By Ankit Varma:
The recent controversy over Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ has forced the intellectuals of the society to deliberate the difficult questions. Are sexuality, foul language and unfiltered violence acceptable?
Before getting judgmental it’s important for us to take into consideration the changing realities with respect to the dynamics of the society and the mindset of the youth today. Youth forms the largest part of the cinema going audience. And as every producer invests for commercial success, approval of the youth is important for commercial success of any venture. It’s important that the films appeals to the modern school of thinking. Also, films in some ways are a mere reflection of the society. For example, there have been times in the history of Indian cinema when even the dialogues with a sexual over tone were considered obscene and this was in complete alignment with the boundaries of the society. As the times changed, the society became more tolerant towards intimacy, movies were probably the first reflection of this shift towards a liberal mind set. So movies today are no longer about running around trees and singing melody on mountain tops. The reason being the youth today does not subscribe to that school thinking. As today’s youth is largely influenced by western ways life a smaller differential can be observed between Bollywood and Hollywood story lines.
Another major debate was whether the use of harsh language is justified and does it have any influence upon the youth. This debate is an extension of the much controversial topic of allowing smoking on screen. But no matter how ugly it is, it’s the reality of the society and it brings the element of reality in the film. For instance, how can one depict Winston Churchill without the pipe or Devdas without alcohol? The violent ways of characters in Gangs of Wasseypur was not an entertainment ingredient. It is the ground reality no matter how vulgar or harsh. Most importantly it’s the viewer’s choice; if you have issues with the content you should not watch it. Passing the onus to the film-makers violates his right to expression and restricts his creative thinking.