Parallel Characters: Artists and their self-worth ft. Birdman (2014) and Kaamyaab (2020)

A still from Kaamyaab

Brutality is intense in the world of art and artists’ desire for even a little validation. “Artists don’t care what others think,” might seem a bit untrue as most artists care what others think of their work. They’d love people to have different interpretations of their art be it in any field, they just want to reach the people, their audience. And at the same time balancing their self-expression is also important, no one needs to tell them ‘the way to do it’. And two intense films essaying this theme perfectly are, Birdman and Kaamyaab respectively.

To begin with Sudheer (Sanjay Mishra), once a popular ‘side’ actor is now in his revival mode as he gets back to the movie sets he realizes how the world and the industry have changed in all these passing years. Throughout the story we see him battling with the changes, balancing his family, and at the same time questioning his self-worth.

Scenes from Birdman and Kaamyaab

Art for which he dedicated most of the time of his life overlooking his family is now far away leaving him behind. The story begins as a crisis that takes us through different layers and then transforms the protagonist and gives him another vision of his life, possibly a happy ending. The way Hardik Mehta concludes the story on the stage felt quite real and heartwarming, one of the beautiful yet sad endings you’ll ever watch in a Hindi film.

In Birdman, it’s Riggin Thomson (Michael Keaton) who finds himself in the midst of chaos over the meaningless choices he has made in his life which includes superhero franchise roles and the way he neglected his family, especially his daughter. In a way, the thing which haunts him the most is that he sold himself to a company that chose business over art. Well, regretting his past choices, Thomson believes here is his second chance to give it back to the world. He’s back on the stage essaying the true meaning of life and what ‘art’ means to him, and that he’s an artist who has lived for art.

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