What Goes Around Comes Around: Exploring the Power of Karma in Film

What Goes Around Comes Around: Exploring the Power of Karma in Film

Karma is a concept deeply embedded in various religious and philosophical traditions, and is often depicted in popular culture, including film. In this article, we will explore the power of karma in films and how it influences characters and their journeys.

The Concept of Karma

Karma, derived from ancient Indian philosophies, suggests that every action has consequences, whether positive or negative. It is the belief that the universe operates on a system of cause and effect, and individuals will eventually face the consequences of their actions. This concept resonates with many people as it implies that one’s actions determine their destiny.

Karma in Film

Filmmakers have long realized the dramatic potential of karma in storytelling. By incorporating the concept of karma into their films, they create compelling narratives that resonate with the audience on a deeper level. Karma often serves as a guiding force, shaping the destinies of the characters and driving the story forward.

Karma as a Moral Compass

In many films, karma serves as a moral compass, rewarding righteous actions and punishing wrongdoings. Good characters who engage in selfless acts are often rewarded with positive outcomes, while villains who perpetrate evil deeds face their comeuppance. This portrayal of karma reinforces the idea that one should strive to lead a moral and ethical life.

Redemption and Karma

Karma is also frequently used as a tool for redemption in film. Characters who have committed wrongs or made mistakes are given opportunities to redeem themselves through actions that positively impact others. This redemption arc, driven by the influence of karma, is a powerful storytelling device that allows the audience to witness personal growth and transformation.

Karma as a Source of Conflict

Karma can also be a source of conflict in film. Characters who have engaged in negative actions may find themselves facing the consequences of their deeds when their past catches up with them. This creates tension and suspense, as the audience eagerly awaits the resolution of the karma-driven conflict.

The Ambiguity of Karma

While karma is often portrayed as a force that ensures justice and fairness, some films explore the ambiguity of karma. They depict situations where characters face unexpected and seemingly unjust consequences for their actions, challenging the notion of a perfect karma system. This exploration of karma’s complexities adds depth to the narrative and provokes thought among the viewers.

Karma and Character Development

The concept of karma in film not only influences the plot but also contributes to character development. As characters experience the consequences of their actions, they undergo emotional growth and self-reflection. This growth allows them to evolve as individuals and learn from their mistakes, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling character arc.


The power of karma in film lies in its ability to shape narratives, drive conflict, and provide moral lessons. By incorporating this concept into their storytelling, filmmakers create engaging and thought-provoking experiences for the audience. Whether as a force for justice, redemption, or personal growth, karma adds depth and meaning to the stories we watch on the screen.


1. What is karma?

Karma is a concept that originated in Hinduism and Buddhism, which refers to the principle of cause and effect. It suggests that the actions and intentions of individuals directly influence their future experiences.

2. How does karma apply to film?

In film, karma is often used as a narrative device to drive the plot and explore themes of justice, morality, and personal growth. It allows filmmakers to depict characters experiencing the consequences of their actions, whether positive or negative.

3. Can you give examples of films that prominently feature karma?

Certainly! Films like “Groundhog Day,” “Crash,” “The Butterfly Effect,” and “Slumdog Millionaire” are known for their focus on karma and its influence on the characters’ lives.

4. How does karma influence character development in film?

Karma often serves as a catalyst for character development in film. By witnessing the effects of their actions, characters are forced to reflect on their choices, grow morally, and make amends for any wrongdoings.

5. Does karma always result in just outcomes in film?

In film, karma doesn’t always guarantee just outcomes. Filmmakers often introduce elements of irony, twists, or unexpected consequences to create dramatic tension and challenge the notion of cosmic justice.

6. Can karma be portrayed symbolically in film?

Yes, filmmakers often use visual symbolism to represent karma in film. For example, a character constantly surrounded by broken mirrors or experiencing recurring patterns could visually depict their entanglement in karmic cycles.

7. How does the concept of karma enhance the viewer’s connection to the story?

The concept of karma can make the story more relatable and resonate with the audience. It reflects the universal belief in the consequences of our actions and allows viewers to reflect on their own lives and choices.

8. Does karma always play a central role in films?

No, karma doesn’t always play a central role in films. It can be a subtle theme or serve as a secondary narrative element, depending on the filmmaker’s intention and the overall story being told.

9. Are there any cultural variations in the portrayal of karma in films?

Certainly. Different cultures may have their own unique interpretations and representations of karma in films. The concept may be explored through varying religious, philosophical, or cultural lenses, leading to diverse perspectives.

10. How does the exploration of karma in film impact the audience’s worldview?

The exploration of karma in film can broaden the audience’s worldview by revealing the interconnectivity of actions and their consequences. It encourages viewers to consider the ways in which their own choices shape their lives and the lives of others.