This article was first published in 2015

At the very outset let me say that Raju Hirani had changed his style of film making with PK considerably. His previous movies be it the Munnabhai Series or 3 idiots were never so vocal about the director’s complaints with the “system”. It was only later after watching the complete movie that we realized how brilliantly 3 idiots has critiqued the Indian education system (without letting us feel that it is being criticized upon). The best comic scene in 3 idiots would agreeably be Chatur’s teacher’s day speech which not only entertained audiences in a fresh manner (continuous hilarity compared to one-off comedy in Munnabhai) but very subtly showcased the effects of the education system India is following.

Although some might say that it was exaggerated but that has been Raju’s style and exaggeration has always found favor with the Indian audiences. Compare this with the comic scenes in PK where comedy has been generated by the protagonist’s strangeness (and subsequent questions) to the religions adopted in the country which may not bear relation with the message it has conveyed. After all PK does not say that fashion according to religion is illogical and bad. It only says that blind faith on religion, which is being increasingly twisted as it passes through the centuries facilitated by god men, is bad. Or maybe I am wrong in saying that PK is only a satire on religion as practiced by people in which case I’ll have to watch the movie again to uncover its hidden and originally-intended message.

"PK' and ' 3 idiots' movie posters
“PK’ and ‘ 3 idiots’ movie posters

Coming to the novel questions that Aamir asks in the movie they suffer from the fallacy of over-simplification thus making one class of people realize that the questions could have been better or that Oh My God conveyed the message better. Perhaps Raju Hirani’s modus operandi had been already used in OMG which is why the makers thought of tweaking their style. Again Hirani’s craft lies in sketching out each character and integrating the varied emotions and thought process of each character. For e.g. one major reason for Kareena Kapoor (Piya) to fall for Aamir Khan (Rancho) in 3 idiots was because of his revolting nature against the education something which she shared too albeit discreetly as she herself grew up in a household which caricatured this system executed by her own father. Contrast this with PK where the stories of the supporting characters seem half-baked. For instance Jaggu’s (Anushka Sharma’s) affection for Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh Rajput) and vice-versa comes across as random and does not occur as a result of a meeting of their minds and hearts or at least so it seems.

Coming to numbers (an important but not conclusive parameter to determine which is a better movie) it would be wrong not to attribute 3 idiots‘s success to wide scale marketing. After all 3 idiots was given the largest release at that time with close to 2000 screens showing the movie. However the film came at a time when multiplexes were not common in this country and there was not so much competition among the movies for the audience’s time but it still made money enough to become a milestone in its own right. This only shows that more no. of people have watched 3 idiots than PK could manage in its lifetime. This only happens when there is a stronger word of mouth publicity. 3 idiots was based on a theme which remains relevant universally whereas PK‘s relevance is restricted to India. Thus box office numbers can only contribute so much in determining the question which movie is better. Plus numbers are misleading given the fact that new releases of Raju Hirani will always be compared with his previous blockbusters in this case 3 idiots and this dampens the business of the new movie.

Considering all the reasons mentioned above and all the factors beyond the control of the moviemaker I’d say that 3 idiots edges past PK marginally but only if I have been able to correctly identify both the movies as described in the above paragraphs.  3 idiots has been liked by everyone to the same measure. PK has received superior likeness by some while some would label it above average. The Indian audiences are changing and so has the film maker. Only the change has not been so appreciated as it should have been (or expected to have been) according to me. 3 idiots would have been received similarly if it had been released in 2014 and not 2009.

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  1. 3 Idiots and PK cannot be compared.

    PK offered nothing extraordinary. The first half was very good but the second half was awful.

    Movies like 3 Idiots come once in a lifetime. 3 Idiots has raised the standard to extreme high level. PK wasn’t even close to that.

    PK was a good movie but comparing to 3 Idiots, PK deserves 1 star.

    Despite releasing in 2009, 3 Idiots made a collection of 202 crores and another 126 crores from overseas market. If 3 Idiots was released in 2014, it would have earned around 550 crores(Nett) in domestic market and 275 crores from overseas. It’s total would have crossed 1000 crores.

  2. 3 Idiots & Lage Raho Munna Bhai both were atleast 5 times better than pk……
    I agree that ‘pk’ is a gud movie but it stands no where in comparison to Raju Hirani’s previous masterpieces…..

  3. Pk and 3 idiots both are great only because of the great screen presence of megastar king khan aamir. without aamir 3 idiots and pk couldn’t have been great..

  4. Business wise, i agree 3 idiots would have been a bigger grosser than PK if it had been released today. But that is the case with all major blockbusters of the past.

  5. Movies are only recognized at the box office, not in content, talent artist, etc.
    In rolling porn – is unprecedented huge box office!
    This confirms the film 3Idiota “perfectionist, honor and conscience of the nation” Aamir Khan.
    The film touches upon the problems of youth: cramming and dictates of parents to choose the profession of children. Under the guise of relevant topics for hype for the film used a natural interest in the 16-20 years for everything that is related to sexual relationships, win-win situation.
    Vulgar scenes of initiation into the students (youth of the bad Hollywood movies), toilet humor (dancing on the toilet is even Hollywood can not remember), display a poster of the structure of women’s bodies, making childbirth – showed all that other actors would be ashamed to do …
    Speech at the meeting-old technique, a new degree in disgust spoken.
    Director of the college – part of the character of ridicule in films, but this insanity was not. Frames with spermatazoidami- old cliché, first shown in the film – “Look Who’s Talking” (Eng. Look Who’s Talking) – movie, filmed in 1989, directed by Amy Heckerling. Starring John Travolta, Kirstie
    Abstruse explanation of the mechanism – also from Hollywood movies.
    If you remove all of the obscene film, served as “a terrific sense of humor AamirKhana” young people will not go to the movie !!!
    This is confirmed by comments that 3 Idiots funnier PC, ie only see the humor below the belt.
    Is adult film business from (all judgments about the quality of the film-what did the cashier), critics do not realize you’ve made 3-4 years debauchery youth film 3 Idiots?
    I think that the film 3Idiota – harmful to youth

  6. Pk is much better than 3 idiots,it’s a fact. Pk is not being appreciated as much because many youngsters could easily relate to 3 idiots but pk had a much more universal message and much more relevant one.

  7. I think PK is better movie because of the fact that its novelty and execution. 3 Idiots is of course a great movie but before release itself one can say it is safe subject (took it from 5 point someone novel). PK subject is versatile, nobody knows how it will be received by people. Director, products and AK needs guts to present such subject to larger audience. So i vote for PK.

  8. To me, 3 Idiots is better than PK, though PK is a good movie as well. Either is entertaining and tried giving messages, but 3 Idiots had done more subtly and successfully than PK. 3Idiots feel like nostalgic and freshness still, at least to me. So, I would give my favour to 3Idiots.

    By the way, almost forgot to say, in my opinion, Raj Kumar’s best work is, his very first work, Munna Bhai MBBS. Kia Bolta Mamu!

  9. The film “3 Idiots” – a copy of many Hollywood films …. Scenes from
    spermotazoidy – the movie “Look Who’s Talking” 1989 Speech Amir – Series “The Big Bang Theory” in 2007, falling pants with characters in the film – Hollywood clichés, etc …. Did vulgar film with humor below the belt the young people with low intelligence, cultural level …


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