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Lakshya – Why The Classic Lives On Sixteen Years Later

There is a scene in the movie Lakshya where Karan (Hritik Roshan) returns to the military academy he ran from a few days back. He vows to redeem himself finally and make something of himself. The uncommitted laziness in his eyes is replaced by a steely stubbornness.

This journey to competence is depicted with a song.

Most young people who watched Lakshya at the time, and still do through Prime Video, will agree that this is the most powerful scene of the film. Here we see a young man taking control of his chaotic life.

There is a reason Lakshya still remains an influential film– it is telling people how to abandon chaos and live a more fulfilling life. Only a few films can claim to belong to this category, both in Bollywood and Hollywood.

Why is such a theme so relevant for the millennial generation?

Chaos, Lakshya, and Jordan Peterson

Young men and women today live in a world where chaos is the only constant. Most millennials would accept their life lacks direction and purpose.

No generation has ever had lower trust in institutions like marriage and religion. Our connection to social media is much more dangerous than we believe. No generation before has ever consumed content at such a rapid pace.

All these things together set up young people together for a very chaotic living. Einstein thought of the theory of relativity while working idly at a patent office. If he lived today, he would have been scrolling through his Twitter feed.

Where does Lakshya Fit in?

Each of these problems sets the stage for a movie like Lakshya. The plot begins with a Karan, young man-child, living a life without any direction or meaning.

When you put together every attribute of Karan, he’s not very different from an average young millennial. Most of us are working in a job or living in a relationship just because it is something everyone around us is doing.

On this platform, we have often said why relatability is one of the most overrated aspects of character development. However, when you’re making a movie like Lakshya, you need a vessel the audience can place themselves in. Thus, the fact that Karan is similar to typical millennials helps the story a lot.

In the first half of the story, we see Karan go from being a loafer to a capable lieutenant.

If you’re wondering what’s so special about this arc, here’s the answer – the fact they did it. Not many movies, past or present, show young people how to live their life. Lakshya gives an antidote to young people today who don’t know how to overcome the overwhelming chaos in their life.  How often do you watch a movie these days which gives you such a message?

On this specific point alone, Lakshya is very similar to movies Dead Poets Society and Fight Club. These films give the audience insight into a specific way of living.

In Dead Poets Society, the writers try to instill the carpe diem mindset. Fight Club, on the other hand, shows audiences how internal chaos can be overcome by unleashing it on society.

Each of these films connect with the audience on a deep ephemeral level because they provide a real, direct solution.

Jordan Peterson

Those who watch Jordan Peterson videos would know why he makes it to this list. Many tend to associate Peterson with a particular style of politics. However, his impact on society and culture is much deeper than the lazy domain of political discourse.

Like the movies we discussed, Peterson tells young people today how to overcome obstacles in their life. For a generation drifting through life aimlessly, Peterson provides direction and meaning. His message strips down divisive political ideas and social media rhetoric.

Some people call him overrated, others believe his message is dangerous. With all due respect, these people fail to take a long hard look at the sheer chaos of modern living. Peterson is helping those society forgot to help a long time ago.

The Power to Inspire

It is best to think of Lakshya as the juxtaposition of two different stories. The first half tells us how Karan transforms himself. The second half is basically a war movie.

We have already talked about the first half. Let’s now focus on the second half.

Lakshya is not the only good war movie in India. Border is a wildly popular India war movie on the 1965 Indo-Pak war. More recently, Uri became an instant hit. However, both these films and other war movies lack something Lakshya has, the power to inspire.

There are very few films which truly inspire the audience, especially in India. There is a lot in the way of shallow content. However, a movie which is able to affect a viewer in a real way is very rare.

Emotional Objectives vs Authentic Goals

Both Border and Uri are great war movies. However, both these films didn’t necessarily inspire people in the audience to apply to join the army. There are many reasons for this. Both Border and Uri are made on a very high emotional pitch. They utilize the respect people generally have for the armed forces to heighten the tension.

However, Lakshya instead doesn’t try to make us emotional about the army. It provides complete insight into how the Indian army approaches a difficult goal.

Like Border, it doesn’t devote a lot of time telling the backstory of every character and their family obligations. Uri also uses a familial connection to make the audience relate to the emotional malaise the protagonist is in.

Lakshya doesn’t use these familiar plot devices. Instead, it just shows the professionalism of the army in approaching a difficult problem. This is why Lakshya managed to inspire an entire generation into joining the army or atleast making something of their lives.

Contrary Examples

To see the value of this particular quality of Lakshya, it is worth studying other examples.

Cop films are very popular in India. Rohit Shetty is now making an entire universe around them. However, no number of cop movies in the past decade have inspired young Indians to join the police. The few movies which truly inspired Indians to think about joining the police came more than a decade ago. Some examples are Gangaajal, Seher, and Sarfarosh.  

Recent blockbuster cop movies like Singham and Dabangg made a lot of money, but didn’t offer any real value.

Do you think people will remember Singham and Dabangg decades later like we remember Lakshya, Fight Club, Gangaajal?

Final Words

In the piece, we largely discussed how Lakshya still manages to remain influential. As a film, Lakshya doesn’t necessarily have all the elements which make a unique classic. However, its message is very valuable to a generation that is neck-deep in chaos.  

Also read: What is Speculative Fiction?
Also read: Indian Fantasy Novels: The Best Fantasy Fiction From India

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