Art is really very subjective, what one man considers a masterpiece might be considered by someone as downright garbage. But what is really art? Is art just singing, dancing, or painting? Art is more than that, anything which moves your heart is art, and art has changed in its history with mankind.
Art began in the ancient times by portraying the daily lives of a common man, slowly after the kingship came into this world it talked about the greatness of these kings, then it talked about the various themes of the contemporary world and now art talks about daily lives again.
Most great artists were poor and were hungry when they were doing their masterpieces and these adverse conditions made them what they really were and even though they were poor and were lower class it also resonated to the upper class and furthermore it resonated with the world. This is the reason why many social change workers adopted the art scene to portray their pain and suffering.
The Civil Rights movement in the USA, for example, adopted the music scene in order to reach the masses. This is true for the Indian independence movement too, and art played an important part in furthering the cause of the movement. This art included paintings, writings, music and dramas.
In the visual arts, it was the drama which made it more appealing and this captured audience like no other. And then the cinema had the most influence on people. Although there is still a niche for drama, cinema has become universal.
The cinema, for many, is entertainment but for me, it is art. I think cinema can always act as a medium for social change. From directors like Spike lee to Michael Haneke to Anurag Kashyap, each and every one of them tell a story in a specific way and it is always a reflection of society and it makes us take a critical note of our society.
It helps us understand the way of different people in the society whom without this medium you wouldn’t ever be meeting in your life. Although I don’t condemn the fact that cinema should be viewed as entertainment, there should be some sense of reality and responsibility.
I although advocate for the creator’s creative freedom, they should not be generalising things. For example, in Indian cinema, the boy who is in love with a girl has to always stalk her and demand her to marry him even though she knows nothing about him. This is a trope that I absolutely despise. Human beings when they are born don’t know that stalking a girl is right, it is the society which teaches them that stalking a girl is an okay thing to do.
The book Fahrenheit 451 talks about a future where people consume media so much that they forget their reality and this has already happened in mankind’s history. Joseph Goebbels, the famous propaganda minister who served under Hitler said that “People never want the truth, they just want to believe something and that something can be a lie. People will believe it’s the truth when you say the lie again and again and again.”
When Hitler came to power he used media as the most important tool to further the Third Reich. At that time he used the radio and he gave it to each and every household so that they can hear the Nazi party’s propaganda and his speeches on anti-Semitism.
The people who call themselves artists should be held more responsible than any other politician. On the other hand artists should not fear too. The filmmaker Jafar Panahi who has been under house arrest and ordered not to make any more films still made films which were critical of the Iranian government. Not to mention, many numbers of films which were critical of America and its world domination through unfair means till today.
Cinema has always brought people together. It is a place where every person, irrespective of caste, gender, colour, ethnicity can sat together and started concentrating on one thing only, and it’s the cinema right in front of them.