Many would agree that one of the best movies every engineering student should watch is 3 Idiots.
It is a Bollywood (India) Film that takes you along on the journey of three friends through engineering school, from freshmen to senior year and beyond.
It also shows many aspects of life, like love, family, friendship, dreams, struggles, success, and occasional musicals.
I love this feel-good movie so much that I would re-watch all 2hrs and 50mins of it every once in a while, particularly when I lack inspiration.
One of my college professors mentioned that every engineering student could be compared to one of the four main characters of the film — the three friends and their nemesis.
When asked, most would automatically pick Rancho. But to be honest, most of us are either a Raju, a Farhan, or a Chatur.
While browsing, Netflix recommended the movie, so I decided to start watching. It may have been years since I last watched the film, and this time, it felt like watching a different film altogether.
Since its release in 2009 (I was a freshman then), I watched it several times throughout my five years in Engineering.
However, at that time, I was watching from the point of view of a student. While this time, I am watching from the perspective of an engineering instructor, wondering if I am slowly turning into a ViruS.
So, here are the four characters with which most of the students will likely relate, or a combination of them.
3 Idiots #1 – Raju
Raju is an engineering student who wants to be an engineer ever since he was young.
He has the potential, but he is afraid. He has a fear of failure, which limits his ability to learn.
He also came from an underprivileged family, which means that expectations for him are high. And will potentially be the breadwinner of the family once he lands a job.
He has the heaviest burden to carry among the characters because of his responsibility to his family.
3 Idiots #2 – Farhan
Farhan is an engineering student who doesn’t want to be an engineer.
His father pushed him to take the course because of the opportunity or prestige the title/degree brings.
Unfortunately, he may not have been consulted on what he wants to be.
His passion is on something else but was not supported by his family due to reasons of practicality.
I know several people who were pressured to take engineering. Some survived and came to love it, while others did not end well.
Chatur aka Silencer
Chatur was a focused engineering student. Since entering the school, his eyes are set on the prize.
He wants to be an engineer just as much as Raju, but the difference is their drive. He is very goal-oriented and believes that sacrifices need to be made to obtain success.
He is an achiever and wants to be the best — whatever means necessary. Too bad there is someone better than him…
3 Idiots #3 – Rancho
Rancho is a rare type of student. He is a genius.
To add to his intelligence, he has a passion for learning — just for the sake of learning. He doesn’t study very much but still finishes on top.
He sees the world in a different way than most people, which contributes to his excellence.
I hope to meet a Rancho someday.
Looking from hindsight, though things are very much different now than when I was still a student, I think I was a hybrid of Raju and Chatur.
I was studying for the opportunities that engineering can bring but not for the sake of learning. I only wanted success — whatever that means.
As time passed and I learned a lot more, I started to look at things in a different light, hoping that one day, just maybe, I can progress to be a Rancho.
For students, it is understandable to think you are special. But there is a quality that separates a Raju, a Farhan, and a Chatur from a Rancho — it is the desire for excellence. Just like his mantra, “Pursue excellence and success will follow.”
So learn how to learn, have a passion for learning, and apply what you’ve learned.
To my past, present, and future students, may you pursue excellence.
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