3 Idiots and Campus Leopards

3 Idiots rocks. Watch it if you haven’t already. All the rave reviews are right, the movie is a lot of fun. The coolest review is probably Bawa’s review, and he even has a cool pic to go along with it — check it out.

As the closing credits say, it’s based — but only very loosely — on Chetan Bhagat’s “Five Point Someone”. In the movie as in the book, there are three guys, they feel like misfits at their engineering college, there’s a professor’s daughter and a romance, and there’s a question-paper stealing scene. For me the resemblance ends there. The book in its original script would have made just as good a movie in the hands of a skilled director, but the book wasn’t 3 Idiots. The script was heavily re-written from the beginnings of the book. Five Point Someone still stands on its own for me.

The movie showed the cramped hostel rooms and the queue for shared bathrooms. The lecture halls. The tyrannical professors (but not the good ones). The different kinds of students who co-existed on campus. Cramming (“mugging”) for exams, and the pressures of grades. The rat-race campus interviews for jobs. Students drinking and hanging out. Even ragging. But they failed to mention the terrible mess food!!! How a movie about college life can miss at least a passing mention of the terrible hostel food is beyond me. The script-writer probably hadn’t experienced it first-hand. 🙂

And leopards. They missed that too.

Okay, leopards are not a common sight at the average engineering college. But at IIT Bombay we were anything but average. We used to have visits by stray leopards strolling over from Borivili National Park. Google IIT Bombay leopard for pictures and news stories.

The first leopard was sighted in 1997, in front of hostel 2. It had mauled a dog, and was hauling the remains along the road from hostel 2 to hostel 3 (my hostel). The security officer guarding hostel 2 fainted at the sight.

After that first incident, leopard sightings became a regular occurrence on campus. Some students referred to it as Leppy. Later we realized that there might be more than one leopard. Indeed multiple leopards were captured on campus over the years (not on camera… I do mean physically captured in a cage). The first capture was right after my last finals I gave at IIT, shortly before I left campus.

In my third and fourth years I lived in the farthest wing in my hostel, overlooking the woods. Security staff used to set off firecrackers every night at about 2 am to keep leopards away. For some of us, that was the hint that it was time to go to bed… at the ‘crack’ of 2 am (pardon the pun).

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2 Responses to 3 Idiots and Campus Leopards

  1. Annie says:

    Hey Anoopi how r u? Five point someone was about IIT Delhi from what I remember and not IIT Bombay…isnt it? BTW am a regular reader of ur blog 🙂 n great work always!

  2. Anoop Iyer says:

    You’re right, FPS was set at IITD. Glad to hear from you again. 🙂

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