“The empathy for the characters has nothing to do with their story. I did not want to go through the dialogue, tell the story of my characters… The problem is not who they are, who they pretend to be or where they come from. The only question I was interested in was: Will they get out of it? Will they be killed by the next bomb while trying to join the mole? Or will they be crushed by a boat while crossing?”
— Christopher Nolan on the main purpose of the film ‘DUNKIRK’
Some days ago, I watched the Christopher Nolans’ latest movie, ‘Dunkirk’ on the IMAX giant screen. As most of us know, the movie is about the greatest military evacuation during World War 2. It is a tensed and heart-wrenching depiction of how nearly 3,30,000 troops of the Allied forces were evacuated from the Dunkirk beaches…
I wasn’t there when World War 2 happened. Even when our Indo-Pak war happened in 1971, I was a little school boy and lived in a remote village in Mangalore. Except for the night blackouts and some food rationings, people like me were hardly affected. The generation after mine – I am talking about the young ones and little of today – has not known what a war is like. Yes, they have seen on TV screens what terrorist attacks are like… Indiscriminate killings in temples, churches, schools, malls and public places… But, that is nothing compared to wars, which destroy everything that comes on their way…
No matter how colossal a war is, it is, invariably, born in a cradle called ‘human ego’. Someone wants to ‘show’ he is right and he wants to show it with his might. And, he ends up dragging everyone and everything into the whirlpool.
Wars are born in individuals’ minds… They are fought there first. Mind, therefore, is a battlefield of the worst order… Egoes are more dangerous than nuclear weapons!
Coming back to the movie, ‘Dunkirk’… It makes you feel how insignificant, how worthless the life of an individual can be when caught up in the crossfire of this madness called war… What is the use of your self-importance, your wealth and social status… who cares for your scholarly status… who cares for what a lovely family you have left behind at home… who cares if you have had a slice of bread or a glass of water… leave alone the state of your body, mind and spirit…
The only thought is to survive… be on board somehow and come home… yes, alive!
A mad man is the Commander-in-chief in North Korea. And, in my view, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States, President Donald Trump, is not a mentally-stable leader either. God forbid, if the tension escalates into a full-blown nuclear war, we have all had it!
Right here, on our own two borders, we can witness this kind of tension… The leadership in Pakistan is very volatile… anything can happen from that end. As if that is not enough, we now have the Chinese threat to deal with…. We know the might of China, and, sensibly, our leadership has shown a lot of restraint…
But, imagine if our leadership is guided by some stupid ego!
Should we not constantly remind ourselves of our mortality… that, we all are going to die one day… that, when we die, we will be able to take along nothing… that, we are not in control of our destiny, no matter how strongly we believe we are… that, it is the dumbest idea not to let go, not to forgive and move on in life… that, what is there before us, right now, is pure grace and we should not abuse it with our arrogance... yes, should we not constantly remind ourselves of such state of our reality?
Early, this morning, my dear friend, Darpan, sent me a video of popular spiritual teacher, Prabhu Gopal Das. Here I share it with you…
Pic.: Niyothi Lobo