Discovering and getting to know myself has allowed me to take different views and perceptions about life. It has matured and pushed me to think differently, broadly and challenge my thought processes regularly. I have come to realise that I love movies and books which are based on true events. I have mentioned my love of biographies in my previous posts. The ones I truly love are the ones which provoke the world’s monotonous view on certain issues such as race, companionship and privilege. I will name a couple of books with movies that have challenged my world view and have encouraged me not to lose hope in humanity, even when the future looks bleak and dire.
1.VICTORIA & ABDUL
Victoria and Abdul is based on the friendship of Empress of India, Queen Victoria and an Indian servant Abdul Karim, in 1889 when India was under the British rule. Abdul had come to England as “a gift” for the Queen with the intention of being a translator for the Indian princes at her 50th Jubilee.
Her unlikely friendship with an Indian, who was deemed to be inferior and uncouth, was not met with good merry. The Queen was deemed delusional and was at some point, “forced” to abdicate as she was seen as unfit to rule a nation.
Her unusual close friendship with Abdul went on for 14 years and during that time, he became the Queen’s munshi (teacher) and taught her Urdu, introduced her mango and Indian curries. She gave him gifts, titles and honours, which did not sit well with the members of the royal family.
When the she died in 1901, Abdul was forcibly deported and all his letters and mementos were burnt by the queen’s children. His story however, lived on thanks to his journals and oral history.
The Loving story is one of my all time favourites, it reminds me of Ruth and Seretse Khama’s story. It is about how two people from difference races fell in love and literally fought to be together. In 1967, they fought the State of Virginia and took it to Supreme Court where they won the case.
Richard and Mildred Loving got married in 1958 and 5 weeks into their wedding, they were arrested in their bedroom early hours of the morning. Interracial marriages were illegal and were punishable. They late on pled guilty to violating the state’s Racial Integrity Act with a judge telling them if God had wanted blacks and whites to be together, he would have put them on one continent.
The judge allowed them to flee the stare of face prison. For the next five years, they lived in exile and had three children. In 1967, Mildred sort the help of Robert F Kennedy, who referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union which agreed go take their case. The judges unanimously ruled in the couple’s favour and interracial marriages were legalised. Eight years after their win, Richard was killed by a drunk driver in an accident. Mildred never remarried and died in 2008.
Lion is a story about an Indian boy Saroo (meaning Lion) who got lost when he fell asleep on a train whilst waiting for his brother who was scrounging for money and food to take home to his mother. He was only 5 years old and would spend several weeks hungry, scared and confused in the streets of Calcutta before being placed in an orphanage.
He was later on adopted by an Australian couple who welcomed him and did not treat him differently. He settled well with his new family but he always felt lost and could not stop thinking about his mother, brother and sister. When he discovered google maps, he saw it as an opportunity to trace and find his Indian family. For five years he became obsessive and searched the radius of all the railway lines leading to Kolkatta. In 2012, after more than 20 years, Saroo went to India were he met his biological mother and sister. His mother said she always had hope he was alive.
The Upside is based on a movie (The Untouchables) which is based on a true story and memoirs about 2 men whose friendship seemed unlikely but deferred all odds. It is based on the lives of Phillipe Pozzo di Borgo a French aristocrat and Abel Sellou an Algerian ex-con who migrated to France and later on became Phillipe’s life auxiliary. There friendship crossed a lot of social boundaries such as race, classism and giving a second chance to those who are deemed to be least deserving.
After Phillipe had a paragliding accident which left him a quadriplegic, he had to look for someone to help him with his day to day activities. After interviewing over 90 people, of which most were professionals, Phillipe chose Abel. He said he chose him because of his character, he did not feel sorry for him but acknowledged and overlooked his disability. Abel on the other hand, had only gone for the interview so he could keep on claiming his income support.The two men have an everlasting bond and are still friends to this day.
This has been one of my favourite since I was a little girl. It is based on Michael Oher, a homeless teen who had drifted in and out of school and had no one to permanently look after him. He was later taken in by the Touhy family who ended up adopting him into their family.
His tremendous size and protective instinct, secured him a place in the football world. His personality won the Touhy’s over and they accepted him as their son. It is an uplifting story that will have you hope in humanity again.