To say the times are challenging, is an understatement. The second wave of coronavirus has left our hearts torn. While I don’t say that cinema can heal our wounds, I do believe that it can break the seeming perpetuity of despair that we are currently experiencing. What cinema can do, is provide us with a few hours of comfort. It can serve as a temporary haven.
Here is a list of films that can help you find some solace:
The Kung Fu Panda franchise (2008, 2011, 2016)
Streaming on: Netflix
The franchise delivers a sense of optimism through its protagonist, who is otherwise full of paradoxes. Po Ping is a giant panda, an underdog. He hates movement, but is somehow destined to be a Dragon Warrior. He is plagued by an identity crisis (since he is raised by a goose), but he is not broody. He is self-aware and goofy. Po represents (quite literally) the presence of yin and yang. And that is what makes him special. He is heroic because he is flawed. The peaceful co-existence of contradictions is what helps Po overcome all hurdles and fulfil his destiny.
Do Dooni Chaar (2010)
Streaming on: Netflix
Habib Faisal’s 2010 debut film, Do Dooni Chaar, evokes a deep sense of nostalgia. It takes you back to a simpler time. Through the film, you find yourself reminiscing the hustle of your own school and college life. You revisit the crowded – and often over-crowded – Delhi roads that were once a part of your existence. You find a sense of relatability in the familiar squabbles of the Duggal family in their dining-cum-living room. It feels like a trip down memory lane where you can sit back and relish a charming family’s quest for a car. Oh, to be that simple again…
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)
Streaming on: Zee5
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar depicts the many layers of friendship and camaraderie. The film’s premise is built on a college rivalry (Rajput versus Xaviers), which further illustrates class conflict. It touches upon the magic of first love, the pain of the first heartbreak, and how friends help cope with every hardship that life has to offer. It presents a landscape that is dreamy and untainted by the harsh realities of life, where every story ends on a happy note. And somehow such representations help while coping with our own dystopia.
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar
Soul not only witnesses Joe Gardner’s contemplative journey to understand the meaning of life (referred to as the ‘spark’ in the film), but it also provides a comforting afterlife. The Great Before and the Great Beyond provide us solace and gives us a glimmer of hope, which we can hold on to in our tough times. It can serve as a sweet reminder of our own childhood belief; a belief that when we die, we become stars. Also, watch the film for Richard Ayoade’s Jerry and Rachel House’s Terry. They may not be the protagonists of the film, but their managerial office-like attitude towards the celestial matter of souls are sure to make you chuckle.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix
The titular protagonist of the film is an underdog. The film dabbles with nostalgia, and engages with themes of friendship (through Bubba and Lieutenant Dan) and loss. But those are not the reasons why I chose this film for this list. I chose this film because it makes us believe that life goes on. Irrespective of the circumstances, it goes on. And so do we. Hence, when you see Forrest living through one tragedy after another, you realize that the only way to live life is to preserve it. You realize that the real joys of life are somehow summoned in little moments of happiness, in little moments of escape. And that thought in itself, is comforting.