Ayodhya verdict was announced last Thursday. Next day I see a huge crowd gathered around a popular mall. I said to myself – here we go again…..But as I looked closer, the people seemed very happy….and then I saw a huge poster of Rajnikant being brought over, it was Enthiran’s first show. It was escapism at its best.
There is one school of thought that believes that movies are nothing but an escape from day-to-day drudgery of our lives. There is another camp that thinks of moviemakking as an art form which is capable of bringing social changes. However both converge that cinema derives its inspiration from the society and represent social aspects of each generation.
As an example, the changes in Indian society , decade by decade, is very much visible in the movies of those times.
1940-60 – India was still taking baby steps as a nation. The plight of farmers was very prominent. Do beegha jameen portrayed the situation of farmers in post-independent india, how they were caught in web of debts and how they were forced to go to cities in order to free up their land. Mehboob’s Mother India was also on the same lines .
70s was the time when the Indian youth was disillusioned by the system, licence raaj, unkempt promises,emergency, unemployment, corruption . Deewar, Zanzeer, Coolie were all results of those times.
90s was the era of liberalization and globalization, of MNCs and increased spending power. This was the age of yuppies who never thought of bargaining over vegetables or autorickshaw fare. Arranged marriages were passe. This was the age when Raj and Simran decided to romance in swiss mountains. This was the age of mushy romantic capers.
And now – now these are very interesting times that we are living on to. One in two Indians is below 25. They are not held back by baggages of past. Suddenly Mr. Frost is making sense to everybody – they are taking roads less travelled. Fashion design, journalism, media, writing and tourism and in fact movies also are the new-age career choices. All of this is also getting reflected in the wide range of movies that are being made today. Almost every friday we have a movie which is actually different …has a new theme – be it Black, Lagaan, Taare Zameen per, Rang De Basanti, 3 Idiots.
So movies indeed reflect the mood of society.
Now, let’s analyze the impact of movies on society now.
There is big moolah involved in movies. It indeed generates huge employment opportunities. Apart from watching the movies in which Shahrukh acts, youth wants to dress up like Shahrukh, youth wants to have a hair cut like Shahrukh, youth wants to get the card which Shahrukh gifted to Simran. All of this results in a cascading effect on economy.
But this impact on society is not what movies explicity try to achieve. But do movies actually try to make a social impact or a social statement? Some do.
The core idea of 3 idiots namely pursue excellence and not success was indeed very relevant and made us look at our higher education with new perspectives. I’m not a father right now, not even married for that matter, but Taare Zameen Per certainly forced me to think on the issue of how to bring up kids.
Movies are no invention , they are just a mirror of the life happening around us. And if made with a honest effort, they do have the power of sending back a thinking audience.
P.S : Project 2 Speech at Bangalore Toastmasters Club . I know it’s not great but still posted it for two reasons – 1) To remind myself that I have to write better than this 2) Long time , no post and I’m too lazy and little tired to write anything more interesting right now.