Friday, February 25, 2011

Lesson’s from the Movie ‘Spirited Away’

If the Americans (Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney etc) are good at making animation movies, the Japanese are the experts. Directors like Hayao Miyazaki have set high standards in terms of the animation as well as imaginative story telling. Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine (Ayan Adak) and it turned out that he also was a great fan of Anime movie, especially fantasy ones. He suggested a movie to me, Spirited Away, whose lessons I will be sharing in this article. One thing I have observed in Japanese Anime as well as Manga (comics originally published in Japan) series is that apart from a creative storyline, it represents various aspects of human behavior/ relations in a subtle manner. ‘Spirited Away’ is one such movie in which apart from the animation technicalities, the story touches you in a sweet way.

The following trivia should be good enough to increase your curiosity level. Spirited Away is the highest grossing film of all time in Japan. It is also among the top ten in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14 (Source: Wiki)

Spirited Away is a story of ‘Chihiro’, a sullen ten-year-old girl who is moving with her parents to a new town when they become lost and find what appears to be an abandoned amusement park. Chihiro's father decides to explore it while a reluctant Chihiro and her mother accompany him. They soon discover a stall with food, and Chihiro's parents sample the food in-spite of Chihiro’s protest to get back. Chihiro soon realizes that she is in a magical world when she sees her parents literally turn into pigs. Chihiro finds a boy, Haku who smuggles her into a large bathhouse and tells her to find a job so she can stay there until he can help her recover her parents and escape. He instructs Chihiro to see Kamaji at the boiler room to ask for work. Kamaji, a six-armed, grumpy, but kind-hearted fellow, says he has no work for Chihiro and entrusts her to Lin to take her up to Yubaba, a cranky, elderly witch who runs the bathhouse, agrees to let Chihiro work for her, but takes all of Chihiro's name except the first character of her first name which Yubaba calls "Sen." Sen later learns that Yubaba controls her servants by taking their names. The rest of the story chronicles her adventures in a world of spirits and monsters and how she brings them back to human form & rescues them.

Here are the lessons from the movie… Fasten your blog belts and enjoy! ;)

1. Hope & Believe In The Best:

When Haku gets hurt and Chihiro goes to Zeniba (twin sister of Yubaba) to save Haku, Zeniba asks Chihiro to recall how she is connected to Haku in order to find a way to save him. After trying hard, Chihiro exclaims that she isn’t able to recall anything from her past. She starts crying because she is unable to save Haku, her parents are still in the pig form and she may not reach in time to save them. At that time, Zeniba says “Wait, just a little bit longer”. After sometime, Haku turns up there safely and both of them return to save her parents. The same can be compared in our lives too. Sometimes we feel that we are overburdened by many things and nothing is turning out as expected. At those moments, it is wise to just hold on for a little bit longer. Though we assume that things are not happening as we want it, they will turn out to be good eventually. So the best we can do is to hope for the best and believe that the best will happen. Having this attitude really helps.

2. Perseverance Pays Off

There is a part in the movie where Haku tells Chihiro to find a job with Kamaji, the boiler man; otherwise she will be turned into a pig. Kamaji tells Chihiro to go to Yubaba and get a job. She goes to meet Yubaba and asks her for a job. Yubaba initially refuses any job and insults her and tells her to go away. But Chihiro persists and asks for a job repeatedly. Finally, Yubaba relents and gives her the job. Albeit, a well known fact, it is worth repeating that persevering in-spite of odds makes impossible things, possible. Many of us relent at the signs of smallest obstacles. But success comes to those who not only face the obstacles but also persists until the end. As the saying goes, the difference between the ordinary and the extra-ordinary is the little “Extra”!

3. Small Acts Of Kindness Count

There is an instant in the movie when Chihiro sees ‘No Face’ outside getting drenched in the rain and leaves the door open for it to come inside the bathhouse. ‘No Face’ instantly gets a liking to Chihiro for her act of kindness. The same holds true in real life where small acts of kindness does wonders may it be our workplace or anywhere. People respect you for what you are and how you made them feel. Hence, no matter how high you go in your life, having concern for a complete stranger may benefit you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined

4. Free Money Doesn’t Stay Long:

In the movie, a character named ‘No Face’, a masked spirit enters the bathhouse and starts giving gold nuggets to the staff there. All the staff gets greedy and starts hailing and suck up to him to get the gold. Though ‘No Face’ offers gold to Chihiro, she doesn’t accept it because she doesn’t see any reason for accepting the gold. In the end, while examining the gold, the staff realizes that it was just dirt which was appearing like Gold. Hence, anything which one gets without having worked for it in the right way is bound to disappear or go away faster than it had appeared. I recall a dialogue by the Superstar Rajnikanth in a movie ‘Padaiyappa’ where he says that “Without doing hard work, one doesn’t get anything, things obtained without doing hard work, never stays in the whole lifetime”

The movie is filled with many more important insights. I have explained the major lessons which I felt would be motivating to many. I leave it to you to see the movie for yourself and enjoy it the way you would want. Finally a note of thanks to my friend, Ayan for referring this wonderful movie. Thanks mate.

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