When the absolute darkness that surrounded me would suddenly feel so much better as a light from the projection room would begin to play the name of the production house on screen, I would feel an irreplaceable energy in me. A willingness to engage and to doubtlessly believe in a story that over the next three hours would take me places I would call home, shape thoughts that I would call my own and show me things I would absorb with childish curiosity. It is one of the most beautiful paradoxes that an activity one engages in to escape the harsh realities of life only to replace them with ignorant lies of beauty. This hope often ends up increasing one’s consciousness and awareness beyond measure.
The contribution of cinema in offering me a deeper meaning as a child is immeasurable. I believe this is true for most people my age. In a world that has little purpose to offer amidst hate, deprivation, bloodshed and the melancholy of everyday life, cinema has always been a ray of hope. I realised this meaning especially during the past couple of months that have been hard on all of us.
When news of sickness and death was everywhere, when the ruthlessness of the world we live in was being increasingly exposed, when hopelessness was creeping into my life at a dreadful pace and I had days that took me so low that I dread their recurrence, I discovered the optimist in me. I could now recognise the stories that stayed with me, the beliefs that sustained me and the characters that affected me. In a way, these stories instilled in me a hope of the infinite possibilities of the world, of the endless potential of our lives to unfold into something meaningful, of the shared humanity that binds us all together.
Friedrich Nietzche once said, “What makes us heroic ? - Confronting simultaneously our supreme suffering and our supreme hope.” This is exactly what cinema has to offer. Talking specifically of Indian mainstream cinema over the past decade, it has been known for bizarrely unrealistic endings and happy romances that I came to believe were shallow and had hardly any significant impact on my life. Only now do I realise the kind of hopefulness this repeatedly reinforced idea that all is going to end well has pumped into me.
Even today when I come across anything that makes me unhappy, I dare to believe against all practicality that there is going to be a fulfilling end to all of this. This hope made me realise that at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how things are going, how things will get or how impractical dreams may be, as long as we have hope in our hearts, there is little that can go wrong because no matter where you want to go or what you want to achieve and whether or not you make it, hope of a better tomorrow is what drives us to be alive and it in itself makes us alive. It becomes the light in the darkest of times, only this time it would not be from the projection room and instead would be a hope for what most would call the impossible. Impossible, it probably is but it would be small minded of us to think that impossibility makes an idea unworthy of belief.
- Apoorva Jujjavarapu