3 Idiots

2009 film directed by Rajkumar Hirani

3 Idiots (stylized as 3 idiots) is a 2009 Indian Hindi-language coming-of-age comedy drama film written, edited and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, co-wtitten by Abhijat Joshi and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra under the banner of Vinod Chopra Films. Adapted from Chetan Bhagat's novel Five Point Someone, the film stars Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi in the titular roles, marking their reunion three years after Rang De Basanti (2006), while Kareena Kapoor, Omi Vaidya and Boman Irani star in pivotal roles. Narrated through two parallel dramas, one in the present and the other set ten years in the past, the story follows the friendship of three students at an Indian engineering college and is a satire about the social pressures under the Indian education system.

3 Idiots
Directed byRajkumar Hirani
Written byAbhijat Joshi
Rajkumar Hirani
Screenplay by
Based onFive Point Someone
by Chetan Bhagat
Produced byVidhu Vinod Chopra
Narrated byR. Madhavan
CinematographyC. K. Muraleedharan
Edited byRajkumar Hirani
Music byScore:
Sanjay Wandrekar
Atul Raninga
Shantanu Moitra
Shantanu Moitra
Distributed byReliance BIG Pictures
Release date
  • 25 December 2009 (2009-12-25) (India)
Running time
171 minutes[1]
Budget 550 million[2][3]
Box officeest. 4.60 billion[4][5]


Produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra under the banner Vinod Chopra Films, and based on Chetan Bhagat's novel Five Point Someone: What not to do at IIT!,[6][7][8] the movie joined genuine Indian developments made by Remya Jose, Mohammad Idris, Jahangir Painter and Sonam Wangchuk. [9] The movie released on December 25, 2009 and was a critical and commercial success. It was also the highest-grossing movie in its opening weekend in India, had the highest opening day collections for an Indian movie up until that point and also held the record for the highest net collections in the first week for a Bollywood movie. It additionally got one of only a handful few Indian movies at an opportunity to get successful in East Asian business sectors, for example, China and Japan, at last carrying its overall gross to ₹3.92 billion ($90 million)[4][5] — it was the highest-grossing Indian movie ever at the time.[10] The movie likewise socially affected perspectives to schooling in India, and also education in other Asian nations, for example, China.


The movie won six Filmfare Awards including Best Film and three National Film Awards including Best Popular Film. Overseas, it won the Grand Prize at Japan's Videoyasan Awards[11][12][13] while it was nominated for Best Outstanding Foreign Language Film at the Japan Academy Awards[14][15] and Best Foreign Film at China's Beijing International Film Festival.[16] In 2012, a Tamil remake of the film was released and it was called Nanban and in 2017, a Mexican remake of the film was released and it was called 3 Idiotas.


The film begins with wildlife photographer Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan) boarding his flight from Delhi when he receives a phone-call from Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya), his biggest rival from college, who claims to be knowing the whereabouts of his long-lost friend and collegemate named Ranchhoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad a.k.a. Rancho (Aamir Khan). Right when his airplane takes off, Farhan fakes a heart attack to create an emergency landing of his flight and escapes from the airport in someone else's booked taxi at the arrival terminal. While on his way to the house of another friend and collegemate named Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi), who is now married and lives a reputed lifestyle, Farhan contacts him and apprises him of this development before being joined by Raju from outside the latter's house.

Subsequently, the duo rushes to the campus of their former college called the Imperial College of Engineering (ICE) and meet Chatur, who reminds them of the long-forgotten bet he had made with the group 10 years ago about who will end up more successful in the next 10 years, and boasts to them about his more successful career in the United States as the vice president of Rockledge Corporation, an American conglomerate. Frustrated, Farhan and Raju lose their temper at Chatur for his pretext to bring them to the place, but calm down when Chatur reveals that he has traced Rancho to Shimla. The three of them then begin their journey to Shimla in search of Rancho as Farhan reminisces about their college days.

Over a flashback 10 years prior, it is shown that Farhan joined the prestigious ICE since his orthodox father (Parikshit Sahni) forced him to pursue engineering despite his passion for wildlife photography. Upon arriving, he befriends his second roommate Raju, who has come from a lower middle-class family, which has pinnned very high hopes on him to bring them out of poverty. While being ragged by the hostel seniors, Farhan and Raju stumble upon their seemingly naive third roommate Rancho, who has come from a rich family but has a passion of experimenting using different theories and consequently tops the class. He gives unorthodox answers to the college professors as an advice to serve them with rather understandable, easygoing learning methods. Rancho, Raju and Farhan, now good friends, meet Dr. Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani), the director of ICE nicknamed "Virus" by the students, on the day of their introduction to the college's principles. Virus believes in a strict and competitive education system and Rancho's carefree love for knowledge always results in him being at odds with his draconian teaching philosophy, especially during their first meeting.

