Ram - The First And Last Role Model Of Bollywood

Movies are a mirror of the society and its aspirations and values. The characteristics of Bollywood Hero during the last hundred plus years of its existence make it clear that it has drawn enormous inspiration from the life and persona of Ram, the ancient king of Ayodhya. Clearly Ram’s influence in social values that Indians cherish, remains unaltered even after several thousand years of his existence.
Ram - The First and Last Role Model of Bollywood
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/An_early_20th_century_Hindu_deity_Rama_painting.jpg)

Bollywood, with all its fantasies, remains a mirror of Indian society. Its hero invariably depicts a persona that is inspired from Ram, the ancient king of Ayodhya, believed to be an incarnation of the almighty Lord even in his lifetime. The last few thousand years seem to have only magnified the appeal of his virtues of loyalty and sacrifice in relationships, simplicity and courage. His life can be credited with establishing monogamy as a universal norm in Indian civilization, and thereby make the Indian family what it is today. His successful adventures in creating an invincible army from van-nars (forest

dwellers) and defeating Ravan, one of the most powerful kings of those times not only makes an unparalleled folklore in human history, but has also inspired innumerable Bollywood movies based on ‘hero rescues his love from the villain’ theme.

Ramayan: The story of Ram

If there is one book that is more likely than any other to find a place in an Indian household, it is Ramayan, and the reasons for this are not just religious. In fact, the reasons are not religious at all, particularly in the way one defines religion these days, far from the meaning of the word Dharma, i.e. duty. Ramayan is the story of King Ram of Ayodhya, who did some great things in his life, and came to acquire a divine status that has gradually become eternal with time. Actually, the divinity of his persona tells us a lot about the concept of divine in ancient Indian civilization, and gives insights about how it fitted so well in the concepts of ‘dharma’.

Maryada Purushottam: The Ultimate Role Model

Ram is one person, to whom one can assign most of the credit for creating the values of the Indian society, ever since those ancient times, which were a witness to his existence. The perfect son, who willingly gave up the prospect of being a King and accepted self exile, just to keep the honor of this father’s words, is an absolute contrast to the internal manipulations and violence that are a routine in royal families across the historical canvass. In the few thousand years of our history, there is not a single instance of such a deed… no doubt then that the man was considered of divine origins !

He remains a role model within the family. His brothers worshipped him, for all we know about it. He was a perfect husband, devoted to one life partner, against the norms of royal traditions of those times. In fact, it is his life and his choice for monogamy which led to all the troubles that his family faced. His rejection of the advances of Shurpanakha, the sister of King Ravan, led to the abduction of his wife and the ensuing battles.

He was a brave man too, who took on the mighty King Ravan, the most powerful ruler of the time, with the aid of the so called “van-nars” or the “forest-dwellers”. His adventure in creating an invincible army from them, and attacking and defeating Ravan remains till date the most popular folklore in human history. He won not only the battle, but also hearts, with his purity, selflessness and innocence. This is the reason, why his story, the Ramayan, finds place in most Indian households even today, thousands of years after his existence.

Ram was also a perfect King. His rule remains a model for all times to remember. His compassion in real life, his ability to survive on his own in the forest, his simplicity in accepting the humblest of offerings when they were accompanied with affection, as

depicted in half eaten berries of Shabri (a poor tribal woman), make it easier to understand what a King should be like. His ability to survive and fight against all odds, even when his wife was abducted, is a tale that even Bollywood has never been able to match !

The Role Model for Bollywood Hero

During the hundred plus years of its existence, the Bollywood Hero has kept imitating him. The son, who will never harm his parents, even when they are dead against him or his wishes… the lover, who will not give up his loyalty for his love, even when the whole world tries to come in their way… the brave man, who has the courage to stand up and fight even against the mightiest of those evil powers…the friend, who will always stand by those whom he considers his own… the selfless family man… the list is endless. Bollywood Hero cannot get out of his shadow, not unless he is a tragic victim of his circumstances... where his destiny prevents him from imitating Ram… and that exactly is the tragedy to despair !!

History or Mythology – A Debate that Does not Exist

Society develops its norms, values and traditions in its own subtle ways that the history can never record.  Unfortunately, the modern historian is so engrossed in the senseless genealogies of royal blood and their relics that he has lost both his mind and way to the trivia. What King Solomon liked is of absolutely no relevance if history is unable to record the preferences, values, norms, traditions, aspirations and lives of the people who lived in his time.

Real human history hardly ever gets recorded, but if someone can record, it must record that the people of India, during most of the twentieth century worshipped a man who lived in some very ancient times, long before history began to record itself in the way modern historians understand it today. Yet, the memories of that man have remained alive in the hearts of millions of Indians even after several millennia that have passed. History must also record that the tales of fiction that this society created for its entertainment, always had a protagonist who was an imitation of this man. History must record that during the hundred years of Bollywood, the biggest Hero that emerged was always a reflection of Ram, the ancient king of Ayodhya.

One may contend that Ram is not history. It is an argument not worth responding. One only needs to say this much, the legacy and legend of Ram is a truth that exists. It existed in history, it exists even today, and seems like extending into the foreseeable future as well. History or not, His-story will always remain eternal. For several thousand years, more Indians have been aware of his-story, and if anything, this trend will only grow from her. It is difficult to say if history can make such a claim.

Bollywood will also remain eternally indebted to this great hero, divine or not, he will always be the inspiration for Bollywood hero. His-story will be repeated in Bollywood in new ways and forms…!!

Article Written By V Kumar

I am a physician, as well as a freelance writer with some expertise in several subjects. I write for the passion of writing. Life has blessed me with opportunities to witness interesting aspects of life and people around the world. Indeed, these are very interesting times and we who live in this era are privileged to experience it. You can find my articles at http://vkumar.expertscolumn.com/

Last updated on 20-05-2017 2K 0

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