Charlie Wilson’s War is a movie I had the intention of watching for a very long time. In fact, I started it a few times and somehow never finished it. I finally watched it today. Midway through the movie, I could sense a familiarity in the writing of the screenplay. Only because it’s written by my most favourite writer – Aaron Sorkin. That man is a writing genius whom I have loved for so so long.
Honestly, I am not sure if the story was in the book as well but it’s beautifully used in the movie. After Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) manages to end the Soviet war against Afghanistan by supplying arms and weapons to the latter, Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman) finally tells him the story of ‘a young boy and the Zen master’ to tell him that now the war is over but Afghanistan and Pakistan have all these weapons and hence there can be repercussions. Here’s the story –
A boy is given a horse on his 14th birthday. Everyone in the village says, “Oh how wonderful.” But a Zen master who lives in the village says, “We’ll see.” ‘The boy falls off the horse and breaks his foot. Everyone in the village says, “Oh how awful.” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.” The village is thrown into war and all the young men have to go to war. But, because of the broken foot, the boy stays behind. Everyone says, “Oh, how wonderful.” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.”
There’s a line that the real Charlie Wilson (it’s based on a true story, no points to Sorkin here) says that can sum up a lot of political issues, including what’s been happening between India and Pakistan since our freedom, “These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world… and then we fucked up the end game.”
Charu Gaur is the founder/editor of Runway Square. Don’t ask her to meet over tea or coffee. She’s currently working on her selfie game which recently went for a toss. Tips are welcome.