Was Rancho an Avatar of Shree Krishna in the Movie 3 Idiots?

3 Idiots is one of the most loved movies of our generation. The movie centers around Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad, aka Rancho, whose character has been intriguing some interpretations in my mind for a while.

Among the most fascinating aspects of Rancho’s persona is the etymological roots of his name—Ranchoddas, which is traditionally one of the names of Shree Krishna. This may not be a well-known fact, but when I came to know about it, it got me thinking. Shree Krishna was called Ranchod because he once declined to go to war, stating that war is not the solution to all problems.

If you look at Rancho’s story, he too, in a way leaves the society, especially his friends and becomes incommunicado after he graduates from IIT or rather ICE, as if he doesn’t want to fight in the real or corporate world. Rancho can also be interpreted as a coward, however like Shree Krishna, Rancho also never cared for the society. He just wanted to pursue his passion for engineering.

This connection led me to a deeper exploration into whether Rancho personifies an avatar of Krishanji, through his actions, teachings, and the impact he has on the lives around him. 

So let’s discuss Rancho’s character, and the parallels between his influence on the narrative and Shree Krishna’s guiding hand in the epic tales of Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita.

Mischievous Yet Well-intentioned

Krishna is often depicted as a mischievous child and youth, with his actions always aiming for a greater good, as is Rancho. For example, helping and encouraging Millimeter (aka. MM or Man Mohan) to go to school using a uniform, the epic Chattur’s speech change, gate crashing Virus’es daughter’s wedding for food, etc. Rancho’s methods, though sometimes seen as rebellious, are always in the interest of helping others.

3idiots crashing a party

Charismatic Leader & An Agent of Change

Krishanji’s charm and leadership inspire devotion and loyalty among his followers. Rancho, with his bold and fearless personality, earns the affection and respect of his friends, influencing them to adopt new perspectives on life and education. Just like Bal Krishna defeats overwhelming enemies like Poothna and Kaliya Naag, Rancho as a fresher confronts his seniors on his first day during his ragging session and also confronts Virus the next day and wins a logical argument during orientation.

3idiots rancho taking on seniors

Krishanji plays an important role in the Mahabharata, influencing key events and driving the narrative towards dharma. Similarly Rancho acts an agent of change in the movie, significantly altering the life courses of his friends and even the rigid beliefs of the college’s Dean.

Rancho’s Guidance and Wisdom

Just as Shree Krishna is known for his wisdom, particularly to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, Rancho aka Baba Ranchod das also is known for his mantras among his friends, especially the mantra ‘all is well’.

Both Krishanji and Rancho assume roles of teachers and guides to those around them. Krishanji serves as a mentor and guide to Arjuna, imparting spiritual wisdom and guidance during the Kurukshetra War. Rancho, though in a more relatable manner, encourages his friends to find their own path to fulfillment. He challenges the status quo of the education system and encourages them to pursue their passions and think independently.

Just like Krishanji who preaches in Bhagavad Gita that a person’s “own self, endowed with discriminative knowledge, is the only friend,” Rancho’s also preaches to chase knowledge and excellence, and success shall follow.

3idiots all is well

Miraculous Feats

Krishanji’s life is marked by miraculous deeds that defy human limitations. While Rancho’s actions are not supernatural, however his feats like saving Raju’s postmaster father’s life, getting Raju out from comatose and eventually delivering Mona’s baby on a TT table with a vacuum cleaner seem miraculous to those around him, using unconventional methods to achieve what seems impossible.

3idiots delivering a baby micracle

Challenges with Love Interests

Both Rancho and Krishanji face challenges in their romantic relationships. Krishanji’s love for Radha is legendary in Hindu mythology, yet due to societal norms and circumstances, they are unable to marry. Similarly, Rancho’s love interest in “3 Idiots,” Pia, faces familial pressure to marry someone else, creating obstacles in their relationship.

Devotion to Friends

Both characters display unwavering devotion and loyalty to their friends. Krishanji’s friendship with Arjuna and the Pandavas is celebrated in the Mahabharata, where he stands by them through thick and thin. Similarly, Rancho prioritizes the well-being and happiness of his friends above all else, going to great lengths to support and protect them.

Conclusion with a Pinch of Criticism 

3 Idiots is a great movie, however I do have some criticism for it. I’m sure you can find a lot of plot holes in the movie and some unrealistic things like how Rancho is always topping in his exams which is contrary to the book (5 Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat) it’s inspired from.

My criticism is why Rancho the character is near perfect and he doesn’t seem to have any major flaws. His character thus lacks depth and never grows. Almost everybody else in the movie is learning and maturing, but Rancho is just like a god, already perfect in his first scene.

rancho 3idiots avatar of krishna 2

This phenomenon of the male protagonist being always perfect is not unique, in fact it this is very common in Hindi Cinema and other regional Indian movies. We (or rather the media) refer to these actors as heroes or superstars as they are just perfect in every way from beginning to end. Actors like Salmaan Khan, Ranjikant, Shah Rukh Khan, are portrayed invincible. The characters they portray would rarely grow or learn from their mistakes, as they just don’t make any.

I can understand why such movies are created, not because these actors want (or maybe they do) to be portrayed like a superstar, it’s because that’s what the audience in India wants. We just love gods, and just want them to be flawless. 

Even sports stars like Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni are sometimes projected as gods by the media as their careers seem to be spotless, and people love them for it. That’s a kind of tough life in my opinion.

So do you agree or disagree with my theory? Feel free to discuss below!

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