3 Idiots and Shawshank Redemption – Lessons and Similarities!

Those who are into movies must have watched these 2 inspirational movies – Shawshank Redemption and 3 Idiots. For the uninitiated , these are among the most appreciated movies ever made.

Shawshank Redmpetion is adapted from a novella by Stephen King named “ Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”. Content in this piece is based on both the book and novella.

3 idiots is inspired from a book by Chetan Bhagat named “ Five Point Someone”.

1. Short Term planning – Probably the best movies emphasizing the importance of planning.

Shawshank Redemption – When Andy arrived in prison, he carried with him $500 stashed in his private zone(according to the book). Andy was not a seasoned criminal and as it was revealed later, he was not a criminal in the first place. His life turned upside down and he was doomed to spend decades of his life among hardened criminals. Those $500 gave him the start and helped him in getting few things and swaying few situations in his favour.

Further, when Hadley, the violent prison head(in the book), got a bequest of $35K from his brother, Andy confronted him by asking “ Do you trust your wife?”  and was almost thrown off from the roof.  Andy was not obligated to help Hadley. The prison staff did not remember either that there is a senior level Ex-Banker among them having expertise in such tax matters. Andy still came forward. This was a short term plan that yielded rich dividends for Andy. This earned him the goodwill of other prison inmates and made an indispensable asset for prison staff at Shawshank. This set the ball rolling for Andy, he got a single occupancy cell, got funds to rebuild and expand the library, and according to the theory put forth by narrator later, gave him access to prison blueprints which proved immeasurably helpful in helping Andy to devise his escape plan.

3 Idiots – The short term plan of Rancho in 3Idiots was to obtain knowledge while acting as proxy for someone. He took admission in Top Engineering college ICE and started executing his mission. Those who watched it for the first time wondered why he was attending lectures of other Engineering streams(while in reality, students bunk their own stream lectures). As revealed letter, getting degree was his secondary concern, the real bent was towards obtaining knowledge. So Engineering stream did not matter. That was the short term plan that he executed right from the start.

2. Chase excellence, success will follow

Shawshank Redemption – Andy excelled in whatever he did. As a banker he utilized his prowess in obtaining goodwill of the prison staff and other prisoners.  He also succeeded in building the library and getting resources allocated for it. He also succeeded as a rockhound.  As discussed in the book(and movie), Andy took keen interest in Rocks and carved chess pieces using rock-hammer and rock-blanket. Little did anyone imagine that Andy was planning to carve a hole in the prison wall after studying the quality of damp rocks that made the cell walls. Excellence in Banking got him a special single occupancy cell, and excellence in knowledge of rocks got him a way out of that cell, through a different route of course.

3 Idiots – The motto of 3 idiots “ Chase Excellence Success will follow” introduced  by the protagonist Rancho. As already discussed Rancho was proxy for someone else. He was not going to get a degree attributed to his real name(Phungsuk Wangdu) and thus no regular job. The only option for him was to be brilliant and to carve out a path for himself. Just like Andy , Rancho too was a model for other student(not a model student for teachers though). He regularly Topped in exams and challenged the obsolete and unproductive  ways of teaching.

3. Hope

Shawshank Redemption – Hope makes the impossible possible. Atleast it provides  a satisfaction that something is achievable. When Andy confronted Hadley at the roof, he hoped he won’t be thrown off the roof.

Andy hoped to get resources for Library.

Andy hoped to remain in the same cell for more than 2 decades(imagine making a hole in the cell wall  for more than a decade only to be transferred to some other cell)

Andy hoped that there would be no surprise inspection of his cell, due to him being a model prisoner due to the services rendered by him.

Andy hoped that there would be no barrier at the end end of the escape tunnel(imagine being stuck in a pipe and no way to move back)

One might dispute how so many things worked in his favour, but there are always exceptional cases . People do get exceptionally lucky.

3 Idiots – Imagine getting into an Engineering college in 2000s  and not getting discovered for 4 years that you are proxy for someone else.

Rancho’s objective of entering  the engineering college, besides getting a Degree certificate for “real Rancho”,  was to obtain knowledge and access to resources to hone his engineering skills further. All these skills proved handy later in his success as scientist.

 From childhood to a successful scientist, all efforts were based on hope that all uncertain outcomes(as in school, engineering college and most probably post engineering life too)would tilt in his favour and they did. Fortunately he was never caught during this entire journey while he traded his brilliance for someone’s name and monetary assistance.

Rancho loved Pia and hoped to get her. Rancho hoped to reunite with his friends . Rancho hoped for the things to fall in place. By stroke of luck , it all happened.

4. Identity

(This point belongs to Similarity department entirely)

In Shawshank Redemption as well as 3 Idiots, the lead protagonist used multiple/Fake identities.

5. We must have tendency to learn, there is a life beyond degrees

Shawshank Redemption – While discussing life after prison, Red expressed his concern that he might not fit in the outer world. Unlike Andy, he neither had money nor any skill to survive outside. Andy argued that it is not right to measure a person’s worth by a sheet of paper. Not just words, Andy’s prison journey exemplified it where he excelled in various activites. He, an innocent man, devised an escape plan that none of the shrewd brain, hardened criminal or con-artist in the history of Shawshank prison thought even in their wildest of dreams. He kept observing, learning and implementing.  

3 Idiots – As already discussed, Rancho(real name Phungsuk Wangdu) , required a degree only to keep a promise to family of real Rancho. His bent was towards obtaining knowledge and utilizing the college resources to hone his skills. He applied all the knowledge amassed during 4 years of engineering to become a hugely successful scientist with 40 patents to his name and being chased by big corporates  ready to pay any sum demanded by him.

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