Soon, Joy Lobo (Ali Fazal), a student at ICE with a passion of engineering similar to that of Rancho, is denied graduation by Virus on grounds of failure to meet his project deadline, and depressingly dumps his innovative drone camera, which is immediately discovered by Rancho. After learning about Joy's predicament, the trio recreates the drone camera in order to cheer him up, but Joy unfortunately commits suicide by hanging before he can see his project coming to life. Due to this tragic incident, Rancho holds Virus' approach responsible for Joy's suicide and confronts him over the extreme pressure placed by him on the ICE students, therefore embarrassing and insulting him in front of the students. This provokes a furious Virus to send complaint letters to Farhan and Raju's parents, explaining to them that Rancho is a bad influence to their children. As a result, the trio is confronted by Farhan and Raju's respective parents at their respective houses.

Later that night, the hungry trio gatecrashes a wedding for dinner, whence they bump into a young girl named Pia (Kareena Kapoor), who is shown to be engaged to her materially obsessive boyfriend named Suhas Tandon (Sanjay Lafont). Rancho advises Pia to leave Suhas, which ends up in a comical demonstration of spilling mint chutney on his expensive leather shoes, pushing Pia into anger. However, she turns out to be the younger daughter of Virus, who confronts the trio after they are tricked by Pia, as it also turns out that the wedding is for Pia's older sister Mona (Mona Singh). The following morning, Virus summons Farhan and Raju to his office and warns them about the consequences of them being friends with Rancho by pointing out the modest financial situations of their families.

While Farhan remains loyal to Rancho, Raju is provoked to move in with Chatur, an arrogant, competitive, Anglo-Indian student, who was born in Uganda and studied in Pondicherry. He believes in rote memorization and is nicknamed "Silencer" by the students, as he consumes some memory-enhancing pills with the side-effect of farting off in a silent and yet lethal way. Determined to teach Chatur a lesson about memorization and also show Raju the reality, Rancho and Farhan distract Chatur and the ICE librarian Dubey (Akhil Mishra) and secretly make obscene modifications, like "chamatkar" (miracle) to "balatkar" (screw) and "dhan" (wealth) to "stan" (bossoms), to the script of Chatur's Teachers' Day speech. After a disastrous speech before Virus and the Minister of Education, which still fails to convince Raju, the devastated Chatur drunkenly confronts Rancho and Farhan and makes a bet with them to see who will end up more successful in the next 10 years.

Although initially upset with Rancho's behaviour, Pia develops a crush on him after Rancho lies to Suhas about she having lost the expensive watch he had gifted to her, showing Pia his materialistic side. Fed up with Suhas' materialistic attitude, Pia returns him the watch and angrily calls off their engagement. The same night, Raju's paralyzed father (Mukund Bhatt) suffers from a medical emergency and is rushed to the hospital by Rancho via Pia's scooter by riding it inside the hospital premises. Raju, who is able to catch up, realises his mistake on hearing from the doctor how the timely intervention saved his father's life and reconciles with Rancho and Farhan. The trio proceed to give their final exams the next day and at the end of the year, Rancho comes first in the class, while Farhan and Raju are last and second to last, respectively. During the yearly class photograph, Rancho makes a bet with Virus that if either Farhan or Raju manages to get a job from on-campus interviews, Virus will shave off his moustache.

The story catches up to the present as Farhan, Raju and Chatur finally reach Shimla, where Chatur has located Rancho's house. However, upon arriving, they are extremely shocked to come across a completely different man (Javed Jaffrey) identifying himself as "Ranchhoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad", whose face is pasted over Rancho's face in their first year class photograph with an ICE degree to Rancho's name. When the confused Farhan and Raju question Chatur on how he got the Shimla address, he reveals that he spotted Rancho in the photograph clicked by his secretary Tracy, when she had come to Shimla to fix his appointment with an international scientist named "Phunsukh Wangdu", a sensational inventor with 400 patents to credit, whom Chatur's company is trying to sign a deal with, ahead of their Japanese rivals.

