionate about what one is learning, and the grades will follow. i am a big believer of this, such that it should follow that teaching institutions should design with this concept in mind to encourage self-teaching and exploration. discovery is the essence of tertiary education, and those pieces of paper known as degrees should not be currency for finding jobs, instead should be certificates of pride and adoration.

however, i thoroughly disagree with the main character's not practicing what he preaches. slacking off just because he is gifted is exactly what is wrong with many students nowadays (and i say this not because i am one or against that, but because it is true). additionally, encouraging behaviour that lead to his two best friends' failure to even pass (or barely pass)? yeah, questionable friendship etiquette right there.

3. true love, instead of settling. well, a bit of yes and no here. i like the whole concept of fated love. destiny and all that jazz. and the whole 'being able to be casual' around someone else is a definite thumbs up. but the movie obviously overly-dramaticises the concept. to the extent that it makes me facepalm. there's way too much going on for this guy that it makes me sick. kinda. well. a bit green there but you know what i mean. come on, no matter how much of a fatalist you are, there's no way a pretty lady is going to wait on you hand and foot for 10-odd years. and drop from her own wedding, ditching the rich bridegroom. then have a dream revelation come to life where she enacts the guy's very fantasy? yeah... that's pushing it. just no.

4. don't stop believing. ok so positive energy is a good thing. but portraying that everyone could get what they wanted in life is an old and tiring cliche. i would expect this from a hollywood feel-good movie, but seeing it here, time and again... especially in the context where even if you slack off in life, you can get where you always wanted. and then shove it in the face of the man. that's pushing it. still would like to believe, though.


the girl in stiletto said...

you should watch heartbreaker. french movie. it's better than amelie, in my opinion. funny.

etc said...

awesome! will download this... i mean buy this... when i get the chance.