The LINCHPIN in “3 Idiots”

The LINCHPIN in “3 Idiots”

By Rajesh Setty on Sat 30 Jan 2010, 10:55 PM – 16 Comments

3 Idiots is a movie that touched my heart in the recent past. The movie was not just entertaining but was filled with so many life lessons. Brilliant storytelling made it memorable. I won’t go into everything as I am sure many of you have not seen the movie and don’t want this to be a spoiler

The characterization of the protagonist Rancho was what touched me most (apart from the core theme of the movie.)

The Protagonist Rancho (Aamir Khan, Aamir Khan’s blog) was not just different but someone who made a difference and touched the hearts and souls of so many people in his short stay in the college. Then Rancho goes missing and his two friends Farhan (R. Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi) search for him. They have not found him for five years but they don’t give up their search.

On a similar note, LINCHPIN (new book by Seth Godin) is one of my favorite reads in the last few days.

In LINCHPIN, Seth focuses on BEING rather than DOING. Seth’s compassionate plea is for everyone to “be” an artist – be a Linchpin rather than a cog in the wheel.

There is no premium paid for “being” a cog in the wheel. Not just that, your survival is at stake if you continue “being” a cog in the wheel. So, it is not like one has a choice on whether he/she wants to do something different. One has to start “being” a different person – an artist – someone who creates.

The book is BRILLIANT because it’s a wake-up call for most professionals. Wake up call to let them know that they are heading towards a cliff if they continue “being” who they are.

A LINCHPIN in simple terms is “someone who is indispensable.” Someone who has made such a significant impact that he/she is someone you cannot live without.

Now, combining the two of my favorites – 3 Idiots and LINCHPIN, what I can infer is that Rancho was the LINCHPIN in their lives. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons the friends never gave up the search on Rancho.

In this 5-minute song, his friends recollect memories of him and explain how he had touched their heart. The song is in Hindi but thanks to Bijith, I have found the translation for the lyrics.

A thought experiment for you:

1. If you go missing (and I pray you don’t) and your friends had to think about the difference you made in their lives, what would they think about? What would YOUR song look like?

2. What could you do in 2010 so that there is a better song for you?

You may not have an answer right now, but that’s something for you to think about.

Meanwhile, here is the song and the English translation for you to enjoy:

Translation Courtesy: Bijith

(Note: Made some minor changes to the original translation)

Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh

He was like a flowing wind

Udti Patang Sa Tha Woh

He was like a soaring kite

Kahan Gaya Usse Dhoondo

Where did he vanish? Lets find him

Humko Toh Raahein Thi Chalati

While we were always following the path

Woh Khud Apni Raah Banata

He always made his path

Girta Sambhalta Masti Mein Chalta Tha Woh

[He] Sometimes fell, sometimes balanced but always went ahead cheerfully

Humko Kal Ki Fikar Sataati

We were always worried about tomorrow

Woh Bas Aaj Ka Jashn Manaata

And, he always celebrated today

Har Lamhe Ko Khulke Jeeta Tha Woh

He lived every minute fully

Kahan Se Aaya Tha Woh

Where did he come from?

Chhooke Hamare Dil Ko Kahan Gaya Usse Doondo

Where did he vanish… touching our hearts

Sulagti Dhoop Mein Chhaaon Ke Jaisa

He was like shade in scorching sun

Registaan Mein Gaaon Ke Jaisa

He was like an oasis in a vast desert

Mann Ke Ghaav Me Marham Jaisa Tha Woh

He was like medicine for wounded heart

Hum Sahme Se Rehte Kuwein Mein

We were living in our own well

Woh Nadiya Mein Gote Lagata

While he would do a somersault in the river

Ulti Dhara Cheerke Tairta Tha Woh

He used to swim against the waterfall

Baadal Awara Tha Woh

He was like a carefree cloud

Yaar Hamara Tha Woh

He was our friend

Kahan Gaya Usse Dhoondo

Where did he vanish… lets find him!

Have a great week ahead!


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16 Comments so far, Add Yours

kd36939  on January 31st, 2010


I am disappointed by the fact that a highly educated n rational person like you got smitten by the 3-Idiot bug.

How was Rancho a linchpin in others life? All he did in the movie was preach, preach and only preach and in doing that he made the other two heroes look like a fool. Yeah, I agree that one has to be a different person. But at what cost? Not at the cost of boozing and sleeping in the class with his other 2 idiots, not at the cost of peeing at the Deans house with other 2 idiots (n still expecting sympathy), not at the cost of stealing question papers for one of the idiots … n so on. If this is what makes a person a linchpin, then everyone is one!

I understand your post. But combining 3-Idiots with Linchpin is just doing injustice to author who might have other views on who a Linchpin is.

Rajesh Setty  on January 31st, 2010

Hi Karthik,

First of all, I am sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the movie.

I read your review of 3 Idiots on your site

After reading that review, it seems like you are angry than disappointed :)

There is no need to get angry at anything.

I like the movie. I also like the book that the movie is based on and I love Seth’s book.

In your comments you have conveniently picked the scenes that has most affected you and forgot to pick a hundred others where there is a better message portrayed.

In any case, I respect your opinion and I don’t want to attempt to change it.

