Uses And Misuses Of Cinema

Posted on 30 June 2012 by Milana Rao (Contributing Writer)

Cinema! The mere sound of this word excites and mesmerises many people. Cinema is one of the most powerful means of mass media. The impact of cinema on the minds of the people, irrespective of their age, is profound.

The history of cinema dates backs 1895, when the Lumiere brothers first invented the motion pictures. The invention of moving pictures left people spellbound. This development paved way for the birth of Indian Cinema in 1913.  Dhundiraj Govind Phalke produced the first Indian silent movie titled ‘Raja Harishchandra.’  Since then, Indian cinema has only grown and prospered.

Being such a popular medium, the impact that cinema has on the people is obvious and notable. The most important function of cinema is entertainment. But besides that, there are a number of functions that cinema performs.

For one it lets people believe that good triumphs over evil. Certain movies are made to make people aware of the evils that are prevalent in human customs and traditions. They also show how the culture and traditions followed by us have transformed from what they were in the ancient societies to what they currently are.

Watching movies of an era gone by makes us feel proud of our rich national heritage. The fact that we share a common history develops a feeling of belonging-ness and this helps in national integration.

There is an increase in the number of movies that deal with social issues and personal disabilities. Examples of these would be movies like ‘Black’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘Paa’, ‘Guzaarish’ and so on. It is movies like these that open our minds to situations and people that we otherwise overlook. This goes to show that cinema is a rather powerful tool of social influence. The government can use it to propagate its welfare programmes such as adult literacy, child education, hygiene etc.

But then every coin has two sides. In spite of the fact that cinema has many positives and that it is a boon to society in many ways, its negative aspects cannot be overlooked.

Today, cinema is too violent. Violence, atrocities on women/children and society, and sexually explicit content are shown under the pretext of ‘artistic expression’. This sends wrong signals to the young generation. The kind of language used in the movies is also not decent anymore. Swear words are becoming part and parcel of daily conversation in almost all movies. As a result of this, children and youngsters think it is cool to use swear words freely as and when they please.

Children and the young generation have impressionable minds. Especially in an age when cinema celebrities are considered next to God and are Hero worshiped, the fact that people readily following their favourite celebrity is not surprising. Anything done by the actors on screen is taken to be real and is in turn followed. This trend can take a hazardous turn when the actors (under the guise of a character) do or promote something which is either illegal or immoral.

Nonetheless, it largely falls on us to interpret cinema correctly. It is our choice to either see their positives or embrace the negatives. And hopefully, we will make a smart choice.

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