By Vinati Bhola:
Having been born in a country where a film star is worshipped like a God, where if Amitabh Bachchan faces a severe accident the whole nation steps out of its monotony and prays for him day in and day out and where Shahrukh Khan is more famous than the father of the nation, it is hard for me to close eyes to the relevance and impact of movies in our everyday life.
Talking of movies, which was the last Bollywood movie that left you awe-struck and made you re-value your beliefs? Which movie made you feel: time and money well spent? To be honest, I would need a lot of time to answer this question as the quality of movies currently being produced in our country, is consistently deteriorating. And therefore, as cynical as it seems, I might turn to the Hollywood cinema where I can come up with a good number of quality movies or documentaries. To begin with, there was this beautiful and moving animation Wall-E, produced by Pixar Animation Studios. The film addressed issues like over-utilization of natural resources and its severe impact on Earth. It was surely a delight to watch the bot romance while at the same time it shook the roots of our conscience.
A very recent and award winning production of Julie Goldman, God Loves Uganda exposed the strong influence of American missionaries in Africa and how gravely it victimized gays living in Uganda. To say that the documentary is poignant is definitely an understatement. It received great critical appraisal and according to the Hollywood Reporter, “the director Roger Ross Williams, pulled back the curtain on a most disturbing situation”.
Coming back to the Indian cinema, it is true that movies are a source of entertainment for the masses and directors are efficiently achieving this sole commercial purpose. However, taking note of the enumerable paradigms which portray that we are highly influenced by the roles performed by our favourite actors, we must take note that movies are much more than a source of entertainment. They embrace the power to change the society and the manner in which it perceives various notions. You must have heard a very famous dialog from the Spiderman movie which goes like this, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And having the power to change the society is, needless to say, a great power.
The Indian cinema, in the span of more than 100 years, has produced myriad types of movies: from commercial to non-commercial, from meaningful to one-time-watch etc. Some of them like A Wednesday, Udaan and Dil se essayed an attempt to use the power for the betterment of the society while some failed terribly. After watching Aamir Khan’s directorial venture ‘Taare Zameen Par’ I was amazed to see how most of us felt connected to the storyline, unlike movies – RA.One or Aiyyaa which for me were pure torture to the human mind.
“Movies touch our hearts, and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things,” Hollywood director Martin Scorsese once said. They are an excellent catalyst for social change and can help to upgrade the mindset, only if this catalyst is utilized in a proper manner. To put it in a nutshell, if we produce more movies like Mother India, which is described by many as “the greatest picture produced in India”, then we might generate a well-informed and smart audience. For even if a person doesn’t know how to read or write, he would know the latest hits and flops and the message transferred by his favourite actor.