In my early days of
journalism while reading the book ‘Solay’ by Anupama Chopra (I still
have it as one of my collections), I came across the fact that the scene
where Gabbar Singh chopped off the hands of Thakur delayed the release
of the film because Censor Board objected to the scene terming it as portrayal of violence in
the most shocking manner. But today, we see many films portraying such
violence in further shocking manner and they are obtaining a certificate
for public viewing. In fact, the difference between ‘U’ and ‘U/A’
certificate has narrowed to a thinnest divide.
Violence and Rape become major
While there have been strictures on scenes
showing someone smoking or consuming alcohol, showing violence, rape and
scenes where atrocities are done to woman in domestic situations seem to
be growing in Indian Cinema and TV. Hindi dubbed south Indian movies are
now the preferential choice of youth on entertainment TV channels
because of bold fight scenes and glamorous presentation of female leads.
Most of us have the examples in our home itself where the young kids
switch to an action channel or a movie channel showing a Hindi dubbed
south Indian cinema at every ad-break on the cartoon channels. When,
once, I asked my son - "what attracts you to such movies and channels", his
reply was: "the fight scenes were too interesting as a punch here makes
one fly in the air and hit the walls."
Even scenes of chopping off limbs and
slitting at someone’s neck are most common in those films. Now, some of
the Hindi films are also adapting to the same and many of the Hindi
films released recently are remake of South Indian movies where the
primary attraction is extremely bold fight scenes.
While torturing young women in domestic
situations, showing harassments – both emotional and physical, making
one sob with unimaginable helplessness have become a common stuff in TV
serials, showing eve-teasing, application of force on women and
torturing and raping women by use of force and power have become more
frequent in Hindi cinema in last few decades.
Conflict between message and attraction
While such scenes of violence are
justified in the name of the depiction of real situations and ultimate
message given at the climax, the message never remains the attraction of
the movie. But what remains the real attraction of most movies are the
scenes of fight, violence and brutality. And, more than the message, the
forceful presentation of violence and brutality influence the mind of
many youth who never bother about the final message of the film. Lines
of movie Songs like ‘Ati kya Khandala’, ‘Tu cheez badi hai mast mast’
are rather used by eve-teasers even though the situations of the songs
in the respective films are not like that. Similarly, some of the
filmgoers are also inspired by scenes depicted as wrongs or acts of
evil. I still remember the reactions of some young viewers of the 2004
movie ‘Garv’ (starring Amrish Puri, Salman Khan, Farida Jalal, Arbaaz
Khan, Akanksha Agrawal and others) where one viewer told after coming
out of the theatre that he only remembered the fight scenes, the only
scene of gang-rape and the court scene at the end.
Taking example of Yash Johar's Duplicate
(1998), Sangita Datta also wrote in her paper titled ‘Globalisation and
Representations of Women in Indian Cinema’, “the fun and frivolity of
the song and dance sequence even sanctions explicitly sexual gestures.
In one situation where the duplicates have switched roles, the gangster
tries to seduce the heroine and to the tune of a light hearted song,
pulls her saree and gropes her. This form of retrogressive
representation in a country where women are constantly battling against
physical violation and sexual harassment is seriously alarming as it
trivialises real issues which affect women in their day to day lives.
Here is instance of a global (read western) image used with a 'mis'-reading
or 'non'-reading of a cultural context.” (Social Scientist, Vol. 28, No.
3/4, Mar – Apr 2000, pp. 71-82)
Now, a very simple question about the
‘Dirty Picture’, what was the secret of its overwhelming success? What
was the message through dialogues like ‘there are many stars in the
industry, but you (character played by Vidya Balan) are the only hero’?
Blaming movies and TV shows for Rapes
A recent report from an Indian news
agency, IANS, that was carried by some of the leading newspapers of
India raised the question if explicit movie scenes and double-meaning
songs and dialogues incite sexual violence.
While some agreed to the argument a few of
the film fraternity members didn’t fully agree to such an opinion. As
quoted in the report, Milan Luthria, Director of ‘Dirty Picture’ said in
disagreement to such an argument, “I think it is unfair to make such an
allegation about movies and songs. I take great offence. We need to look
at our society and culture and how we live. Let's focus on real issues.”
In the same report, a Psychologist Neha
Patel, while agreeing with the general perception that television and
films do influence people, said that a vivid display of the consequences
of rape can help in reducing such crime. "We have seen how ads send out
subtle messages. When films show rape scenes, they often focus on the
suffering of the girl instead of showing the consequences borne by the
man," she was quoted in the said report.
However, scientific researches confirm
that violent scenes in movies and television shows have greater impact
on functioning of the brain and thus the subsequent activities of the
As per researches, watching violent movies
content harms a child's psychological development, and is also harmful
for adults. In some cases, it may change their perceptions for life and
develop a sense of insecurity where they may see the world as an unsafe,
potentially threatening place instead of somewhere they can love and be
loved, thrive, and contribute meaningfully to humanity.
Laws and strictures are no answers
Movies may not lead to rape directly, but
depiction of violence in movies certainly adds stress, impacts the mind
and, thus, some of the subsequent activities of the audience.
To make the movies less stressing for its
audience and to keep their impact constructive than enraging or
disturbing, more laws or strictures are no answers because they may have
adverse impact on various creative aspects of the most modern art form
including that of presenting an idea more creatively.
But what the nation looks for
is a more responsible presentation of ideas in Indian cinema that shows, even,
real situations and issues without portraying much of physical violence,
helplessness and atrocities in the extreme form, violence against women
in domestic or other situations. By and large, Indian Cinema must
display its social responsibility. And, to our relief, we have so many
of good movies in India that have achieved exceptional commercial