Well, Bollywood has never been kind to writers, not even the popular ones. And finally Chetan Bhagat gets a taste of it. I had my doubts from the day I had seen the Preface of 3 Mistakes of my Life where Bhagat very generously thanked the whole film industry involved in adapting his books. Sometimes, getting too pally with these guys could be like playing with fire. Film industry is not a bad place. But it just functions with different rules. And the makers of 3 Idiots claiming that Bhagat is fame hungry gets some back up from his past actions. Here I neither take sides with Bhagat or VVC and Raju Hirani. But let’s face it. All izz not well…

In fact, after first two books, Bhagat’s last two novels were written as almost screenplays in a Bollywood Masala kind of formats. First he ended up giving his One Night @ Call Center in hands of Atul Agnihotri (please!) and then this happens. Five Point Someone is a cult that started all the IIT, MBA types of fiction and made writers out of many people who came out of top notch institutes. But only Bhagat has made such a huge success out of it so far.
And as far as movie adaptations are concerned, there have always been questions raised about how much essence of the book is in the films. Writers can fume over it or take it with a pinch of salt. I just read Bhagat’s blog and his side of the truth, while the cast and crew of the film is singing another tune. Both sides will have their argument, but for outsiders it just proves a few points like, in India, adapting a novel by a living writer (you know what they did to Sharat Chandra’s Devdas twice in past one decade) may not be a safe thing for the writer.
Along with a lot of other filmmaking issues (look at how they managed to waste crores of rupees on nonsense movies in 2009), people here lack the sensibility of adapting a book. Sorry for the cliched comparison but filmmakers in the West generally know how to adapt a book or just take inspiration and generally not get into controversies but get mileage out of it. They even have a separate award category for the adapted material on screen…
I somehow felt the movie 3 Idiots (adapted from the book or not) was a decent effort but it was no Munnabhai. The movie tries too hard to be good. It has the chuckles and also has the heart in the right place as many reviewers have already told the world. But in spite of taking premises from a successful novel and giving it their own twist, why the hell did they cast a 45 year old actor as a college student? It has nothing to do with willing suspension of disbelief. Yes, Amir Khan can play the role, he does a good job and his fans are happy all over the world, but what was he thinking when he accepted this role?
And for VVC and Raju Hirani, I’m just thankful that they didn’t cast Sanjay Dutt with a paunch as a student in this one… Though they should have handled the Chetan Bhagat issue rather tactfully. If they already knew they were going on a different track from the novel, why did they play along with the poor (just metaphorically I mean) writer for so long. I even find Abhijat Joshi’s presence in the content, no arguments over there. Seems like Bhagat just ended up mangled with the wrong team, and the 3 Idiots team didn’t realize they were writing an original (?) story based on premises of an already occupied land.
Since past few months, especially when Bhagat had to resort to his own love story for the fourth book, it looked like he was running out of ideas and material. Perhaps, this issue would provide him with inspiration to write a novel about injustice in Bollywood from personal experience, or is this issue more fit for Madhur Bhandarkar?
One good thing comes out for Bhagat from this episode is, all those who have not read Five Point Someone yet would go out and buy it…

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