Fenil and Bollywood

Blame it on the idiots?

Posted on: January 9, 2010

From suicides to ragging, Aamir Khan’s film seems be everyone’s favourite alibi

By Chandrima Pal (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 05, 2010)

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// The most successful Hindi film in a long time, has managed to get mired in endless controversies. In a season of mudslinging over intellectual rights, ragging, a spate of suicides among young children and teenagers, 3 Idiots, toplining Aamir Khan, has emerged as the most handy alibi.

Ironically, for the filmmakers, with their purported intent of discouraging ragging and creating awareness about student suicides and academic pressures, these are the very ills it seems to have been held guilty of encouraging.

Take the case of the students ragging at Naigaon hostel attached to the Seth GS medical college, KEM. The seniors allegedly claimed to have been ‘inspired’ by the movie while ragging their juniors. The 18 miscreants, now out on bail, stirred up a hornet’s nest, with the matter now hotting up the Mantralaya floors.

So much so, Vijay Kumar Gavit, medical education minister, Maharashtra, will  be watching the film today with his team of ministers and experts, including doctors. “I have been told parents of the accused blamed the film 3 Idiots for encouraging their children to perform such an act. On Tuesday, I intend to watch the movie to find out if there is any such obscene content that could trigger this kind of behaviour. I will then get the Censor Board to take action”

Meanwhile, Varsha Gaikwad, minister of state for medical education, too, has written to the Censor Board asking them not to allow ragging scenes in films. “Some media reports say that the KEM students were influenced by 3 Idiots. We are discussing this issue with the Chief Minister and writing to the Censor Board to delete such ragging scenes from the films. Of course, students need to understand the difference between reel and real life,” said Gaikwad.

Sources say, makers of 3 Idiots had actively contemplated creating a fund with an NGO to create awareness about student suicides. But did not manage to identify an NGO that could help them do so.  When contacted, director Raju Hirani said, “Ragging exists in our society, just as murder or rape and other heinous crimes. Does that mean  none of it is shown in our films? Our attempt was to show ragging in a poor light. Aamir, the protagonist, never rags through the four years of his student life. He just teaches his seniors a lesson. We are not supporting ragging in any way.”

As if being dragged into the ragging controversy was not enough, the film has also been held responsible for encouraging student suicides. When 11-year-old Neha Sawant committed suicide in on Saturday, neighbours and friends spoke off the record about how the child, who allegedly watched 3 Idiots recently, may have been influenced by the film’s suicide scenes to end her life. Similarly in another incident of a 12-year-old-boy committing suicide in his school, parents have officially blamed the movie for ‘inspiring’ their son to end his life. In both the cases, the children were allegedly struggling with poor academic performances.

Hirani refused to comment on the suicides.

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