Katniss Everdeen: The girl on fire!!!!

You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope. No one will forget me. Not my look. Not my name- Katniss Everdeen. The girl who was on fire!

It was back in March 2012, the first installment of the The Hunger Games came out. The movie based on the dystopian novels by Susanne Collins took the world by storm, spanning over three sequels Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, Mockingjay Part 2; all of which were superhit at the box office. The novels were already popular but the movies caught the attention of mainstream audiences & modern movie-goers. March 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the first film. What makes these movies stand apart is the message that it conveys in today’s world….

The movie takes place in the dystopian post-apocalyptic future of the nation Panem where Hunger Games hold annually. It is a competition in which a boy & a girl from each of nation’s 12 districts are chosen at random. These are not any ordinary games. These are brutal. The only way the Games will end is when only one of the 24 participants survive making it an elaborate fight to the death. It’s everyone for himself/herself. Our heroine Katniss Everdeen(Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take the place of her little sister who is chosen to play these deadly games. And she will change the Games forever….

Panem is a futuristic nation ruled by President Coriolanus Snow. It is divided into 12 districts & a capital city known as the Capitol. The rich & powerful people live in the Capitol & enjoy a luxurious life. The common people live in the impoverished districts & all always oppressed by those living in The Capitol. The poor will have to do as the rich says. Any signs of rebellion is mercilessly crushed by President Snow & his armed forces. He is very ruthless tyrant & a manipulative dictator. He possess total power of government & military. He intimidates anyone who dares to defy him. He will stop at nothing to pursue his evil agenda even if it means taking thousands of lives. The Hunger Games are held as a punishment & humiliation for the people in those 12 districts after their failed rebellion against The Capitol.

After her father’s demise & her mother sank into depression, Katniss is taking care of her family. She is young but much more matured for her age. Starvation is common in her district. She has to hunt for food daily. As a result of such conditions, she grows up into a tough woman. There’s little softness to her. The hardships that she faced everyday turns up to be her advantage in the Games as she is determined to do good even if she has to bad things if necessary. And when she emerges victorious, things around her begin to change. People begin to support her not because she won but the way she conducted herself. The Games were violent but that didn’t make her a killer. She was compassionate to her opponents, cared about them & only killed when necessary. And this was just the beginning………

President Snow is enraged as she has caused an uprising against The Capitol. He wants her dead. He invents a new set of games only to be played by former winners. He evens visits her home & threatens to kill her & her loved ones if she refuses to participate. She has no choice but to reluctantly agree to his demands. These new Hunger Games take her to the extreme & also test her qualities of selflessness, empathy, loyalty & courage which makes her a hero in the eyes of oppressed people in the districts. Supporting characters like Peeta , Cinna, Gale, Haymitch, Plutarch, Finnick etc., also help in grooming her personality. She has what’s it needed to overcome a fascist regime. She becomes the face of the revolution. She becomes the Mockingjay!!!!

But is her heroism & becoming a symbol of hope really worth it?? Everything comes at a cost. By the end of these new Hunger Games, her home district 12 has been obliterated. Her mother & sister are missing. Her love interest is kidnapped. President Snow has gone on a rampage in hunting her down & quelling the rebellion. The losses keep on piling up. The post traumatic stress can be clearly seen on her face. She is broken. But with the help of remaining rebels, she must prepare one full final assault against the Capitol & President Snow. She realises that the only way to end this war is to assasinate him. But even if she survives, she won’t be the same. We don’t know what would be left of her.

Overall, the entire four films series is not just about the uprising against this totalitarian reign but also taking an unvarnished look at war, the meaning of democracy, the consequences of regime change. It gives us a perspective on today’s problems & an opportunity to discuss about them. The world of Panem bleeds with never ending cruelty. The government used fear to control the citizens of Panem, spied on them for years & justified the use of violence on those who opposed them. The sick mindset of such people is explicitly shown- the rich & powerful thoroughly enjoyed watching The Hunger Games competition; especially the participants killing each other as if it was some kind of sport. If it was real, would you watch it, would you? The character stories are all about the damages inflicted & received. Author Susanne Collins places Katniss at the moral centre of this dystopia & oh boy! Jennifer Lawrence had the nerves of steel to portray such a tough female character who goes from taking care of her family to becoming a feisty leader of the rebellion. With her persistence & perseverance, she has done Katniss proud.

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