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Message my brain? No thanks boss

The other day I was watching Raging bull because I was told it is one of America’s finest films.  Aside from the ideology which has been inculcated in our system that anything American is of superior quality, I was interested to see some serious drama for a change. Yes, after finishing entire 5 seasons of BBT in a week I did want a change in mood.  The beauty of a serious movie is that it invokes numerous emotions inside you. For example, when I watch The Dark Knight, I ponder over the thin line that separates morality & justice and while at it, I mull over the threshold for resistance in each man.

So, to be honest I did have expectations when I sat to watch Raging bull. As most of you would know, the movie is about the downfall of a boxer. The protagonist being a fickle minded person, most of the scenes that involve him with others, come off as a fire cracker. While I thoroughly enjoying the erratic behavior of the lead, I realized how I was drawn into the character irrespective of the fact that he is mistreating everyone around him. There wasn’t a single acceptable aspect in his behavior & yet I drew fun out of it instead of being irritated. Was the enjoyment more out of the startling aspect of the behavior, or was it because of the innate bullying trait in me, or was it a combination of both?

These questions don’t end with the way you & I interpret the movies. If we were to go beyond the realm of neo-realism, the real world has far more disturbing events that we condemn at the very moment we hear them. But the sad part is we may never know that deep down we are practicing the very thing which we are up against. Confused? How many of us laughed our hearts out when Aamir Khan made a laughingstock out of Chatur Ramalingam’s character? That and the general approach in the movie were to show that people who aren’t intellectually competent are nothing more than bad examples. But didn’t our teachers ask us not to look down upon people, wherever our position is? How many of us in real life slandered some naiveté, just because we thought we can get away with it. While Aamir might have done it for some noble reason, there is immense chances for the act alone to get registered in the minds of people making us to think it’s cool to ridicule people around us for fun, popularity or both. 

Movies based on gangsters & bad guys at least have statutory warning inbuilt that they are talking about unethical people. But when feel good & reform oriented movies sneak in incorrect messages to the audience, are the audience intelligent enough to dismiss them? I certainly don’t think so. Seldom do we realise that these ‘good natured’ movies take any path available in the screenplay to convey the message it sets itself to spread without much care for how it is put forth.

Coming down south, we have a bunch of filmmakers like SasiKumar, Samuthirakani, Seeman, who either for publicity or by misconceived philosophy of life, preach some insipid morale. When a character in Nadodigal was proclaiming the couple, who part ways after few days of marriage, as filthy animals & the girl as a bitch, many in the audience echoed that opinion. I am not saying the couple was saint, but to use this example & manipulate the audience into thinking that a certain section of the society is that way is sheer extrapolation that is unwarranted for. It is unfortunate that while teachers & educationists are cranking their minds trying the break the perplexity over what to teach the posterity, these filmmakers with such lackluster & irresponsible writing not only are cementing their immature understanding of life as THE philosophy for life, but are successfully creating followers among the audience for their belief as well. At times, looking at these incidents makes me feel the intentions of people like Ramadoss et al are noble in a convoluted way. After all their wariness is that the gullible ones are being misled.

Movie is a powerful medium that reaches every other house in this nation. When it is viewed by such a transcultural society, one has to be clear in his motives while conveying information through it. While creative liberty & freedom of expression should go hand in hand in this art form, one mustn't lose focus on the responsibilities that comes with it. Let the film-maker who is going to voice his opinion on or for a sect be definitive about his intentions. Not always are we going to get a film that works itself to be a great thesis on the topic it is about. A film-maker usually makes film on topics that affected him & tries to bring in his opinion about it. When personal vendetta enters the scene an one off incident gets extrapolated to scourge the entire society. This is far worse compared to hating a person for his deed than hating only his deed.

Until film-makers don't come out of their will to act on every other subliminal message, like they say about politicians & politics, social message is too important to be left in the hands of filmmakers. 


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