If the way you are approaching is working for you, please do continue to think that way.

There is a reason why people love the movie and I do know a ton of smart people who liked the movie and the book :)

Have a great week ahead.



Prasanna  on January 31st, 2010

I have not watched this movie yet, but reading this post I am sure going to :)

Again a wonderful post Rajesh!

Raj  on January 31st, 2010

Still waiting for the book to be released in India to lay my hands on it!

Tanmay Vora  on January 31st, 2010

Hi Rajesh,

I hope you are doing great! I read your post today which brilliantly co-relates 3-idiots with Linchpin. You rightly identified Linchpin in Rancho.

I have been constantly thinking about the lessons in 3-Idiots, and even reading them elsewhere on web. The story is brilliantly told, and one only enjoys the movie while watching it. But the movie actually starts working when you think about it. It initially leads to some amount of internal desperation after which the message clearly unfolds in your own context. And this message is is profound enough to move you into action.

To me, that is the thing about great art. You enjoy it, then think about it and then it stirs the pot inside us. It makes the world a better place, because it positively impacts so many people. To me, both Linchpin and 3-Idiots are examples of great art, only in different forms.

I am yet to read Linchpin, but I am following every bit of it on the web (reviews, tweets etc.).

Thanks for writing the brilliant post and wish you a wonderful Sunday!

Best Regards,

Tanmay Vora

Rajesh Setty  on January 31st, 2010

Prasanna, Utpal and Tanmay:

Thank you so much for your comments.

You will also enjoy Chetan Bhagat’s book “Five Point Someone” on which the movie is based.

The book and movie are quite different but you will enjoy both of them.



Dave  on January 31st, 2010


Thanks for the consistent encouragement you offer in your blog. When I read this post, it reminded me of Metric #9 in your Metrics That Matter worksheet:

“Number of people who miss you in their past.”

This really is something to think about – not from a narcissistic “I wanna be loved by you” point of view. Rather from a sincere motivation to enrich the lives of others.

On your advice, I’ve been reading the Linchpin for a few days now. It truly is a groundbreaking exhortation to professionals of every stripe. Thanks for your transparency and insight. I look forward to every post.

Kind Regards

Dave Schoeff

Murali  on January 31st, 2010

Thank you Rajesh and Bijith for the English translation. Now, I can really enjoy the song and feel it.

I haven’t read Lynchpin, but watched the movie. Its a wonderful movie. Hope all that watched the movie take the essence and live it not just talk about it. It will be a good test to see what all these ‘3 idiots’ fans will do when Rancho appears in real life. Do they applaud? Do they appreciate? Do they embrace? or just ignore?

Whether we believe in creationism or evolution or something else, there is a reason each of us are born totally unique. Many of us trade that uniqueness for ’social likability and acceptance’. Many people relate to 3 idiots and believe they are in fact like Rancho in many ways. That is the greatness of art medium. But in reality, being Rancho is not for everybody. Not definitely for faint hearted.

When was the last time we read a book that was not a best seller or a blog that wasn’t read by anybody else and genuinely thought it was great. When was the last time we just loved a movie that was a total flop and excited to say it. Hope, we all take the message of 3 idiots and have guts to live through it.

You may also like “The Dead Poet’s Society” if you haven’t watched. If you keep all Bollywood magic aside, I feel the same message in the movie.

Rajesh Setty  on January 31st, 2010

@Raj, you are in Bangalore and let us connect offline and I will ask Kavitha to lend her copy after she finishes reading it.

@Dave, thank you so much for your kind words.

@Murali, I have watched and loved “The Dead Poet’s Society”



Srinivas N Jay  on January 31st, 2010

Hi Rajesh,

Awesome post and very good correlation between LINCHPIN book and Movie 3 IDIOTS. I have watched the movie and I love it. I should read the book!

Thanks a lot.

Have a wonderful day :)

Rajesh Setty  on January 31st, 2010

Thanks Srinivas. So glad you liked it.

Seth’s new book can be life changing. I am confident that you will enjoy it.



Amrutha  on February 1st, 2010

Wonderful correlation! I loved the movie too and i am sure going to read the book!

Rajesh Setty  on February 1st, 2010

Thanks Amrutha,

You will totally enjoy the book. It is also very timely with all the technology changes and globalization in full force.



Austin  on February 1st, 2010

Excellent post. I’m yet to get my hands on the book LINCHPIN. Look forward to reading it soon.

Srinivas N Jay  on February 1st, 2010

I always search through the internet to see if somebody like you has recommended a book to read. I am so glad that you did. I should be very thankful to you :) Thanks for this blog concept which has linked people who want to share and who desperately want to learn.

You made my day. Trust me, reading book after recommended by people like you is very fun :) Bcoz, you gave me leap of faith ( on this book.

Thanks again.

Sanjaim1  on February 1st, 2010

Hi Rajesh,

Good continuity to your previous post on LINCHPIN. It’s a nice summary to the movie ‘3 Idiots’.

I read an earlier comment if Ranch (in 3 idiots) is a LINCHPIN. It is a good argument (I could agree with some of it). But the reason I would consider Rancho a LINCHPIN is because of making his friends realize their true passion and chase them.

Maybe you have another topic to blog about on LINCHPIN :-)


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