Sunday, January 03, 2010

3 idiots controversy

I am rather well placed to comment on the 3 idiots controversy. I have seen the movie and read the book (and I read it after it came out, not after the recent controversy). But, first, let us get the factual position sorted out. The only clear statement of the factual position I have seen appeared in TOI today. I am unable to access the soft version of this story, so here is the gist.

Going by the TOI report, Vidhu Vinod Chopra bought the film rights to the book. This gave him the freedom to adapt the book as he liked and it was also agreed that Bhagat would be mentioned in the credits towards the end. Chopra says Bhagat has been paid the bonus promised. Chopra took the book as a starting point and got his people to produce something that would be film material.

So, it's not clear what Bhagat is upset about. There is a legal contract between him and Chopra and if there is a breach of contract, Bhagat has recourse. An excellent analysis of the legal issues and also the similarities between the movie and the book may be found here.

Now, for my two cents on this controversy. I was reluctant to watch the movie after having read the book because I didn't think the book had material for a lively movie. My wife persuaded me to watch the movie saying that it had only used the book as a starting point.

While watching the movie, I got the feeling this was indeed true. The basic idea may have come from the book but Bollywood has adapted it as only Bollywood can and added it to the masala that makes for a successful movie. One telling example is that the professor in the book is turned into the college's director and the character in the movie looms much larger than in the book. It's a huge difference. Again, the hero in the movie (Aamir Khan) is a far more interesting character than the hero of the book.

One final point: I found the movie absorbing but I can't say that of the book.

14 comments:

Partha Pratim said...

Completely agree Sir. CB himself admitted in a press release about being content with the way the script of 3I shaped up finally. Now the same CB is telling the world that he never read the final script. What a contradiction!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you sir.. I read the book after watching the film and found that the storyline was different. Some incidents in the movie have the base from the book, but the execution is completely different. Like Rancho doesn't succumb to ragging, Raju suicides cos he has to choose btn friend n his studies,they steal the question paper for a completely different reason.only scene which resembled the book version was the one about Raju's family..so i feel its not 70% as CB claims.

Lalit S Chowdhary said...

Sorry Sir, I don't agree with your views expressed in the blog. Chetan is not fighting for money or rights, he is fighting for due credit for story. We must respect the author, how difficult can that be?

Anonymous said...

Sir, I think all CB wants is cheap publicity to sell more copies of his utterly unimaginative mediocre books and guess what he has succeeded in doing just that. Most places 5PS is not available. Guess he will receiving fat royalty cheques from his publishers in coming months. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with your opinion...the issue was never about the money but the placing of the credit... I agree that a large portion of the the book has been altered and I'm NOT a CB fan... but even in Hollywood movies, if a book forms the source material for a movie, the author and the movie is duly credited in the opening credits.

Do read Vir Sanghvi's Counterpoint here http://www.virsanghvi.com/vir-world-ArticleDetail.aspx?ID=415


Also... I would recommend you to read here, about how contracts in Bollywood are manipulating and never in favour of writers http://moifightclub.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/dear-rajkumar-hirani-time-to-put-your-hand-on-vvcs-crotch-and-say-aal-izz-well/

Himanshu said...

i too agree with that and have the same opinion

GK said...

Well it is a stupid marketing plug in my opinion. Bhagat keeps saying "read the book and watch the film and then judge". Hirani is a film director witha fantastic record. His films dont need such garbage publicity. Unfortunately Bhagat's trash needs it and he is making it available.

Dr.Nilesh patel said...

i think...society and students are not interested in controversies but they are interested in changes in education systems and issues parenting like...a child bird with robot wings!, robot or individuality?, r we teaching the race ?...etc. plz visit www.garbhsanskar2.blogspot.com

nupur said...

well the movie is not similar in all the ways to CBhagat's 5.someone....
like i guess 40% is the book story and rest 60% are chopra's brain
chetan bhagat should be happy to know that his name is recommended in the movie...what else do u expect man????

nupur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I watched 3 idiots and now i am seeing the fourth idiot. It is nothing but you.

You never understand the book nor understand the movie.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I watched 3 idiots and now i am seeing the fourth idiot. It is nothing but you.

You never understand the book nor understand the movie.

Sidhartha said...

sorry sir, i beg to differ, i have read the book (before movie) and seen the movie also. besides i am a fan of both Chetan and Aamir. the film story may have projected some of the characters in more masala role but virtually all the characters in the movie have originated from the book. the book has excellent plot. without the book the film story would not have originated even. so i think chetan deserves the credit for that.

Anonymous said...

Well, without chetan bhagat voicing his concerns, very few would have realized that the plot fo the moview and its characters basically come from his novel.

Common people understand it has Hirani's film, rather than of Chetan Bhagat. Should Hirani get the various awards for legally taking rights to Chetan's story?