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Omi Vaidya’s ‘3 idiots,’ ‘Big in Bollywood’ to be screened in Montgomery County, MD

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The screening in Silver Spring, MD, on November 14 and 16 is a precursor to a Bollywood film festival next spring.

"Omi-vaidya"
Omi Vaidya; photo by Bala Chandran

Indian American actor and Montgomery County, MD, resident Omi Vaidya’s hit film 3 Idiots and his documentary Big in Bollywood will be screened at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD, on November 14 and 16.

The screening is being arranged by Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner, AFI Silver Theatre and the Maryland-India Business Roundtable.

Speaking to The American Bazaar by phone last week, Berliner said the screening is a precursor to a major Bollywood film festival being planned in the country next spring.

He said the idea for the festival originated during a recent discussion with leaders from the Maryland-India Business Roundtable, a nonprofit group that promotes increased business relations between the state of Maryland and India.

The 2009 hit 3 Idiots is an Aamir Khan starrer, directed by Rajkumar Hirani. The inspiration for the drama is the novel Five Point Someone, penned by popular Indian writer Chetan Bhagat. Vaidya plays the character of of an Ugandan-Indian Tamilian in the film.

The biographical documentary Big in Bollywood is about the actor’s struggles with fame after 3 Idiot.

ALSO READ: I turned down the role of 3 Idiots: Omi Vaidya (December 30, 2012)

3 Idiots will be screened on November 14, and Big in Bollywood on November 16.

“To appreciate that we have such a large Indian community, to appreciate that we have the star of 3 Idiots [Vaidya] who lives in our county … to have one of the most prolific film industries in the universe and to have AFI, which really does this kind of work, it just felt like such a great combination,” said Berliner.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of the 2013-2015 American Community Survey, the Washington, DC, area has the fifth largest Indian American population in the nation, numbering 158,000. More than a fourth of the region’s Indian American population lives in Montgomery County.

Berliner said people of the county have responded very well to the initiative. “A lot of smiles,”  he said. “People seem genuinely happy about it and excited about it. The Indian community is such a significant part of Montgomery County and the region. I think it’s going to be a hit.”

The county council president said his fascination for Bollywood movies was triggered after watching the film Lagaan, which is also an Aamir Khan film. “One of my favorite all-time movies ever is Lagaan,” he said. “That was my introduction and almost the extent of my experience with Bollywood. It is such a lovely story, the music and just the whole thing I thought was off the chart.”

Vaidya told The American Bazaar that he is “very excited” to bring the two films “to the people of Maryland.” The actor added that, “Hopefully it brings more awareness about Bollywood and the Indian film industry to the residents of Maryland and the DMV area.”

Abigail Algar, Film Programmer at AFI, said the institute is excited about screening Bollywood films and through these celebrate the Indian culture. “There’s nothing like seeing a Bollywood hit on the big screen with an enthusiastic audience and we’re delighted to have an opportunity to highlight popular Indian cinema by welcoming actor Omi Vaidya to the AFI Silver.”

Praising Vaidya’s work, Algar said, “3 Idiots has the status of a modern classic — we’re just incredibly lucky to have one of its stars living right here in Montgomery county! This is a great way to celebrate Indian arts and culture, to welcome more members of our community to the Silver and to introduce new audiences to the joys of Bollywood.”

(A previous version of the post had erroneously stated the screening dates. The films will be screened on November 14 and 16, not on 15.)