There is no gain in saying that a movie does wield a tremendous influence in the society. Children and the grown ups are equally exposed to the dangers of the vulgarity and degrading valued of cheap popular cinema, in the guise of entertainment.
Cinema has perhaps the greatest potential to be the most effective mass media instrument. Besides proving cheap entertainment for masses, it can easily become a means of mass instruction and mass education.
Cinema has certainly some clear advantages over other media. It combines primarily, both audio and video and is thus very appealing to the eyes and the ears. With the development of color cinematography, and stereophonic sound, it is certainly one up on other media. The moral values conveyed through the medium of cinema have a lasting effect on the audience. The audience also has a moral, emotional involvement in the course of events and the roles of various characters, their language and style of speaking does leave an impression on the spectators.
The realization of this fact is, perhaps the reason for setting up a censor board which scrutinizes all the scenes that are not likely to corrupt the wells of social morality. But this precaution could not be of any significance today, when we are exposed to the internet where you can treat your eyes to all possible vulgarity and mean, obscene and even pornographic films indiscriminately to the young and the old alike.
Here are a few cases:
Negative-The use of cigarettes or smoking in movies has started to show its effects on the youth. When biggies like Shah rukh Khan, John Abraham promoted it, teenagers were encouraged to try it out and take it up as a ‘cool’ thing to do. A steady rise in the sale of cigarettes and underage smoking has been noted. Then came the censorship of the smoking shots. But the damage was already done. Same is the case with alcohol consumption; vividly seen through movies like Devdas, Dev D and the likes. This somehow left a permanent mark on people’s minds that being a slave to all these addictions is not wrong. Since our idols do it, why not we? Here’s another one: After “Aati kya khandala” was launched, it was the most common song used to eve tease. Though the song wasn’t vulgar, later it did get those connotations. Loads of movies also encouraged thefts. Such as Dhoom, Don, the role of a cool thief who is never caught is always appealing. Who cares as long as you have an Aishwarya in shorts even if you are the most wanted thief.
Positive - But it is not all a can of worms. There have been a fair amount of positive influences too. Changing perspective is the main work done here. Movies like Rang de Basanti encouraged people to take up things in their own hands. Taare Zameen Par and Three Idiots helped you to accept what you are as you are. It showed you a way to believe in yourself. The clichÃ©d Karan Johar movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham to the recent one My Name is Khan are not just family dramas. They showed true emotions and showcased simple regular things like loving your parents, friends etc. There are many more to that list.
In a changing world scenario, where the exposure to internet is growing at an alarming rate, creating in the minds of the masses, especially children, a love for false values and vulgarity, one should admit that influence of cinema might see a downfall. Nevertheless, its influence on society cannot be altogether ruled out.
Movies have proved to be one of the best mediums of mass communication. You can escape in a wonderland and forget your worries for those brief three hours or be shell-shocked when you see the workings of terrorist operations or just get that good old feeling of being surrounded and supported by your loved-ones.
They’re good, they’re bad but they do leave you thinking for a while.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.