By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 30, 2009 at 9:30AM
Like everybody else, I've been catching up on movies over the holidays. By far the most fun movie was the big-budget Bollywood comedy 3 Idiots, starring 44-year-old Aamir Khan as a geeky engineering student.
Amazingly, he gets away with it. 3 Idiots is a mainstream romantic comedy filled with goofy college pranks and a serious progressive message. Loosely based on Chetan Bhagat’s debut bestseller Five Point Someone, the movie is about three engineering students who go up against the strict by-the-books approach of an antagonistic professor. Our hero falls for the prof's daughter (Kareena Kapoor), natch. Like the best Bollywood movies, the three-hour narrative (with intermission) veers from slapstick comedy to heartfelt melodrama to rollicking musical interludes without breaking a sweat. Khan is one of my favorites. He usually delivers. (Last night we watched the historic Oprah interview with my other fave Bollywood stars, the world's most famous couple, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai (on the jump, along with the 3 Idiots trailer).
Over the holiday weekend, 3 Idiots broke the opening day record in India set by Ghajini. According to distributor Reliance (a division of the same company that backs DreamWorks), 3 Idiots grossed $21.4 million on 2126 screens worldwide. (Here's Variety's review.) Stateside, on opening day December 24 3 Idiots was the 10th movie in the country on 120 screens.