Upon learning this, Farhan and Raju revisit and confront the so-called "Ranchhoddas", who initially refuses to reveal anything and threatens them at gunpoint, but when the duo turns the tables on him and threatens to flush his late father Shyamaldas' ashes down the toilet, he admits that he is the real Ranchhoddas and that the "Rancho" who had been with them in ICE was actually his family's gardener's son nicknamed "Chhote", who was incredibly intelligent and gifted. He was taken in by the Chanchad family after being orphaned, and Ranchhoddas took advantage of Rancho's thirst for knowledge by having him appear as a proxy for his school exams and also have all his school assignments completed by him.

After a schoolteacher caught the bluff one day, Shyamaldas (Arun Bali) instructed him to continue the ruse for not wanting his son to experience the same disrespect that he himself experienced due to his illiteracy. As per a deal between Shyamaldas and Rancho, Ranchhoddas went to London for four years while Rancho assumed his identity at ICE and promised Shyamaldas to cut off all contact with everyone there after graduation, but warned Ranchhoddas afterwards that "two idiots" would come looking for him one day. Ranchhoddas requests Farhan and Raju to keep all this information a secret and gives them Rancho's real address. The group resumes their journey to Ladakh, where Rancho is apparently working as a schoolteacher, and a distressingly delighted Chatur cites his superiority of signing a deal with Phunsukh Wangdu, irritating Farhan and Raju.

As the story rewinds back to their fourth year of college, the trio is shown to be approaching graduation and Virus insults Farhan and Raju due to their consistent failures in exams, during his announcement about the upcoming on-campus job interviews before the final exams. One night, Rancho points out to Farhan and Raju why they consistently place last; Farhan's passion is wildlife photography, not engineering, and Raju lacks self-confidence in the fear about his current poverty. When Farhan and Raju make a bet with Rancho that they will confront their problems if he confesses his feelings for Pia, the trio breaks into Virus' house in a drunken state at midnight. While Rancho climbs up to Pia's room to propose to her, Farhan and Raju urinate on the letter-box of Virus, who spots Raju during the trio's escape.

The next day, Virus summons Raju to his office and gives him an ultimatum of either acting as his witness in rusticating Rancho or being rusticated himself. Neither wanting to disappoint his family yet again nor betray his close friend, a distraught Raju jumps off the window in Virus' office from the 3rd-floor to attempt suicide, and ends up in a coma due to immediate hospitalisation. However, he is successfully recovered over the next few months with support from his family and friends, while Virus also rescinds his rustication. With a newfound perspective of his life, Raju attends his on-campus interview on the day of his discharge from the hospital, and confidently succeeds in securing a job in an engineering firm. On the other hand, Farhan also ends up successful in convincing his father about his passion for wildlife photography and contentment with the job he secured with his role model, wildlife photographer Andre Istvan, in Hungary. Thus, Virus' barber Govind (Rajendra Patwardhan) shaves off his moustache as per the bet he had made with Rancho. In an attempt to protect his fragile ego, Virus drunkenly plans to sabotage Raju's chances of success by rigging his final exam question papers. However, Pia visits the trio in a drunken state and hands over the duplicate keys of Virus' office to Rancho, encouraging him to copy the question papers rigged by Virus for Raju.

As the story forwards to the journey, Farhan and Raju suddenly remember Pia on their way and learn that she is getting married that day itself in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. The duo is determined to take Pia along with them but Chatur protests against the detour as it will jeopardize his meeting with Phunsukh Wangdu. However, Farhan and Raju gag Chatur inside the car trunk and head straight to Manali, where the duo gatecrashes Pia's wedding to Suhas. Farhan sneaks in to reunite with Pia, while Raju substitutes himself as a housekeeper for Suhas with a similar comical demonstration of ironing mint chutney on his expensive wedding suit. Pia initially refuses to go with Farhan, despite hearing Suhas screaming at Raju for ruining his wedding suit, leading Farhan to realise that their plan has worked.

Furthermore, Raju escapes in the heat of the moment with the wedding suit, claiming to Suhas that he will return it in mint condition, but instead proceeds to fill in as the bridegroom. An initially worried Pia, as she finds this out, grows concerned over public reaction to the ruse, causing Raju to reveal himself and confront Pia over her love for Rancho, even as Suhas turns up in a gown. As she spots Farhan at the entrance, with the car doors opened, Pia, in front of the stunned Suhas, Virus, Mona and other wedding guests, breaks free from the bond and escapes with the duo and Chatur to go to Ladakh and reunite with Rancho, although concerned about his unknown marital status.

