Beliefs Make Us Heroes
We look at three inspiring examples from film, daily life, and the animal kingdom
This is a story about how beliefs make heroes, and it starts in 2011 with...
… who is sitting on top of a building. He’s filming for Mission: Impossible 4 (M:I4) and smiling his characteristic smile, which usually hides more than it reveals. In his movies, this smile has made him friends, and thrown his enemies off guard. But here while shooting, his smile is hiding his dilemma: how to keep the audience interested in the fourth instalment of this movie series? He will need to find something to believe in which will give him the strength to pull through this muddle, and fast...
While Tom searches within, we move on to...
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
… a beloved poet in the 1950s in India, who is faced with a classic ‘call to adventure’, when an opportunity to conduct research in Cambridge comes knocking. To a young, single man such an opportunity will be a snap, not so Harivansh, who is much older, and with marital responsibilities. Harivansh will not only have be young at heart to take the chance, but also careful about not disrupting his family. A powerful belief system will give him the answer too, but does he have such a faith in himself?
We move on once more… To a time in the present day, in a sparse, urban environment, where…
… have built a nest, and laid their eggs. Much to their credit and good fortune, their eggs have successfully hatched. Now the coot parents want to feed their babies. But given the meagre setting they are in, the odds of feeding their chicks are much the same as finding a needle in a haystack!
Time is of the essence for Tom, Harivansh, and the coots, and what’s at stake is also considerable…
Mission: Impossible 4…
is the film director’s first live action film, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing a script rewrite in the middle of the film’s production. Plus, M:I4’s predecessor M:I3, had much more action than what is planned for M:I4, and M:I3 had been highly rated.
The success of M:I4 therefore rests on the tallest building in the world…
Burj Khalifa …
(where Tom is presently filming) because it’s the only location in the movie, where the most physically exciting action involving Tom can take place, which can satisfy the "impossible-ness" requirement of this film. So Tom needs to capitalise on the huge potential of this edifice. But like there’s just one Burj Khalifa, the action sequence involving it is also just one. The Burj appears for a single sequence in the whole film, giving Tom just one chance to pull it off.
Upping the ante for Harivansh is his newly settled new life…
Harivansh ties the knot once more
… in 1941, and from 1947, India starts settling as a newly formed country. Harivansh gets a steady job as a teacher, and two young school going children born from his new union.
Ignoring the Cambridge opportunity
… would mean a life of frustration for Harivansh. And on the flip side, going ahead would mean leaving his family to fend for themselves.
Meanwhile, the coot nest is built on a floating tyre in a canal; made with…
The limited things
… they could find lying around. Food is equally limited, but the chicks are many and they’re hungry!
The coots, Harivansh, and Tom stumble upon an idea. Is it a belief? Is it good enough? Only one way to find out: Hollywood style!
… down the Khalifa; he knows it’s what he needs to do to make M:I4 work.
… to Cambridge, knowing he needs to be there for himself first.
… for food, instinctually knowing it’s what they need to do for their babies.
Tom makes it count
With nothing else to fall back on except a little faith, Tom ‘milks’ the Burj to the very last drop. Abandoning any fear of heights, he performs a series of life threatening stunts on the building’s facade, from jumping off it, to almost falling off it.
And the effort pays off! M:I4 becomes the highest grossing movie in the Mission: Impossible series when it is released, surpassing its ancestor and nemesis M:I3.
Harivansh makes a clever move
A family is all important. Harivansh knows this well it seems, for even though he goes for his research believing that he needs to be there for himself first, he actually ends up finishing his research early, which doesn’t disturb the education of his two children, who are about to start university.
His belief in being there for himself and in turn for his family pays off as well! One of his children is Amitabh Bachchan, a successful film actor, and the other is a successful businessman. Additionally, Harivansh is celebrated as the head of this flourishing family.
The coots find a method
The coot parents manage to obtain food, and successfully feed their chicks, by instinctually believing in a simple technique: one at a time.
This way they cater to each of their babies, ensure their survival in a human-dominated world, and become fruitful parents.
Thus strongly held beliefs can shine light where there is darkness; and they’ve done so for Tom, Harivansh, and the coots! And have helped them to victoriously ride off into the sunset... with a smile to boot!
Useless Cogitations is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.