Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Rule of Three

In advertising, a print campaign invariably has three ads. In screenwriting, 99% of movie plots follow a 3-act structure. In arts, just three colours are enough to derive every other colour. In genetics, information is always represented using a system of triplet codes. In yoga, they say, we exist in three bodies. In Ayurveda, good health is all about achieving a balance of three doshas. And in Indian marriages, the symbol of marital union is the mangalsutra with three knots!

So what’s the mystery with number three? Why on earth is the Earth, the third rock from the Sun? Why is the USA (a triple letter nation) the lone super power? Why are the UPA and the NDA, the lead coalitions of India? Why do the Iyengars and Iyers sport three lines on their foreheads?

For the answer, we just have to turn to Pythagoras. He saw three as the perfect number symbolising a universe ruled over by the trinity – Jupiter (heaven), Neptune (sea) and Pluto (underworld).

Brands across the world have harnessed this power of the triad by naming themselves after it. 3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing), Mistubishi (Japanese for ‘three diamonds’), Samsung (‘three stars’ in Korean), and Sanyo (‘three oceans’ in Japanese) are some billion dollar enterprises that have reaped the dividends.

In India, the story is no different. ‘3 Idiots’ is the biggest ever Bollywood blockbuster in our history. Rajiv Rai’s ‘Tridev’, Yash Chopra’s ‘Trishul’, Shyam Benegal’s ‘Trikal’ and Dev Anand’s ‘Teen Deviyan’ didn’t do badly either. Down South in Kollywood, Balachandar’s ‘Moondru Mudichu’, Balu Mahendra’s ‘Moondram Pirai’ and Rajnikanth’s ‘Moondru Mugham’ fared spectacularly. Aishwarya Dhanush perhaps assumed her film ‘3’ will enjoy a similar fate. Unfortunately for her, the flick sank without a trace. But not before delivering Kolaveri, our very own global chartbuster!

To sum up, whether you’re sipping ‘3 Roses’ tea, or wearing jewellery from ‘Tribhuvandas Bhimji Zaveri’ or watching a 3D version of a trilogy in the comfort of your living room in Tripura, or talking on a 3G phone in an ad agency that used to be called ‘Trikaya Grey’ never forget to ask yourself as to why threesome is awesome!