B’WOOD reeks of ignorance and stereotypes

B'WOOD reeks of ignorance and stereotypes

Films are meant to educate and entertain. We agree on that. Most movies I watch, both Tamil and Hindi , does everything but the two. Not only are the titles misleading but the very plot of most movies not only takes the viewer through a violent emotional ride but also shakes the foundation on which the moral values stand firm. Daring movies projecting daring ideas to break moulds thereby leaving behind a social impact is always welcomed because breaking rules are exciting.  But, there is a dark side to the influence of cinemas on youth, their way of thinking and way of life. The constant exposure to the context of teenage love, extramarital adventures, sex, drugs, and revenge tend to give many of them the impression that all these are part and parcel of life whereas the truth is these are not indispensable stuff in life but are choices. We, adults, have a choice to take certain ideas and ignore a few but immature adulteens simply get carried away by everything they see and hear. So, movie makers have a responsible role to play in moulding a healthy, harmonious society.

Where in the world would an educated girl, pampered by rich parents fall for a loafer! Or how would a jobless guy become a multi-millionaire overnight soon after the rich girl elopes with him! What a sight to behold as the couple flies around in their private aircraft when the girl’s educated employed father,  the wicked villain struggles hard to get to the 7 figure mark! How come the girl who had never seen a kitchen in her life cooks a sumptuous meal the very next day of marrying her love! Is it the magic of mangalsutra! Why is it so that most girls are portrayed as though they are okay with being teased, stalked, abused and harassed till they finally give in to the man, a so-called hero, otherwise a goon or a police officer, a loafer or a civil servant! But all these and more are possible in the world of movies. The ultimate thrill is when the hero of these days, a malnourished guys flies, bounces and somersaults on attempting tricks of karate, kung fu and other martial arts on saviours of the dumped girl. Rightly so “All is fair in love and war”. And because the director had the gumption to portray saviours as rowdies, the hero gets an opportunity to flaunt his bones, sorry muscles. The most intriguing scene is the one where the new bride in a saree with her wet hair tied up bringing coffee to her man. Till yesterday she didn’t even walk like a girl, talk like a girl and act like a woman. What an unbelievable transformation! Every time I watch a movie I get lost thinking when, where and how did the hero learn all the martial arts of this world and the heroine learn pulli and sangukolam.

One of the silent prayer and humble request from the audience to the movie makers is to choose a person with a physique who will at least play a make believe role. This is the first request. Many heroes look like they have not seen or eaten a full meal for days but still manage to fight a dozen villains in one go. Sadly, the villains haven’t learned to take on the hero at one time together but fight him one after the other. Many movies motivate people with IQ to doubt if directors or actors who prefer to be directed by certain directors are actually displaying symptoms of ‘Brain Fog’ in the name of directing and acting.  Being born and brought up in TamilNadu I’ve neither seen any south Indian wear lungi over pants nor anyone sipping lassi from coconuts. Ethnic representation on diversified people among India is quiet common in movies. The point is, it should be in good taste, whatsoever. If directors are trying to stereotype something, they should at least get it right. Is it worth discussing that person who went all the way to USA to make somebody understand “My name is Khan but I ain’t a terrorist”. RS should’ve seriously worked on jokes when he tried portraying exaggerated accents, conservative attitudes, and goons who look like savages for humor if he wanted the audience to not laugh at him.

Fantasies and lies don’t take a society forward. Fan clubs are the result of adulation for on-screen heroes who are seen nowhere during telling times or for valid real life protests. Minds of the youth are nothing but fertile soil and hence good seeds have to be sown, whatever method or type the communication medium turns out to be.

In the recent past, we have seen and heard of stories and events of girls being harassed and hacked to death over one-sided love affairs. Why love could be one sided is evident or understandable for all of us to see, hear and know. These one-sided love affairs are motivated by movies that show two people from two extreme strata fall in love against all odds such as advice or intimidation from respective families, fight all paid goondas usually employed by the rich girl’s daddy and finally walk into the sunset holding hands. Individuals who identify themselves with the so-called heroes on screen try their luck in real life, get desperate and if disappointed resort to violence.

I remember the time when I decided to watch ‘Rockstar’ after a noticeable gap of few years after ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ because I regretted my decision to waste 2 hours, 39 minutes to be precise. It turned out to be nothing but a rehash of a rehash of a rehash of a rehash. Another overblown fantasy I remember is Ra. One. Do makers of these kind of movies think as to what message they have for moviegoers to take back home?

Cinema of India is enormously diverse with monumental studio systems across the country and hence the dominance of Bollywood is just an assumption. But undeniable is the fact that many Hindi movie makers try hard to portray south Indians in a way they aren’t. I’m yet to watch a Tamil movie that lampoons the way Tamil is spoken, allegedly spoken by a non-Tamil. Movie makers should do some research before deciding to portray people, culture, and traditions lest moronic dimwits like T Vijay will go by movies and assume South Indians are all dark, dusty and ugly. Assumptions apart, the world knows south India has produced beauty queens par excellence, mathematicians, scientists, dancers, and poets as well. Not every woman in TN goes around with a face drenched in turmeric, in a 12-yard kancheevaram, with plaited hair and glass bangles. Meanwhile the so-called white, elected from Uttarkhand constituency who goes by the name Tarun V must do some homework on his GK and find the answer for two questions, “ Who is the chief executive officer of Google Inc and the name of the 11th Indian President?”

Movies no longer educate. Rarely do they entertain. Still, the release of a movie is celebrated with more fervour than any other religious festival. With no sense of social reality, there is little doubt that we are making a transition from a society based on family, societal and individual values to a society where dangerous knowledge, freedom, and individual experiments are going to become more the norm rather than the exception. Cold blooded murders and acid attacks are mostly the results of people identifying themselves with the characters portrayed on screen.

If the traditional moral anchors for relationships are not tenable, what will be the new foundations for relationships?

The extent to which people believe scripts and dialogues is very evident from the number of actors who made it big in politics. Poet Kannadasan was in a way responsible for MGR becoming the Chief Minister of TN. All credits to script writers for their famous last lines and quotes that recharted destinies of nations and individuals. How I wish movie goers get the real picture of movie making and don’t get carried away by on-screen actors!

Movies on real life stories, history, significant events do throw some light. But if real life experiences and acquaintances happen to be the reason behind a movie, then definitely the makers of movies and soap operas like Chennai Express, Malini Iyer etc should be level headed to do some good research. And not propagate wrong ideas and beliefs. Eating noodles and curd to pull off the role of south Indian talks much about the IQ of many involved in the idea. Thankfully south Indians are better off to dismiss it as sheer nonsense and won’t search for keys in the wrong places. Finally, I will eat my hat if anybody can help me hear a south Indian say “Enna rascala”. Pun intended, anybody who has dimples can’t get away with anything.

Good or bad, like it or not, films are here to stay, influence and sometimes even provoke minds. If India is what it is as far as unity in diversity and women safety, security and status are concerned, most films center around a narrative that lampoons a different culture or language or it’s all about men- their love or lust, ambitions, revenge and anti-gravity antics. I second Roger Ebert who famously “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it”.

Let movies change and unite people for good.

God forbid, “Everything we learn we learn from the movies.”

 

Photos: Reddit, YouTube

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Dr. Elsa Lycias Joel

Elsa Lycias Joel holds a doctorate in biotechnology, a member of research gate with more than ten research publications of mangrove fungi. She recently authored a children's book named "Perfect Endings', the author's copy of which was signed by the11th president of India Dr. Abdul Kalam

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