Since childhood, I’ve always had a fascination for the villains that are there in daily soaps, cartoons and movies. It all started when I was exposed to Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana. The original telecast was on Doordarshan and had ended way back in 1988, but this was a re-telecast by another channel. After watching I was really thrilled by the way Arvind Trivedi played the role of Ravana. I could have liked Ram (Arun Govil) or Laxman (Sunil Lahiri) or even Hanuman (Dara Singh), but the aura Ravana had was something really different. I even insisted on playing the role of Ravana during the Dussehra celebrations at my school and as I grew up, I was more inclined towards Gabbar in Sholay, Teja in Zanjeer, Joker in Batman, Darth Vader in Star Wars and much more.
Just because I have a fascination for villains does not mean that I’m a bad guy, I still love it when the hero fights and defeats the villain and saves the day. But have you ever thought what a hero would do if there wasn’t any villain? One thing most of the people fail to understand is that it is the villain that makes the heroes look good. There wouldn’t be any story if Ravana was kind and generous king and there wouldn’t be a Batman if there were all good people in Gotham. One thing more that we should know is that there are certain lessons that the lives of the villains teach us. Ravana was a very intelligent man and the force was strong with Anakin Skywalker, but Ravana’s pride and ego took the better of him and Anakin’s selfish attitude led him to the dark side of the force which later on resulted in his death. Here we learn that we should never lose ourselves to pride and ego.
If you look closely at some of the villains we have in popular culture, none of them was actually bad people. They didn’t choose to be bad, the circumstances they were in made them that way. Say, for example, Joker in Batman was created as Batman’s larger than life nemesis, but take a closer look at Joker’s origin and you come to know that he was a failed comedian and he was forced into committing crimes to support his pregnant wife. Batman’s interference during one of the heist’s caused him to jump into a chemical vat which disfigured him. This and the trauma of his wife’s accidental death made him go insane and become the joker. He could have used those looks to be an actual Joker and make others happy, but he chose to make himself happy by doing insane crimes and this decision was partially right and partially wrong. Everyone deserves to be happy, but the way you choose to be happy should be the right way.
Another thing I would like to point out is that most of the villains have strong principles regarding certain things. Ravana kidnapped Sita, but he did not force her into marrying him against her will and till the time she was in Lanka, she was treated respectfully. Yet we burn Ravana’s effigy every year and the actual criminals and rapists are set free without punishment. Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight taught us that ‘If you’re good at something, never do it for free,’ now my interpretation of that line is that you should never let yourself be exploited for your skills. Jared Leto’s Joker in Suicide Squad shows us a version of Joker who knows how to love and is loyal to his partner. Now loyalty for someone is something which we rarely see these days and a villain having that quality is something big. The way Joker breaks into Belle Reve Prison, in the end, to rescue his love interest Harley Quinn after failing in the first attempt is an example of love and loyalty. Now I’m not saying that everyone should go and break into prisons, but the point here is that you should at least try and be loyal and not break anybody’s trust.
So, in the end, I would just say that there is a lot to learn from the lives of the good and bad people not just in movies or cartoons but also in real life and we should always learn from them to make ourselves better.