Films that Taught me Co-Existence

This year’s theme for World Environment Day - Biodiversity, is not only relevant in today’s world but is also extremely necessary for the peaceful existence of humankind. It is the existence of the various kinds of plants and animals in a habitat. The world we have, that gives us the space to live, is meant for every living being. But somehow when we humans “evolved”, we perceived ourselves to be the most powerful and manipulated the rest of the beings to maximize our needs and wants. 

Not only did we consider ourselves the most powerful but also started introducing systems of hierarchy and suppression amongst ourselves. In this mad race for power and dominance, it can often get difficult to find a place for yourself. Here are some films that helped me understand the world better. They helped me embrace our differences and co-exist as equals despite norms, appearances and preferences. 


Religion is a complex matter that was created for so many reasons. But today, this has broken us and divided us to create a lot of conflict. This movie talked about how the core of all such differences is the same, which is “anbu”, which is within every one of us. The idea of god in our society is considered to be the ultimatum that we need to look up to. This film portrayed how every life has that kind of beauty within. Be it a man who sells for a living or a man who opposes exactly that or even a dog which grew on the streets, all of them have a sort of selflessness in them. The whole idea of communism that was communicated itself showed us how there should not be different classes of people and taught us about common ownership. And this taught me what co existing at the core meant. 


This was a story of two young adults who wanted very different things and how they learnt how to not lose themselves and still be with each other. The effect that Leela Samson and Prakash Raj had was refreshing. The selflessness within the two, was inspiring. The Aadi and Tara we know will not be the same without Ganapathi and Bavani. The older couple accepted the younger one and the younger couple learnt so much from the other. All this could happen only because they lived in complete harmony.


Here we see two kids, Naina and Kavin who are not accepted for who they are. Their everyday environment, their school hates them and even their own parents are unable to help them out. They find their answers when they find the right environment and in this case the right school that embraces the difference in these children. The right environment is always a great solution for a lost soul.


To me this was a well made epic. The mythology behind this is based on the evolution of the world. This is based on Lord Vishnu and his 10 Avatars and the parallel was drawn perfectly in the film. The core of all the characters were the same, which was Kamal Hassan, but the avatars changed according to context. As the environment evolved, accordingly these avatars also evolved. In the world, all these characters end up living together.


This is a film that showed us a special bond between a father and a daughter. The started off with the father coping and understanding his daughter’s difficulty. The child being a special child becomes a woman and the struggle becomes harder than ever. This was where their environment gave them more trouble instead of helping them. For me, the peak of the movie was when the protagonist gives up and another neglected figure of the society decides to help them out. They learn how to deal with “different” when the world around them accepts nothing but “regular”.


This film is the ultimate example of how there is no black or white. The character arches of both the leads show us the true meaning of how all beings are a shade of grey. While the film starts with us seeing one character as white and the other to be black, as we get to know them better we start seeing all the different shades of grey that they’re made of.


This is a story which is unfortunately common in our part of the world. This film is where the difference and the constant suppression and oppression between two groups of people were shown with heightened tensions. This film shows us the ugly sides when coexistence does not exist. The amount of problems one faces because he is simply born in a certain group is immense. 


This piece is a beautiful love story. The two youngsters miss their chance to be together due to small but unfortunate circumstances. Yet when they meet after a long time they still understand each other’s position and accept the difference and help each other to be better. They constantly look out for each other. Janu wants Ram to get married and Ram wants Janu to be happy in her marriage. It was the right kind of closure they needed to coexist.


This too fits in the list but differently. Aruvi is a girl that's pushed away from society and even her own household. Adding on, she is ill treated and manipulated by other people. She tries to understand the essence of life and still finds a way to coexist happily. She expresses her story and in the end, people start to understand her. 


The quadruplets grow in different environments. At a later part of their life, they meet each other and find themselves to be very different. But as the story progresses they learn to accept each other and help each other out. This is how I see the world too. Essentially we are all the same but context and environment make us who we are.


Set in a slightly rural area the people who love each other are unable to be together as they are culturally different. But against the will of the people around them, they choose to be together. It's nice to see them doing well together but it was nicer to see both of their parents getting along too. The characters of the parents were truly beautiful to watch. From hating each other to giving up one’s life to save the other is the magic of love.


This film’s meaning is precisely explained towards the end where the doctor talks in a movie “vazhvin ragasiyam”. This film had a lot to say, but one of it was definitely about how we are always a collective. They talk about how life was created on earth and such things are very much possible in other alternate universes as well. The alien shows us how we think of ourselves as an individual identity but seen under a larger picture we are always just a part of something much bigger. 

Taramani, Sillunu oru Kadhal, and Neethaane En Ponvasantham are other examples of films that revolve primarily around two characters that are completely different but learn how to love each other through time. These are all a few of the films that talk about how we need to accept everyone around us for who they are. I learnt this in different forms but it was engaging and enriching to see help. 

Coexisting is not simply restricted to our ecosystem but also to the people around us because it's all of us that make up biodiversity together. The plants and animals shouldnt suffer when we are around and we can't be restricted to stay home for them to be happy. Let's all find a nice middle ground and live in peace with each other. From this environment day, we can all try to be more considerate about everything around us, learn to respect the diversity and find a balance with it.

Sharmila GM

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