“I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul’’
One of the best part about watching a biopic is that we, the young generation with a proclivity to ignore history, be it during those monotonous lectures in elementary school, or the painstaking general knowledge questions of world history in admission tests, are persuaded by the biggest names in tinsel town to sit down and a watch history being reincarnated again in a 2 hour span. But Invictus isn’t just a biopic- it’s a tale of inspiration, passion, courage, valiance and above all man’s predominant struggle against pernicious oppression, spawned by hatred, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry, all of it centering around a man who will always be known as the torchbearer of humanity. Our messiah. Nelson Mandela.
Invictus brings two of Hollywood’s heavyweights together, Thespian Morgan Freeman and former rookie and current stalwart Matt Damon, sharing screen space. Set amidst the turbulent years of post apartheid South Africa, invictus gives an immaculate portrayal of the fear and distrust between the two races of conflicting diasporas and how a unanimous leader sets on a mission to eradicate a fierce, violent antagonism spanning over more than a hundred decades.
Francois Pinnaar (Matt Damon), the captain of south Africa’ national rugby is called on by the newly elected incumbent president, Nelson Mandela, after a series of disastrous clobbering in the hands of not –so- formidable opponents. A bewildered and seemingly flustered Pinnar is given a mighty, almost herculean responsibility by man holding the highest bureaucratic office- to rekindle the spirit of victory within crushed and defeated athletes, just before rugby’s magnum opus, the world cup. Mandela, at the helm of a country debilitated by economic stagnation, unemployment and depreciating currency, aspired for a’’ rainbow nation’’, where people of diverse race, cast, creed and color would be socially and economically empowered and the walls of racial persecution and discrimination will be demolished forever.
The film echoes the universal message that sports unites a nation, and binds them together in an unbreakable bond, irrespective of the contradictions, strife, animosity that exists between sects. It rises above communalism and cultural divergence, bridges gaps and invites harmony. It strongly reminded me of the football world cup held every four years, the Olympics and other such global sporting events. It isn’t just a trophy, it’s the world’s cup.
Last but not the least it pays tribute to the world’s most loved humanitarian, Mandela. One would feel nothing but reverence and deference for this superhuman, larger than life figure after watching the movie. Resilient, compassionate, and forgiving to even those of his arch enemies who have brought him great suffering, pain and indignation, he garnered not only the devotion of his countrymen, but the eulogy of people of millions of people across the world. The island of Saint Roben housed not a prisoner for 27 years, but a man who possessed insurmountable courage, a master of his own fate, liberated by his unconditional love for humanity.
Madiba, you will always be remembered.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or religion. People learn to hate, and if they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”