Life Lessons out of The Black Swan and 127 Hours- A Leadership Perspective

I am not usually a person to watch two films a month and I only watch films in the theatre (As a writer the minimum I can do is to respect intellectual property)… So I watched Natalie Portman’s Black Swan and the 127 Hours directed by Danny Boyle, a favorite in India after Slumdog Millionare and its Oscar Success (Technically its a British Film!)… Both the films are Oscar Success’s this year and I have to still watch the film- The Kings Speech, which is a major winner at the Oscars this time around. I watched these films in the amazing company of friends as well:) Thank you to Shriyanka and Bharat!

Enough of a background introduction as of now… The Black Swan is a technically stunning film based on a second generation ballerina’s career, who is making the transition from being a background artiste to playing a lead- being the main attraction and a show stopper of the production. The director of the production is all powerful, calling the shots and dumping the old star performer for the new performer (The protagonist- Natalie Portman is enacting in the film) and officially driving her into retirement. The Casting Couch Syndrome, sexual exploitation of the entertainment industry, which is the worst kept secret around is categorically characterized with other performers thinking the protagonist has slept her way to the top ( which is not true, although the director did make suggestions in that direction). There is a coup attempt by another performer, taking the protagonist for a wild party evening prior to the debut performance night- an attempt to sabotage her career.  The critical takeaway from this is that lust and temptation can ruin years of hardwork and even more determination and concentration is needed prior to the main performance evening rather than be in a state of awe and jubilation.  The Film is technically brilliant, cinematography and background score is haunting and brilliant. Natalie Portman has given a performance of lifetime. She portrays the transition from an angel to a lustful devil in her pursuit of stardom and success. The moral of the story: People have to adapt to the circumstance in order to make the paradigm shift to success. The shift was in a morally subversive direction, conveying that the world is nasty and success is a temporary phase and fleeting to the core. Always have a Plan B when, your days of Stardom are numbered.

The other film which I watched last weekend was the Danny Boyle film 127 Hours- Its a single man’s story.. He is a adventure freak ,a rebel and he does things his own way. As usual he is young guy..full of adrenalin! The character of the protagonist goes out to explore the canyon’s.. meets two young women, lost in the road..takes them on a journey through the canyon’s unexplored places… goes for diving and swimming in the underground natural pool and promises the women that he would drop in for a beer, at the party which the girls were throwing with an inflated scooby doo!

Then the story unfolds (its very boring for first part of the film), He gets stuck in a part of the canyon with his one arm crushed and stuck under the rock. He has food and water to last him for 3 to 4 days, has a video camera, a knife and all other mountaineering apparatus with him. He is trying to get his arm out of the rock, He is stuck in the horrendous place for 127 hours and that the film.  He loses out on water, food and energy after 3 days… drinks his pee, no number 2- constantly films his story and gets sunlight in the hole for 15 minutes a day! incredible!!

He still masturbates in that desperate condition (Men will be Men even if it is hell) and he remembers that he did not pick up his Mum’s call when he was leaving for this ill fated adventure trip, hence he did not inform her and lost his chances on a rescue (He happens to be a rescuer himself). He fought with his girlfriend before coming too, his case was destines to be lost! Then he cut his arm, which was stuck under the rock with a knife (was very bloody and gore) to free himself of the hell he is in. He finally bails himself out of the hole and gets rescued by a family and the authorities. The last 20 minutes of the film are beautiful, as this film is a book adaptation from a real story, the person who actually did it was shown in pictures in a collage. The background score by Madras Maestro Rahman is stunning, bring to life many a dull scene…

The Takeaway from the film- Value your family, and always let your parents know..where are you heading and this film exemplified the human will to survive, the creativity, ingenuity and the desperation to live and to live life to the full after such an event. Both the films were inspirational to me..




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