Cinema. Movies. Theater. All are integral part of our lives. There is a saying, “for every human emotion there is movie”. For instance, when in need of a heavy dose of motivation I watch Lakshay or Miracle. When I need stomach-aching-never-ending-laughter, Andaz Apna Apna is my answer. For those rare, butterfly in the stomach moments Little Manhattan is my go to movie. Every human emotion is captured in a movie.

One of a rare gem is the movie Shawshank Redemption. I will present the case as to why I believe Shawshank Redemption is the greatest movie ever?

What is Shawshank Redemption? Shawshank is the movie which changed many lives, and continues to do so. Morgan Freeman, one of the star actors of the movie was once told by the great Madiba, Nelson Mandela, “I loved Shawshank Redemption”. The movie, based on a novella by Stephen King, released in 1994. Though when released it failed to create any impact on the box office or win any of the 7 Academy Awards nominations it had.

What makes Shawshank outstanding even 20 years after its release date? Shawshank gives more life lessons in 142 mins, than any other movie. Shawshank is a story about ‘courage’. A word often used as punch line, and rarely ever exhibited.

The story is about a straight as an arrow banker, who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State penitury for allegedly killing his wife and her lover. Andy did not belong to that prison; he was a banker for all he could remember. Nevertheless; Andy braves it all, and manages to escape from Shawshank State Prison.

In one defining scene, Andy overhears a guard complaining about his taxes. Andy decided to walk to the guard, risking being thrown off the roof. Andy told him that he could help him save his money only in exchange for a 2 “studs” each for his co-workers. That is ‘speak when you should, maybe you’ll get thrown off, maybe you won’t. Speak nonetheless’.

Prison is no Disneyland, and as the saying goes “hell hath no fury”. It is true to the letter for any prison. At Shawshank, Andy was subjected to physical and sexual violence for 2 years. One day, with his perpetrator in front of him, and knife at his throat. Andy said, “If you stick that knife in my ear, I might bite off your genitals due to the shock”. That is show courage when you should. Will save your life.

And yes, the old joke of “It would take a man 600 years to tunnel through those walls with a 6 inch rock hammer, Andy did in 20 years”. For 20 years, Andy scrapped through the walls of the prison, barely digging inches in a day while working in the yard in the day, helping the jail warden in money laundry. Swam through 500 yards of sewer, for the freedom he rightfully deserved.

Watch Shawshank Redemption. It is amazing!

Tejasvi Verma

Member- #ISF – #India Speakers  Forum