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 Real Life And Real Life

To many Indian, real life. Films have a profound impact on the beliefs  and value systems of the people of India.  What the common man sees on the screen, he believes to be rue, and tries to emulate.  The the vas deferens between  men and women majority of films churned out by our prolific multi-lingual film industry are family dramas in which  the romantic, inter-personal  relationships between men and women constitute the central theme.  What is depicted on celluloid, therefore, could end up laying the moral, sexual and gender codes for millions and millions of impressionable people.  In fact, cinematic sex educations is perhaps the only  form of sex education that most of our people ever receive.  That is, if you can call imparting of all the wrong kinds of information ‘education’ at all.

This is dangerous.

Film-making is thus a serious responsibility and our film makers should not only be  conscientious of their own accord, they should also be held accountable for the kind of stuff that they peddle in their films. There is no doubt that India boasts some really world class talent in many different areas of film-making.  But the handful of films that are made  by this esoteric lobby are viewed only by the literati.  The overwhelming majority of India is fed, and thrives on, balderdash.

It is dangerous for us to suppose that people flock our theatres for a few hours  of cheap, mindless entertainment, and that they forget what they’ve seen the minute the film is over and they walk out of the cinema hall.  This is not true at all.  People believe what they see.  And the more young and impressionable the mind, the more seriously does it believe it.

Let us now take a  look at some of the dangerous stereotypes that are deducted in our films.

The protagonist male.  Commonly known by the absurd title of ‘hero’, this man is really made to act and basic instinct or learned behaviour like one.  In the classic potboiler, everything  that he does is heroic.  If it is  college, even if  he looks fifty, he always tops the university.  If it is sport, he is always  first in all events.  It is a fight, he always  wins, even if he is pitted against an army of bad dies.  If it is college, even if he looks fifty, he always tops the university.  If  it is sport, he is always first in all events.  If it is  a fight,  he always  wins, even if he is pitted against an army  of bad dies.  If it is romance, he always gets the most attractive girl, pip ping several other eligible's and wealthy goons to the post.  If it is about being a brother, he is exemplary.  No one in the world can be sibling  like him.  If it is about  being a son, he is even better, especially in relation to his mother.  She is his everything , and vice versa.  The term khandaan ka chiraag (lamp/ light of the family) is not to  taken  lightly.  The mother’s every wish is the hero’s command.  Even his paycheck  is too hot to handle to the mother first.  And if the father were to reprimand him for any one of several inanities he is constantly shown performing on screen, Maa, Amma or Mummy is sure to support her Munna or Kanna, if not overtly, at least covertly.  This includes  playing Cupid in son’s usually exciting  love life, which is filled with college picnics, songs, and dances.  No woman can ever take the place of the mother in this man’s life.  To make  on the fast guys and  other seminal matters even more ridiculous, the mother is generally shown  wearing white, the cries a lot, visits  places of worship and offers prayers regularly, and is either always  ill herself, or is  tending to the sick and infirm. 

This type of mother and son relationship constitutes  the gold standard  for a nations of one billion  people.  So where  does another woman fit into the hero’s  life?  Read on.

The protagonist females: is also known as the ‘heroine’, but this is merely a mock title.  As we have seen already, the real heroine in every Indian  film is the boy’s  mother.  This second class citizen (the mock heroine) is introduced  to the viewers in one of several ways.  If not as a college student, she is at the very least shown singing or dancing on a stage or in a park in the opening  scene.  Alternatively, she is shown to be the sole  bread winner in a family riddled with tragedies.  No matter  what the background though,  her dance  and music skills are usually matchless.  If in college, she is usually also first  in class and the leader of a large group of servile and sycophantic  friends.  Many bad guys from the aristocracy try to woo her but she dismisses them all with curse words like bdtameez, neech, kameene, kutte, besharam, et cetera, and asks them whether they have a mother and a sister at home or not.  That is, until the hero arrives, whereupon she blushes and eventually  acquiesces to his advances after some initial reluctance and a few songs, and does not  call him all these  bad names.   Though she dances half-naked in the rain, she is actually a pristine, pre-marital touch-me-not.  However, occasionally she succumbs to our hero’s  considerable charms, gets pregnant, and begets twins or triples  after just  one night of  frolic.  (For some reason. To andrology’s bad luck, infertility never seems to be a health issue in Indian  cinema.  TB, abstruse cancers  and heart attacks  rule the roost there.)  immediately, her attire and demeanour change in a stunning turnabout, and she is shown with head covered, touching  her mother-in-law’s feet repeatedly.  Her  hitherto untapped culinary, maternal and house-keeping skills suddenly come to the fore.  Every  once in a while, she is shown in bed with her husband.  As usual, he is desperate to makes love, not war, but the mother-in-law’s medicines or the children’s homework are always more  important for her.  This, of course, only happens if her husband hasn’t died  by now already, leaving the heroine also  in white to keep her mother-in-law colour coordinated company.

This is just some of the garbage that our children grow up on.  Only they don’t think or know it is garbage, and that’s the dangerous  part.  The new millennium and the electronic  invasion have only changed these old trite prototypes  somewhat.   Nothing like  this ever really happens in the lives of any Indian,  yet the vast majority of Indian film goers have only have such role models and scenarios to emulate.

At the other end of the spectrum, our people are watching  western soaps on the small screen.  Here, most of the women are clad in bikinis or their equivalents, boast a minimum bust size of thirty-eight , and have grand moms  who use more make up  than even they do.  The men all have six pack abdomens and everyone is having an affair with everyone else.   Sixty-year-old men and vice versa.  This lasts for a few scenes after which they  all change  partners,  divorce, and re-marry.  Drugs, alcohol, discotheques, fast cars, airports, and swanky restaurants with overdoes of champagne complete the picture.

To the vast multitude of impressionable  masses who are  forever looking for  role models, cinema can become a powerful influence.  No matter what the film-makers may say in order to defend what they  are  providing  to the people in the name of entertainment, I am of the personal conviction that such depictions mostly do more harm than good.
Recently, I asked my wife, ‘Aati kya Khandala?’  She said, ‘Sorry.  Don’t  you know, the children have exams.  Also, your mother’s  arriving tomorrow.’
See what I mean?  It’s exactly like in the movies.

Take Home Message:

Probably ‘Don’t take home  everything you see on celluloid!’