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9 Robin William Movies Which Shaped Our Childhood

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By Anshul Tewari:

Robin Williams, Academy Award winner and one of the most versatile artists of our times, died on Monday from an apparent suicide. Williams was not just a legendary actor, with amazing comedic energy, his roles were an inspiration for many.

From Popeye to Mrs. Doubtfire, for many of us, we grew up watching Robin Williams. Here’s a look at 9 of his movies which shaped our childhood.

1. Popeye (1980)

The beloved sailor-man of our childhood was played by Robbin Williams himself. The story of his strength coming back after eating that spinach has been retold over and over through the ages and Williams’ portrayal of a tough and yet sensitive sailor who fights for the good. The action antics full with his padded arms and guffaws in the movie brought the Thimble Theatre aka Popeye comic strip by E. C. Segar back to life. The title track of the movie is still an anthem reminiscent of our childhood and Popeye shall always remain the favourite weapon of parents to inculcate the importance of eating green vegetables to their children.

2. Good morning Vietnam (1987)

“Goooooood Mooorning, Vietnaaam!” It will take us a long time to forget these words which eternalized the movie. Robbin played the role of a radio DJ in the Armed Forces Radio Services in the background of the Vietnam War. William’s immortal comedy took a new turn with his character in the movie which was an instant hit with the audiences. His unorthodox radio jockeying and personal discovery of the aspects of war which never made it to the radio shall always be a treat to watch. The film underplayed the seriousness of war but William’s humour stepped in just at the right spots and managed to make people smile.

3. Dead Poets Society (1989)

A sorely shy student is sent to his the same school as his overachieving older brother. Set in the conservative and aristrocratic Welton Academy in Vermont of 1959, it tells the story of how an English teacher (played by Williams) inspires his students through his poetry lessons. The movie was critically acclaimed and won many accolades but Robbin William’s famous speech in the movie shall always remain beyond the realms of any honour that awards can lend. There are troubles in the world but John Keating had a jolting insight to counter,

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

4. Hook (1991)

Hook is the story of Robert William’s heroics as Peter Pan to rescue his children from the captivity of Captain Hook. His role as a merger and acquisitions lawyer who turns to Peter Pan and battles with Captain Hook just to save his children has been one of a kind. He returned to the Never Land with Tinkerbell and reclaimed his youth and defeated his old enemy and Lost Boys’ war cry “Bangarang” was revitalized.

5. Aladdin (1992)

The revival of Disney movies’ happened in a good measure due to this fantasy animated movie. The story of a street urchin taking the help of a genie to unite with the princess has never left our hearts and it shall never will. The movie inspired two direct sequels, an animated television series, video games, toys and even a Broadway adaptation. The genie was played by Robin Williams, and he was always there at Aladdin’s rescue.

6. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

This is the story of an eccentric actor who specializes in dubbing voices has a bitter divorce with his wife but he cares too much about his three children to visit them only once a week. Played by Robin Williams, Daniel finds a way to stay in touch and not just with the kids. He disguises himself as a Scottish nanny Mrs. Iphegenia Doubtfire. Not even his children recognize him and in the process, he learns some parenting tips as opposed to his old disciplinarian attitude towards his kids.

7. Jumanji (1995)

The 1981 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg became the inspiration of the fantasy adventure movie where Robin gave another brilliant performance as the 12 year old Alan who was trapped in the board game for 26 years. Two siblings Judy and Peter begin playing the game and unwittingly caused Alan’s release and they track down Sarah to play the game once more and undo the destruction it has caused over the years.

8. Flubber (1997)

Flubber is a comedy film that wraps in elements of science fiction and a family movie smoothly within the script. Robin Williams has perfectly played the role of an absent minded professor who has successfully missed his wedding on two occasions and working on creating a substance that’s a new source of energy. He creates the substances which causes objects to fly through the air and since it looks like rubber, he decides to call it flubber. The film is a great slapstick comedy you would want to kick back with, after a hard day.

9. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Will Hunting, a 20 year old undiscovered genius with an eidetic memory is working as a janitor at the MIT. Will faces jail for assaulting a man who bullied him as a child but he escapes it in lieu of learning mathematics and seeking behavioural therapy with a therapist (played by Robin Williams). He could solve all the problems he encountered except the ones boiling under him but he met his soul mate and things changed for good. William’s insightful advice transcends just beyond his patients and hits deep in the heart when he says,

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

You must be to comment.
  1. Ridhi

    He was indeed one of the first few Hollywood actors that we were introduced to at a young age. His films have been so endearing and enchanting; gripping, to say the least! Most of my favorite childhood feature films had Robin Williams in it…

  2. Avinash Kumar

    You missed Peter Pan!

    1. Avinash Kumar

      O sorry, that was hook!!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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