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Rethinking Evil—Villains 101

On 1st December 2021, Blank 101, the renowned public speaking club of Manipal, organized Villains 101, an event where the members discussed numerous villains from every form of entertainment imaginable, their psyche that caused them to pick one side over the other, and the importance of villains in a story. The event was streamed live on YouTube and Instagram.

Swagat Sarkar started off with an introductory speech about how we always perceive villains to be more intriguing than the hero himself. “The hero of one story can be the villain of another,” he said, reminding us that there are always two sides to a story. Sneha Dubey gave a fascinating speech about the infamous serial killer and cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, and dived deep into his traumatic childhood in World War II that left him and his sister orphaned. His intelligence and impeccable memory, with a charismatic aura of elegance and grace around him, makes us wonder—was he evil, or just crazy? Following this, Sriya Misra discussed real-life villains—people from history who will only be remembered for their terrible acts against humanity. “A villain is not always someone who stands in the way of a hero,” she said, giving the example of Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan and Kim Jong-Un. This was followed by a speech by Sushant Shekhar and Arihant Raj Singh in which they discussed what makes a villain truly great, to be remembered for ages to come. They talked about some of the greatest villains of all time—the Joker, Adolf Hitler, Thanos, Pakshiraj, Dolores Umbridge, Cersei Lannister, Amy from Gone Girl—their charisma and unusual sense of allure that we feel towards them, and how a hero always needs a villain. Dhwani Masand followed with a discourse on the villains in animated movies that we grew up watching as kids—Mufasa and Dr. Doofenshmirtz—and the villains in our own lives, the people that we hate. “We’re always looking for someone to blame,” she said, explaining how we demonize people who weren’t the very nicest to us.

Swastika Shankar, the President of Blank 101, concluded the compelling speeches, summing up the definition of a villain as someone who stops the hero from achieving their full potential. “We perceive rivalry as villainy; anti-heroes become villains,” she said, emphasizing how there are always two perspectives in any hero-villain story. With the YouTube live stream gaining over a whopping two hundred views, the event was a success, as it gave everyone food for thought and made us reconsider our take on villains and evil in general.

Featured Image Credits: Blank 101, Manipal

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