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Magnificent 7

Watched the last half of the Magnificent Seven on TV. I've never seen it before, or Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. My Dad told me about the Magnificent Seven a couple of times, and mentioned that it was based on the Japanese film - though oddly, when I mentioned Kurosawa's films on a recent visit, he had forgotten that connection completely.

It's a curious film - it seems so naive and uncynical compared to more modern movies. But its characters are full of self-awareness and question their role. Sort of like Arjuna at the beginning of the Mahabharata war. I thought of the allusion however due to another issue. The villain acts honorably, in letting the 7 go free, at the point where he could easily have killed them. He does so because he misjudges Brynner's character, or rather his swadharma. He takes Brynner to be a self-interested gunslinger like himself - and lets him and his men free, according to a code of "honor among thieves". But Brynner is motivated by a different kind of honor, by loyalty towards the village that he was employed to protect. So he returns to fight again. In acting honorably towards the villagers, he acts dishonorably towards the bandits. The last amazed words of the chief bandit, are "Why did you come back? A man like you?"

Krishna, it must be remembered, also acts dishonorably, tricking the great, tragic hero Karna and others, since he is upholding a higher dharma.

Then Brynner, as he rides off into the sunset, says to his other surviving companion that, no matter what, "we always lose." It's the loss of a tyakta-jivita (one who has already given up on life before the battle - the perennial attitude of a kshatriya).