A 5pointer's story by an IITian

10 Comments

Yes, that's what I'd call Chetan Bhagat's "five point someone - what not to do at IIT" and I loved it. It was hilarious and I didn't really mind the fact that the language and editing were not very good at places coz the way he told the story made up for everything else. Though it is a story about IIT students, it is pretty much the story of every college student in India. It reminded me of my college days, a bunch of us were back benchers who were always late to classes, never scored well in exams and got punished for reading novels during lectures etc. Yeah, we were notorious as per the Indian standards, but now when I think of it, I have a good laugh and I wouldn't have had it any other way. The book brings out all that nostalgia and at the end you wouldn't have liked it so much if it was any different, like the 3 idiots movie which was based on it, I totally hated it.

Though it was fiction, everything was so close to reality that at points I actually thought maybe the author was just narrating his own story with fake names. The book was like reading a blog with each chapter as a blog entry and guest posts by fellow readers/bloggers/friends in between. The language was more like Indian-English (or maybe we should just call it Indlish) and the editing and grammer at places were bad, but who cares when the story is so interesting. Chetan Bhagat's a great story teller, I'd give that credit to him.

So the story is about 3 guys, Hari (the narrator), Ryan, and Alok who were IIT-Delhi students in the 90s. Hari is a short-fat and simple guy from a middle class family who likes food, loves girls, and is happy being part of a crowd (I know, kind of like your average Indian guy). Ryan is the good-looking, handsome guy with rich parents, whom he doesn't care about and doesn't give a damn about anybody who thinks he should. According to him the whole Indian education system is at fault. He's always opposing lecturers, doing things his own way and spends more time out of classes. He comes up with crazy hair-brained plans and loves taking risks. Alok is from a poor family and the only thing important for him is to mug-up everything the lecturers teach and get a good GPA so that he can get a good job and take care of his family. The story is about how these guys who're from different backgrounds, having a common goal, become friends at IIT and how they struggle to maintain the balance between their lives in and outside campus (coz IITians are known to have no lives outside campus) due to their low 5point something GPAs which seem to define everything they do and are, their relationships, families, friendship, the mistakes they make and how they've grown up during the 4 years.

God, why did they ever make a movie out of it? While the book is like a fresh cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, the movie is the like the stale taste you're left with after eating a day old leftover of a chinese take out. It was totally tweaked, boring, a drag, and Amir Khan is too old (no offense) to be playing an IIT student. I also felt that he took over every scene and there was less scope for the other characters which were actually very interesting in the book. There were very few scenes which were close to real life but then that's how bollywood movies are and should be I guess. And watching Kareena as Neha (Hari's girlfriend in the book) was the last straw. If you are debating between reading the book, and watching the movie, go read the book and you will not regret the choice. Some might just say, why compare the two, just read the book, and watch the movie, as if they were two different stories, if you want to do that go ahead and do that too, after all it should be your decision. What I'm saying is, don't take my word for it and see it for yourself. If you have already read the book, or saw the movie, or done both, let me know what you thought about it.


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10 comments:

Ramesh said...

Had similar sentiments after reading that book. Not greatly written but he is a very good story teller. And everyone who has been through any campus can relate to something or the other in it.

rads said...

@Ramesh: Yep, like I said, its very close to reality...

pramod lohia said...

book is a great gripping read. and movie too was superb. my view is that there should be no comparisons as film was not a total remake of the book. just some interesting instances were taken. thats all.
they are two different things and seen with totally different point of view.

rads said...

@pramod lohia: The basic idea of the film is from the book...while some like the book some like the movie better..i liked the book and its just my opinion...i know it varies from person to person...

A said...

Rads,

Are we talking about 3 Idiots here?

I am bit lost. That is a while ago. The movie was awesome - as far as I can tell. But most bollywood movies are crap so ....

I did not read the book on which the movie was based but I know about it. Now it seems like I have to read this book. I purchased it last time I was in India but someone borrowed it the first day we opened the luggage and did not see it back.

rads said...

@A: I started out talking about the book but in the end couldn't help adding about the crappy movie they made based on it...i just had to trash it, in comparison to the book its nothing...but its just my opinion..n ur right most bolly movies r crap...do read the book when u get it back :)

transient said...

hey! I remember reading this book, and i remember laughing a lot too. I read it on a day i was feeling down and low, had made a boo boo, said something to someone i shouldn't have said that to :) so this book really made me feel better about myself, in comparison to the antics of the protagonists in this book i could show my self off as much much smarter :) we all need consolation once in a while i guess.

As to the writing, I mean yeah he is no Tolstoy, but then he is not pretending to be one either, which is a big deal. He know how and what he can write about and he sticks to that. i think we should all aspire to that. :)

The movie... umm I loved the movie too :( sorry rads, i mean i totally did not like the kareena kapoor part she was just... lord knows what... but otherwise I had fun with both the book and the movie. though I can totally relate to not liking a movie after you have read the book, happens to me all the time. Perhaps it wasn't so this time because I was not emotionally invested in either to care much.

rads said...

@transient: Thanks for dropping by my blog, appreciate it, the book n movie r definitely worth reading n watching, its just my opinion that i did not like how they translated the book into a movie...and I do like Chetan Bhagat a lot for what its worth, I didn't mean to criticize him, was jus telling it like it is :) I'm glad u liked the book too.

Rituraj Verma said...

Hi,

I liked your blog. I thought that we could do a few cross blog things.

Would you be interested in reviewing my new book "Love, Peace and Happiness:What more can you want?"

I could do an author interview on yours. I could also post your review on my fanpage referenced below which has more than 10,000 fans giving you a whole new set of visitors.

Let me know if this makes sense for your blog.

Rituraj Verma, author
www.facebook.com/BookLPH
www.riturajverma.com/blog
email:riturajverma2005@gmail.com

rads said...

@Rituraj: I'd love to review your book, coz the title sounds pretty intriguing. I'll hit you up on your email and we can discuss how to go about doing that. Thanks for considering me :)