A Writer's Room in an Idiot's Abode

I am among those many people who happened to read the Chetan Bhagat Bestseller Five Point Someone years back, before the movie 3 Idiots came into picture lately. And I must congratulate Chetan for such an entertaining piece of work. The book is indeed one of it's kind and I had been a great fan of Chetan since then. I was hooked up to FPS like a bee to a hive and had finished the book over a long weekend, almost within three days. To brief the overall experience of reading the book, it was altogether a very unique genre of story telling - a graphic way of writing wherein words were simply used to create pictures in front of your eyes. That is the beauty of this IITian. I loved the book, the plot, the characters and the style by which the author had put forth the story. The story doesn't stop with mere being entertaining rather, it imparts a very serious message to the society - the drawbacks of the current education system. And that is the significant feature of this masterpiece. With all the fans this first time author has won, which is a very rare phenomenon these days, Chetan truly deserves more than just a big applause.

As a first time reader, I was very much aware of the fact that the book was soon to be molded into a Hindi film. That is exactly what was being published on the cover pages of the book. And I am happy that the movie is live and starred by one of my favorite actors Aamir Khan in the lead role. I happened to watch the movie this weekend and this was when I felt like commenting over the fuss that has been gaining bandwidth in air and space in the newspaper columns. For a while, I have been reading the reactions of the supporters and the critics who have watched the movie but not read the book, read the book but yet to watch the movie and the ones who had watched the movie and read the book as well.

As a result, prejudices and mixed opinions were engulfing me before I was about to watch the movie. Given that the movie was made by some reputed director and was enacted by one of the most successful movie stars who believed in quality work, I expected it to be a good piece of work. To my dismay, it stood below all my expectations. Although, the film was successful in collecting huge money all over the country, that really doesn't gain much significance in my opinion esp. when I think and compare it to the original creation of the author - his book. I really do not want to get into the dirty politics being used by the film makers of the movie to promote and sell the movie. That is something that the Bollywood folks are best at. The movie at times gives us a good chance to stretch our lips - all credits to the father of the original wits, the author himself. On the other hand, the innovation that the film makers have tried to push within the movie makes it nothing better than pathetic. Their creativity fails with their silly attempts to feature a baby delivery scene in an obscene way. That is where Bollywood sucks at. It really hurts when they say that the movie is loosely inspired from the book when the primary concept, the jokes and the message was used from the book.

I am forced to accept that the entire episode and disregard duly hurts the writer community at a broader level. I can feel the disgust when Chetan wrote on his blog 'Imagine someone takes your child, dresses him up and tells the world it is theirs'. As far as Aamir's comment on this issue is concerned, I disagree to it too. When the author said that he felt neglected, it just meant that he merely expected his well deserved recognition; popularity ain't the destiny of the talent. You are indeed a great actor and so be it and your fans really do not need your comments on this issue.

Authors and script writers have always been one of the driving forces behind great cinemas and plays. The entire episode was an outburst of the front stage players overriding the back stage inspiration. Come on Bollywood, you need to learn to play a gentleman now.


  1. i would rather not think deeply on the issue.. cos it was more of a publicity stunt.. its a typical norm that bad publicity is infact good publicity..
    if you remember a couple of years back.. a similar issue happened with Da Vinci Code.. and the sales of the book n movie in india catapulted to new heights all due to the issues created by it.. so its jus a matter of stirring enough controversy to increase the sales.. now i've heard CB has bought a house close to AK so there.. aal izz well :D

  2. But when they say that credits & payments are given to the source, then what is the fuss all about.... Whatever!!!! Both are doing well, fooling us & profiting out of it..... Both the movie as well as the book..... Movie may be I would have watched, which I have not till now, but I don't think I would have even thought about the book, unless it was POPULARIZED.... THIS WAY......

    So the Moral of the Story is....All Is WELL!!!


  3. Ideally I do not think the movie has anything to do with the book. Yes it is 'Adapted' from the book, but nope...the movie sucked bigtime..

    It does not happen in real life, Chetan wrote the book cos he is learned writer like us, however the movie is written by the same lunatic team who think they are different than the rest of us...

    so its fair that chetan had nothing to do with it.
    I liked it that way.

  4. Yep agree with you. The movie sucked BIG time. I hated the movie. Especially those ragging scenes and the delivery scenes made me puke (almost). Maybe because I really liked 5.someone a lot. And Aamir in no way looks like a college brat. He looks like an uncle even with all the makeup.

  5. haha the publicity stunt it was, i duly enjoyed reading the book and watching the movie, ofcourse its bolloywood movie and scenes like the delivery one re very much required LOL

  6. Well,

    Wat ever the propaganda was i dont want to recollect but

    there only similarities in the both works are good enough in their own respective places.

