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It Is Because Of Us That A ‘Great Grand Masti’ Earns More Money Than A ‘Newton’

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“Fight Club” was a movie that was well appreciated by the critics. Indeed, it deserved to be, for its unconventional story and unorthodox method of storytelling. However, it ended up performing poorly in the box office.

At the same time, the “American Pie” series, the Marvel movies and even the Fifty Shades franchise for that fact were box office blockbusters.

Analysing the returns of similar movies, it has time and again been proven that it is profitable to make a film which maybe lacking in what cinephiles call ‘substance’.

The nuances of the economy of the film industry are indeed intriguing, seeing how movies that lack substance go on to become potential blockbusters.

This trend can be used to trace out a pattern. Before explaining what the pattern is, I’d like to acquaint the reader with an essential knowledge. Entertainment through visual media primarily appeals to two sub personas of human beings. One is the hormonal persona. This is the persona, which if left on its own, can trigger a person to any given stimulus. This is the persona that can be pleasured by the colourful and power packed entry of “Thala Ajith” or when Chulbul Pandey takes care of a truck filled with goons twice his size. This kind of persona is predominant among the people who lovingly call Salman Khan ‘bhai‘. One may hazard a guess that this is the same kind that wastes gallons of milk in washing the feet of statues of film stars in a poverty-stricken country such as India.

Then comes the second persona – the intellectual. This is the kind that appreciates movies for its subtle ability to convey a powerful message. This is the kind that despise the quintessential ‘masala‘ films, as they are able to make out the story of the film even before it commences. However, this persona is seldom seen in isolation and is often accompanied by the hormonal being.

Having acquainted the reader with this essential information, I’d like to present my hypothesis on the film economy.

Two kinds of people make movies. The first type consider it an investment and expect doubling and probably even tripling the returns. The other type considers it to be an art. These people go on to make a film to project the vivid images that had been playing on the back of their heads, to a larger mass.

Now, the former may not necessarily be a half-wit. They are the ones capable of making movies appeasing both the hormonal and the intellectual personas to a certain extent. A prominent example is the Marvel movie franchise.

However, most members of the former group are hell bent on just making easy money. Hence, they pander to the masses. They don’t bat an eye while using the same old recycled plot line as long as it generates sufficient returns. “Kya Kool Hai Hum”, “Kya Super Kool Hai Hum”, “Great Grand Masti” are movies that were panned by the critics. However, their sexual appeal helped make amazing returns.

Members of the second group consider cinema to be a holy grail that should be used to make legitimate works of art. While the movies that appeal to this group have a lot of soul in them, they are destined, most of the time, to fail at the box office. The latest victim was “Blade Runner 2049”. It appealed to a small group of people who were sensitive enough to notice and appreciate the difficult questions the film tackled while the rest considered the movie to be a two-hour long drama, made bearable by the charms of Ryan Gosling.

The pattern visible here is pretty much obvious for the average Joe by now. If you want to make money – if film-making is a business for you – then all you got to do is not abide by the artistic association it possesses. A movie targeting the intellectual being alone will seldom be successful, though there are exceptions such as Nolan’s films.

If all you want is an assured profit, stick to appeasing the hormonal being primarily. While Tarantino’s films can be thought-provoking, the gore and the duel between the symbols of good and evil often lead to an upsurge of adrenaline, appeasing the hormonal being.

The bottom line is if you want to make money from a film, stick to the same old formulas. If you want to make money whilst attaining fame for your witty style of film-making, all you got to do is add elements of Karan Johar and probably even a pinch of Rohit Shetty to your plot.

However, if you want to distinguish yourself as a renowned director and make public appearances at Cannes, make sure your ouvre is filled with works that actually inspired you.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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