The story rolls again into the flashback where Rancho and Farhan break into Virus' office with the help of its duplicate keys given to them by Pia and are successful in copying the question papers for Raju. Despite Raju refusing to use the question papers, Virus discovers what happened and has the trio rusticated from ICE in the middle of the night as his initial anger soon turns into disappointment. However, Pia admits her role in the events and confronts Virus over her brother's suicidal demise, which was misinterpreted by Virus as an accident, simply because his passion for literature and desire to become a writer was overruled by Virus, who was insistent on his son becoming an engineer.

As the trio is leaving the campus in the middle of heavy rainstorms, they come across the now-pregnant Mona, who goes under labor no later after Pia walks out of the house and is unable to be driven to the hospital. Applying their knowledge of engineering, the trio brings Mona inside the table tennis room of ICE and successfully conducts her delivery by modifying a vacuum cleaner into a makeshift venthouse with the help of other students as well as Pia from the hospital through a webcam. Realising the fault in his ways and how genius Rancho is, a grateful Virus acknowledges him as an extraordinary students by gifting him a very rare Space Pen and lets the trio stay till the final exams. Rancho, along with Farhan and Raju, tops the university in the final year, but abruptly leaves the graduation ceremony without informing anyone and has never been heard of again.

Over the end of the flashback, Farhan, Raju, Pia and Chatur finally reach Ladakh where, after unbounding Chatur, Farhan, Raju and Pia are astonished to find a thriving school that is probably run by Rancho. While searching for Rancho in the school area, the group also runs into Manmohan (now Dushyant Wagh), formerly an errand boy at the ICE nicknamed "Millimetre" (then Rahul Kumar), and now Rancho's assistant, who reveals to them that Rancho has read all the books published by Farhan about his works in wildlife photography, and also shares Raju's daily blogs on the internet to the students. In addition, Rancho has also kept Pia's old scooter helmet safely as her souviner. With the help of the directions given by Millimetre, Pia, Farhan and Raju finally come face-to-face with Rancho on a sandbar, where they all initially berate him for leaving from ICE without informing them, but eventually come to terms and have a happy reunion with him. Also, Rancho admits that he is still in love with Pia and the two of them share a passionate kiss.

After catching up with the group, Chatur condescendingly insults Rancho's apparent status as a mere schoolteacher and has him sign a makeshift document of "Declaration of Defeat" before stealing the Space Pen given to him by Virus as well. As Chatur walks away in supposed victory, Pia asks Rancho his real name and he, in a twisted ending, reveals himself before Pia, Farhan and Raju to be none other than Phunsukh Wangdu, the scientist and inventor having the 400 patents to credit, whom Chatur's company is courting (based on Sonam Wangchuk). On this new development, Rancho contacts Chatur, who is a few distance away from the group, and considers calling off the deal with his company due to the fact that he stole Virus' Space Pen from him. A doubtful Chatur glances at the Declaration of Defeat document and is flabbergasted to see Rancho's signature as Phunsukh Wangdu, therefore accepting defeat before Rancho and the group. Rancho, Pia, Farhan and Raju run away laughing while a humiliated Chatur chases after them, as the film ends with Farhan quoting Rancho's words on success; "Pursue excellence, and success will follow, pants down."


  • Aamir Khan as Ranchoddas "Rancho" Shamaldas Chanchad / Chhote / Phunsukh Wangdu
  • R. Madhavan as Farhan Qureshi
  • Sharman Joshi as Raju Rastogi
  • Omi Vaidya as Chatur Ramalingam, a Ugandan-Indian educated in Tamil-speaking Pondicherry who has little knowledge of Hindi, and Rancho's rival whose habit of being flatulent due to the consumption of certain pills claimed to enhance his memorization earns him the nickname "Silencer"; in the present story, he is vice-president of Rockledge Corporation who discovers his success being overshadowed by Phunsukh Wangdu a.k.a. Rancho at the end of the film.
  • Kareena Kapoor as Pia Sahastrabuddhe
  • Boman Irani as Dr. Viru "Virus" Sahastrabuddhe
  • Omi Vaidya as Chatur Ramalingam
  • Rahul Kumar as Manmohan a.k.a. Millimetre
  • Dushyant Wagh as adult Manmohan a.k.a. Centimetre
  • Mona Singh as Mona Sahastrabuddhe
  • Parikshit Sahni as Mr. Qureshi
  • Farida Dadi as Mrs. Qureshi
  • Amardeep Jha as Mrs. Rastogi
  • Mukund Bhatt as Mr. Rastogi
  • Rajendra Patwardhan as Govind
  • Javed Jaffrey as the real Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad. (Cameo appearance)
  • Arun Bali as Shamaldas Chanchad (Cameo appearance)
  • Ali Fazal as Joy Lobo (Cameo appearance)
  • Akhil Mishra as Librarian Dubey.
  • Rohitash Gaud as (real) Ranchoddas's servant.
  • Achyut Potdar as Machine Class Professor
  • Madhav Vaze as Mr. Lobo, Joy Lobo's father.
  • Olivier Sanjay Lafont as Suhas Tandon
  • Jayant Kripalani
  • Atul Tiwari as R.D. Tripathi
  • Rajeev Ravindranathan as ragging senior student.
  • Supriya Shukla as doctor with Pia.