  7. In any business,it is more important to get return on the investment.

  8. Suprisingly, after so much ill-feelings and rhetorics of Chetan Bhagat towards the Three Idiots team, he seems to have calmed down claiming the dispute has been settled. This eraction was obvious after the sale of his books showed an upward trend. Sadly, the audiences and readers were taken for a ride because this controversy was meant to benefit only the movie and the book. We are now left feeling like idiots and I certainly dont mean it in a good sense!

  9. At last mr chetan got what he wanted i hope..

  10. Am eagerly waiting to catch up on the movie and also read the book!

    Thanks for an insightful write-up!

  11. You know if you see the movie without thinking of the book, it is nice...that is why it is breaking all records, but the fact that there are so many less readers in our country, that FPS despite being such a hit, hasnt been read by many....
    FPS, is definitely better than the story( I dont think he can emulate that success ever )...I felt bad for Chetan, but he has no choice, ppl have made money from his only good book and he has got peanuts for it.....


  12. I would disagree with you on this issue. Ofcourse, on the hint side eveything seems to be driven for xtra mileage. (Last hear, FPS has got a wonderful rerun thanks to all this controversy) Secondly, I dont find reason why CB has to cry foul at this whole issue. He is no average writer who is taken for ride by filmwalas. For God's sake he has the brain of IIR and IIM , has a bank experience and associated with a movie earlier (hello, if anyone remembers the movie based on his novel "One night @ call center) So when he signed up the contract , he should have cleared all the points. Since the movie is hit everyone wants to join the winning race. When the movie "hello" flopped, where is CB?

    I have read FPS years back and also seen this movie, I can only say the movie is loosely based on the novel. So at the end of the day its a win-win to all parties concerned thanks to controversy and that says a lot when CB finally asked to bury the issue and move ahead... *sighs* It's all in the game, you see :)

  13. Haha. I see your concern regarding CB's credits. I liked the movie. Yeah, few things were over the top, but I did not go expecting it to be very close to reality either, hence no disappointments. The theme was nice. I am not a fan of CB's writing, and hence will refrain from commenting and hurting anyone's sentiments on this space. Also, I wouldn't completely agree that the movie is a direct derivative of FPS, where it would not be wrong to say I could see a link somewhere. Like you, I too read FPS years ago, hence pardon me for my ignorance, if at all :)

  14. nice observation Neeraj.Somewhere I think CB felt a little let down that the movie did so well but he kind of underestimated it while accepting the adaptation cheque.

    Just a thought..on your header you wrote "lets talk on life"...was this by design ? or did you mean let's talk about life ?

  15. i wud say the movie is better than the book, there is a huge difference the way a book is writeen and a movie is made... movies cant have simple plots, if a movie has to work in india, it has to have the hugeness and masala which the movies supplements

  16. I am yet to see the movie and I have not read the book. Regarding neglecting the original author I think it is a gimmick to publicize the movie as is a general practice in filmdom.

  17. i have not seen the movie. but read the book and was disappointed with it. doesn't mean Chetan doesn't write well, just I couldn't appreciate it.
    on the controversy, if there is a contract, Chetan shouldn't complain.
    Sometimes, its not someone snatching a child and dressing it to claim it as their own,
    Sometimes it could be consenting to have your child appear in an ad film and then sulking your child wasn't given the importance, you thought it deserved..

    the three idiots team are atleast better than majority in bollywood, where scripts are blantant "inspirations" of non-Bollywood movies.

    IF Chetan had signed a non-disclosure clause, he should have handled it differently..making an issue out of a non-issue is not a great example for the writers community too..

  18. Yours was a very well-written and well-thought out post. I enjoyed watching that movie..I analysed it from the point of view of the Indian education system. Even posted about it on my blog: http://literarybonanza.blogspot.com/2010/01/3-idiots-and-indian-education-system.html
    I deliberately didn't mention the controversy, becaue we can never know the real truth behind it. But I liked your post..thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  20. Neeraj I might disagree with you on this. FPS was (and still is) a rage with a class(es) of readers whereas 3 Idiots is a rage with masses. However, this FPS vs. 3 Idiots is bit strange, the author himself gave his rights and a new story developed on his plot. It is not just having a kid dressed up, it's like a kid who is being raised up by a person other than his mother. Secondly, bollywood is an industry, their motive is profit. So there is nothing wrong is this.

    And this I say while I haven't liked any of Aamir Khan's movie after Lagaan.

  21. A reason to write back...

    My family is still suffering from the disease called 3 idiots...I think the whole nation is still there to consider...