Movies were initially meant to be a means of entertainment, along with spreading a social message.
The Father of Indian Cinema - Dadasaheb Palkhe - envisioned Indian cinema as a medium to instil righteous values in our citizens, aiming to make society a better place.
A majority of initial Indian movies, such as Raja Harishchandra, were developed on these lines, spreading messages of truth and dedication to one’s work, determination, helping those in need et cetera.
But this no longer remains the case.
Movies today are increasingly morphing into tools of political propaganda, supporting or rejecting a certain ideology.
They aren’t as simple as they once were.
Most Bollywood movies that come out today are considered offensive, to one community or the other. Be it Pathan, Padmaavat, Sooryavanshi or many more, they ended up being extremely controversial, leading to mass protests, some of which turned violent.
Now the question arises: Who is at fault? Politicians? Filmmakers? Journalists, who make a big deal out of nothing? Is politics influencing cinema, or is it the other way around?
In fact, it may be both.
In the case of politics, we see that any controversy regarding movies is used by political parties to their advantage. Be it the Kashmir Files, which was a genuine attempt to bring to light the devastating plight of the Kashmiri pandits, or the Uri and Sooryavanshi, which were supposed to be patriotic movies in praise of the Armed Forces and Police and their dedication, they were all politicized.
Several films are in fact dedicated to our political parties/players/ideologies - two infamous ones being The Accidental Prime Minister which was about India’s Ex-Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and PM Narendra Modi, based on our incumbent PM.
Regrettably, the role of journalists is undeniable.
Most journalists tend to create a mountain out of a molehill simply in order to raise their TRP.
Not only this, these are the same people who, when it suits them, talk about freedom of speech and expression and when it doesn’t, talk about the sentiments of people. They are the very people who tweet asking people to stop watching a movie if it hurts the sentiments of certain groups and talk about communalism and secularism when it hurts their sentiments or political propaganda.
And maybe, to an extent, it is the fault of the movie makers as well.
They do make movies which end up hurting certain sentiments, knowingly or unknowingly. There are a lot of scenes in various movies which are either anti-Hindu or anti-Islam. In fact, their influence is such that we have certain notions in our minds about Hindu religious leaders, who are invariably portrayed as villains.
Forget religious communities, there have been multiple occasions on which even the Indian Army is not spared, and are portrayed as the bad guys while the Pakistani army was supposedly the good and righteous army. There was actually a scene where the Pakistani Army decided to stop firing at the Indian army one day just to allow them to watch/listen to the cricket world cup finals in which India was also playing!
But in the end, maybe it is just the fault of the consumers. It is, after all, we who watch these movies and support them, isn’t it?
Yes, it may be entertainment, but is entertainment worth it if it is at the cost of social unrest and national integrity? Maybe, at the end of the day, it is just our fault.
If we choose to support such movies, they flourish.
If we don’t, they will fail. Miserably.
Entertainment is possible with clean humour and can be done without offending anyone, as it once was. The choice is ours. It is up to us whether we want to fulfil our moral obligation to society or fall prey to propaganda. It is up to us whether we choose to be used as mere tools for someone to achieve something which would in no way benefit us, and would rather harm us and kill all our intellectual capabilities.