When asked about plans of a 3 Idiots sequel in an interview with Hindustan Times, screenwriter Abhijat Joshi replied, saying, "Honestly, I don't know. We have an idea for the 3 Idiots sequel, a Munna Bhai part three, and also for a PK sequel; but the PK and Munna Bhai sequels interest me the most. So, I think the 3 Idiots sequel may happen in the future, but these two I really want to work on."[17] In January 2016, director Rajkumar Hirani and actor Aamir Khan confirmed that they were considering a 3 Idiots sequel. Khan told reporters, ""Raju Hirani has given me a hint about 3 Idiots' sequel and I am giving you all a hint. The film will happen if and whenever he will write the script." Hirani agreed, saying "this is one film that I really want to do."[18]

In June 2018, Hirani was asked a question while promoting his upcoming film Sanju and he was quoted as saying, "I definitely want to make a sequel to 3 Idiots, but it’s still in the initial stage and we will take a fair amount of time to develop the script".[19] The report also said that Hirani will begin shooting for the Munna Bhai sequel with Sanjay Dutt. Work on 3 Idiots will begin only after Hirani is done with Munna Bhai 3.[20]


  1. "3 IDIOTS (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  2. "Business of Rs 100-cr films: Who gets what and why". The Economic Times. 26 August 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  3. "Exchange Rates (61.03 INR per USD)". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Deepika Padukone's Padmaavat beats Aamir Khan's Dhoom 3 and Salman Khan's Tiger Zinda Hai at the box office". Times Now. 27 February 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Q&A: Aamir Khan". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 August 2010.
  6. "3 Idiots (Film)". South China Morning Post. 9 September 2011.
  7. Vasi, Nazia (15 October 2011). "Why Chinese identify with Aamir Khan's 3 Idiots, Rancho & All Izz Well". The Economic Times. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  8. Chaerim Oh (4 December 2011). "Embrace Your Nerdiness with 3 Idiots". KAIST Herald. KAIST. Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  9. Menon, Shyam G. (19 July 2010). "What you did not watch in 3 Idiots – Rethink after Ladakh education initiative fell victim to bureaucracy and resentment". The Telegraph (Calcutta).
  10. Cain, Rob (11 October 2017). "It's Another Diwali Clash of Titans As Ajay's 'Golmaal' Takes on Aamir's 'Superstar'". Forbes.
  11. "第4回ビデオ屋さん大賞". KINENOTE. 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  12. "『きっと、うまくいく』 が、第4回ビデオ屋さん大賞の 《大賞》 を受賞しました!". Nikkatsu (in Japanese). 25 March 2014.
  13. "Japan is going gaga over Bollywood". Quartz. 11 December 2014.
  14. "3 Idiots to race for Japan Academy Awards". Bollywood Hungama. 27 January 2014.
  15. "Aamir Khan's '3 Idiots' nominated for Japan Academy Awards". IBN Live. CNN-News18. 27 January 2014. Archived from the original on 29 January 2014.
  16. "三傻大闹宝莱坞". Maoyan. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  17. "Sequels". Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  18. PTI (28 January 2016). "3 Idiots sequel will happen when Rajkumar Hirani is ready with the script: Aamir Khan". The Indian Express. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  19. "Rajkumar Hirani says he has began work on 3 Idiots' sequel, Munna Bhai 3 in pipeline too". Hindustan Times. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  20. "Film-maker Rajkumar Hirani confirms '3 Idiots' sequel". The Express Tribune. 22 June 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2022.