I’m a self-professed big fan of the movie Kung Fu Panda. Even today, if it is playing on television, I will invariably stop to watch. It doesn’t matter if I have seen it umpteenth number of times. The allure for me is not only the plot line but, more importantly it is the characters in the movie. Before I get into the crux of my post, I must mention that Sadhvi Vrindaji’s virtual course on creative writing revolves around Kung fu Panda movie and the protagonist Po. For all the budding writers, I would suggest signing up for this virtual retreat. It is worth every penny.

 While recently watching this movie, it struck me that characters such as Po, who is a cuddly albeit clumsy Panda riddled with self-doubt and low self-esteem have something lacking. This is true for most of the characters in this movie such as Master Oogway (Turtle), Shifu (either a diminutive red panda or racoon), Mantis (insect), Monkey and Crane who stand on the side of Dharma. You may wonder what I am alluding to. The furious five, which also includes Tigress and Snake are the finest exponents of kung fu taught by none other than Shifu, who learnt this craft from Master Oogway. This group has fought evil numerous times to bring harmony to the citizens of the Valley of Peace.

 These superheroes lack vicious claws, dreaded fangs, sharp canines and do not carry any sort of weaponry, other than their superlative Kungfu skills. Whereas the opponents are apex predators who are well endowed in the meanness department. The docile looking members of the group’s furious five are loaded with an abundance of self-confidence, ability to trust in each other and, as Po would like to believe, have buckets of awesomeness. Some of these characters have inherent flaws. They are not shy about admitting it. This does not stop them from tapping into their reservoir of inner strength and willpower. They acknowledge their vulnerabilities and take failures in their stride. The other character who is like the furious five or even greater, if I might add, is Master Yoda from the Star Wars fame. He is probably shorter than a midget with a gentle demure. Please don’t judge him by his physical attributes, for he is the Jedi Master who helps bring balance to the force. He is more than a match with the light sabre and has incredible powers using the force. His quirk is that he speaks backwards.

 I commend the writers for creating such amazing characters who evoke awe and inspiration. They are not shown to be someone possessing bulging biceps, sporting thighs like tree trunks or, for that matter, having extra ordinary powers. This is a classic case of the under-dog prevailing over their evil opponent who outsize them in every which way. It has a beautiful message that we should always be playing to our strengths and not worry too much about our weakness. I will leave you with some of my favourite quotes. Interestingly enough, the inspiration for these two movies is drawn from the eastern philosophy.

 

Master Yoda – “When you look at the dark side, careful you must be, For the dark side looks back”

                          “Do. Or do not. There is no try”.

 

Po as the Legendary Dragon Warrior – “Ah, my old enemy… [Looks up to a long staircase.] Stairs…!”

 

Master Oogway – “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it”

                                “There are no accidents”

 

Picture Credit- Photo by www.denofgeek.com

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Deepak Nair

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