3 Idiots directed by Rajkumar Hirani is a 2009 Bollywood movie which is supposed to be the adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel ‘Five Point Someone’. While Bhagat’s novel did well commercially, it did not manage to receive good critical acclaim. Critics went as far as calling Five Point Someone “fast food literature” and “bollywood on paper”, claiming that it acts as an anecdotal alone and when adapted into a movie, the movie would need a plot, establishing the fact that the novel lacks a proper plot. While the movie is considered the adaptation of the novel, a lot of variations in the two makes it difficult to think so. In the making of the movie, names, relations, and even the ending has changed, thus losing the essence of what Chetan Bhagat had written for his readers and expected the movie to show the audience. However, the movie proves to be an international success while the novel is hardly known to anyone if not for the movie itself.
Picture Credits: Times of India
The movie as well as the book is narrated by Farhan/Hari such that we soon figure out that the protagonist of the story is in fact Rancho/Ryan. Another friend in their trio is Raju/Alok whose character hardly covers any distance from the book to the movie, one might as well confuse them for two totally different characters if not given the liability of the family on the character. The book has comparatively fewer episodes that include Professor Viru Sahastrabuddhi/Professor Cherian. The movie forms its shape and structure based on Professor Sahastrabuddhi’s actions and thoughts. His daughter Piya/Neha has a different outlook altogether in the movie and the book. Similarly, the movie spares more action to Chatur/Venkat than the book manages to.
Farhan narrates the movie to the audience from the time he joins IIT to become an engineer after being pressured by his parents to do so, while he himself wants to pursue a degree in wildlife photography. As the movie moves forward, he remains a major character as one, he is our tie to their past and the present where the movie is taking place, and two, as he develops as a round character throughout the movie becoming the protagonist’s friend and determining his actions too. Hari on the other hand holds more relevance in the book. His personal life is also majorly shown in the book where he dates Neha, Professor Cherian’s daughter. This is one complete deviation in the movie from the novel itself. As their relationship progresses, Hari keeps addressing incidents that take place in his college life, but with time they decide to break up to maintain a healthy career.
Alok, in the book, is shown as a fat, diffident character who wants to pursue engineering to support his family’s financial conditions, however, he feels like he will not be able to do so if he maintains his friendship with Ryan, a rich guy who prioritizes learning over education. The movie on the other hand shows Raju as intrinsically the same but in the ideal image of a hero, lean and good looking which takes away a major portion of Alok’s identity away from the story. Raju and Alok both have a driving force, a motivation and that is to get the character’s sister married into a good family.
Ryan is the protagonist, the one the book is not mainly about. The book is more like Hari’s quest in figuring out his friend’s life. Rancho in the movie is a round character that develops over time, dates Professor Viru Sahastrabuddhi’s daughter, Piya for a while before leaving the college after the graduation. This makes the audience wonder about the past of the character which they later figure out when they are exposed to the fact that Rancho is in fact Phunsukh Wangdu, and lived in the college with a false identity. The ending is very different from that of the book, where Phunsukh and Piya finally meet.
There have been continuous conflicts between Rajkumar Hirani and Chetan Bhagat about the credits given to him at the end of the movie, while he was promised they would be in the beginning of the movie. The movie quite literally lost bhagat in the way to stardom.