What not to do at IIT! is a 2004 novel written by Chetan Bhagat, an Alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology,Delhi and Indian Institute of Management,Ahmedabad. The book sold more than a million copies worldwide. The movie 3 Idiots is based on this book.
The book is narrated by Hari, with some small passages by his friends Ryan and Alok, as well as a letter by Hari’s girlfriend Neha Cherian. It deals with the lives of the three friends, whose elation on making it to one of the best engineering colleges in India is quickly deflated by the rigor and monotony of the academic work. Most of the book deals with the numerous attempts by the trio to cope with and/or beat the system as well as Hari’s fling with Neha who just happens to be the daughter of Prof. Cherian, the domineering head of the Mechanical Engineering Department of their college.
While the tone of the novel is humorous, it takes some dark turns every now and then, especially when it comes to the families of the protagonists. Most of the action, however, takes place inside the campus as the boys, led by the ever creative Ryan, frequently lamenting how the internationally lauded IIT system has stifled their creativity by forcing them to value grades more than anything else. Uninspiring teaching and numerous assignments add to their woes, though the boys do find a sympathizer in Prof. Veera, the new fluid mechanics professor.
Hari Kumar is the narrator of the story. While he talks about others a lot he doesn’t really talk about himself. Hari lacks confidence and is very bad at vivas and is dating, the daughter of Professor Cherian, Neha Cherian. He isn’t very attractive and is a ‘loser’ like Alok. Hari is played by R. Madhavan in 3 Idiots.
He is creative and likes original ideas (like Professor Veera). He cares a lot for his friends and claims not to love his parents, even though he hints he misses them every now and then. Ryan is played by Aamir Khan in the movie 3 Idiots. And in tamil played by IIayathalapathi Vijay in the movie “Nanban”.
He is a ‘cry baby’, fat and a loser as claimed by his friend Ryan. His family is poor and he is in IIT for them. His sister is not getting married as he does not have enough dowry to give the groom’s family. In the start of the story he dislikes Ryan as he is always having fun and not studying but, after he comes back after breaking friendship with Ryan and Hari, his perspective about Ryan changes. Alok is played by Sharman Joshi in the movie 3 Idiots.
- Indo-American Society’s Society Young Achiever’s Award (2004)
- The Publisher’s Recognition Award (2005)
- It was adapted into a play by the theatre company “Evam” which took it on a national tour in India in 2010.