As individuals, we all have our goals and ambitions in life and, we work towards achieving them. We all dream of becoming successful. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines success as ‘the fact that you have achieved something that you want and have been trying to do or get; the fact of becoming rich or famous or of getting a high social position.’ This definition emphasises ‘getting’ something for oneself rather than ‘becoming’ someone. This also seems to be what most of us think about when we hear the word ‘success.’ However, do we really become successful when we get what we desperately want or dream of? This theme is depicted in one of India’s most iconic movies, Fashion.
The movie, released in 2008, is about the journey of a girl from Chandigarh, who dreams of becoming a supermodel. A simple and humble girl, Meghna Mathur, goes to Mumbai against her father’s will to fulfil her dream in the Mumbai Fashion Industry. After a series of auditions and struggling for some time, she makes her way into the industry.
While she is struggling, however, she meets a number of people who genuinely care for her and help her climb the ladder to the top. They become her true friends who wish nothing but the best for her. However, as she jumps right up and becomes a supermodel overnight, pride overtakes her and she loses herself in her so-called ‘success’. She compromises herself and her ethics, forgets her friends, belittles them, and eventually drives them out of her life with her arrogance and ego. She ruins her reputation and, ultimately herself. Upon realising her degradation, immorality, and disgrace, she goes back to her parent’s house to gather herself again.
Although Meghna is able to achieve what she wants, she loses herself along the way and becomes a disappointment even in her own eyes. Success does not seem to be an achievement if it corrupts who you are. All the fame, wealth, and respect that one gets in achieving a desired goal counts for nothing if it deteriorates one’s being. Success, therefore, seems like an accomplishment when it makes someone a significantly better version of themselves.
As Meghna makes her comeback to the fashion world, she goes on to help her once rival, Shonali Gujral, to try overcome drug abuse. She says that becoming a supermodel does not make her as happy as helping another person. She now understands the meaning and value of success – that is, to become a better human being and help others do the same.
Interestingly, the Old Testament records one of the most successful kings of Judah, by the name of Hezekiah. He was a good king who followed God throughout his life. He prospered in everything he did. 2 Kings 18:6–7 says, “…he was successful in whatever he undertook.” As a military leader, he held off the superior forces of the Assyrians. However, pride overtook him years later, and, when Babylon sent envoys to him because the Babylonian King heard he was sick, Hezekiah showed them all of his wealth, a way to boast in what he perceived as his own success instead of boasting in God’s greatness and power (2 Chronicles 32). In trying to impress them, he also gave away important state secrets. Therefore, wrath fell upon him, Judah, and Jerusalem, because of his pride. But, when he turned away from his pride and humbled himself, God delivered him and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:26). Thus, it can be seen that success can even lead a godly man to pride and ultimately, a fall. It is only in humility and gratitude that the honour of a person can be restored.
The pursuit of achieving or accomplishing our ambitions, dreams or goals is not an erroneous endeavour, rather, it is part of being human. We know that not everyone who achieves their goals destroys themselves. There are those who succeed professionally and lead decent lives as well. Therefore, there must be some factors that help us become better humans even as we fulfil our dreams. As the movie suggests, we can remain humble and be grateful to those who supported, encouraged or lent a helping hand on our way up, and, most importantly not forget where we came from. Our success must only make us better individuals than we were. The movie, Fashion, shows us just that.
Author: Phida Warjri
Life Focus Society
Culture Unraveled is an initiative of Life Focus Society