Recently, Aamir Khan had a spat with Chetan Bhagat over the story of his latest flick ‘3 Idiots’. I have been an ardent Aamir Khan fan (I have even watched his disastrous movie ‘Atank Hi Atank’, which I am sure even Aamir would like to forget about!). I would also like to mention that even though I have read Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone’ and ‘2 States’ (which were a good read esp. 2 States), am not a huge Chetan Bhagat fan. Unfortunately, though in this particular controversy I agreed with Chetan Bhagat. Anyone who says the movie ‘3 Idiots’ is not heavily inspired and based on ‘Five Point Someone’ is fooling either himself or others. The scriptwriter of ‘3 Idiots’ Abhijat Joshi, has added to and modified the story but using the basis of what the book has to say. Abhijat Joshi in an interview criticised Chetan’s story saying ‘The boys in the movie steal the question papers and blame it over the girl, what is so noble about it. We changed that and have put up a better story’. Well, two things here – One – what is nobility in a story especially the one inspired by real life, its just realistic, how can anyone question the nobility of a character in a story? Its not only weird but silly. Two – The one problem with ‘3 Idiots’ in fact is the over simplification of virtues and being too idealistic. I mean, who can really identify with the noble Phunsuk Wangdu, he is larger than life unlike a common man. The first thing that came to my mind when the controversy began was that Chetan Bhagat is right in saying he has not given due credit, as I had made a conscious effort to check the credits for his name, and could not find one. Ideally, the makers of the movie should have given right in the beginning of it, that the movie is inspired by Chetan’s novel ‘Five Point Someone’. By denying, the due credit to the author of the book Aamir Khan has played a spoil sport once again. Earlier it was with Amol Gupte for ‘Taare Zameen Par’, no doubt it was an excellent movie, but the story and idea belonged to Gupte.

In addition, the most recent are his comments at the meeting of Lyricist-Writers and Producers forum. He said that a song is a hit because of the star and not the lyricist. These comments coming from a know-to-be professional actor like Aamir Khan was quiet disappointing. He was suitably replied though by the very straightforward and witty Javed Akhtar who said “Your first big song was Papa kehte hain. Did it make you a star or did you make that a song run”. Well said Mr. Akhtar!

Why is it that our film industry is so reluctant to give the due credit to writers? Especially, when most of our movies flop ‘coz they do not have a decent storyline. In Hollywood, for example if a movie is based on a book, they will always publicise it so. And why not, a book and a movie are two entirely different mediums, even if a movie is completely based on a book it does not take away the movie makers credit ‘coz to make a movie requires and different set of skills and vision. Both the book and the movie based on it have equal credibility. This is a simple fact, and if actors who are at a commanding position in the industry like Aamir Khan do not support the cause of writers and lyricists contribution then who else is to take responsibility. Well, if Aamir really thinks that songs and movies are successful because of a star and not the lyricist and writer than we can expect from him more ‘Ghajanis’ than ‘3 Idiots’ in the near future!