Saturday, 23rd September, 2017

Reel To Real - Stop the madness

22, Jul 2014 By Simantini Kishore

If movies have a statutory warning for smoking and drinking displayed, I want another warning to be displayed. It is very very important.

HEALTH WARNING: EVERYTHING IS UNREAL. DO NOT TRY TO IMITATE OR STRIVE TO EMULATE ANYTHING!

When the entertainment industry becomes as powerful an influence as it is in India and followers are as passionate (read irrational) about their movies, soap operas and stars as many Indians are, for the well-being of the consumers (read suckers) this warning should and needs to be displayed.

But then entertainment is business that makes an unhealthily obese profit by selling pipe dreams. It is NOT motivated by social or ethical responsibility. That is a fact. Will it change for the welfare of large chunk of its audience who strive to emulate reel magic into real life? I doubt it. Ergo the disclaimer is vital.

WARNING: BULLET WOUNDS MAY BE FATAL, SO ARE PUNCHES, BEING HIT ON THE HEAD. DO NOT IMITATE

The hero (in a few rare movies the heroine politically correct term is protagonist) goes kamikaze on the hordes of endless goons in almost every movie. Fantastical ACTION sequences where fists, kicks and bullets fly; rods, beer bottles and tube lights are wielded where the protagonist, in most all cases, doesn’t die or collapse but carries on their hulk like destruction of the endless big baddies.

All it does is glorifies as well as trivialized violence. I once punched someone. The result was a dislocated knuckle and three fingers in a soft cast. I was in pain for almost ten days. One punch did that. I broke the nose of my attacker but I was hurt too, badly. One punch ended the confrontation.

Well, I am no hero but I know of someone who is in the Indian army who received a gunshot wound to the shoulder. I asked him of his opinion on how much movement could he manage after being shot once. His response was “every breath was agony” and he is bravest and strongest person I know.

Yet in Indian cinemas multiple gunshot wounds and/or beatings and/or punches are met with stoicism. Ever wondered of the consequences if impressionable minds emulate it in real life?

DISCLAIMER: LOVE YOURSELF FOR WHAT YOU ARE. THIS IS NOT THE STANDARD OF BEAUTY

Then there is BODY IMAGE issues. Forget psychological and physical damage that it inflicts on the poor sods who want to look like their favourite matinée star, it’s tragic that the way we look at beauty, attraction, love or feeling attractive is decided by photo shopped, surgically enhanced individuals whose main profession is to look good (acting is a bonus but not vital to being a star these days).

The number of professionals working on hair, make up, lighting, wardrobe, fitness, body sculpturing/ building and plastic surgeons as well as special effects that it takes to look the way stars look cannot be emulated in real life. Nor should it be emulated. What happened to simply looking neat, groomed and being fit and healthy?

DISCLAIMER: SINGING IN SWITZERLAND, SYNCHRONISED DANCING IN GROUPS AND DRESSING IN REVEALING CLOTHES IS NOT THE STANDARD DECLARATION OF LOVE.

Worst of all are the essayed roles in Indian cinemas they are black or white. Even worse are the clichés the stereotypical virgin and slutty vamp with a heart of gold; the bulky hero with a violent streak; the raping, smoking, drinking villain; the loving passive mother; the wicked mother in law/step mother; the strict, tradition or indulgent ultra-modern parent; the evil wicked greedy bitchy badly dressed relatives; the weird families with plastic smiles and herd mentality; the traditional folly and modern traditionalism. All of it baffles me.

When characters in movies or actors become role models, it changes the way people perceive reality and people. How do possessive stalker heroes, who at a drop of a hat, turns violently psychotic mass killing machines make for a good mate/ husband/ boyfriend? Not to mention the item girls/ good virgins and violent men!!! And that’s what the youth want to emulate?

How is Salman Khan a darling of the masses despite the criminal cases? He killed people in real life and allegedly beat up his girlfriend(s). How can people think Sanjay Dutt is a hero and take his folly and incarceration lightly and sympathize with his ‘exceptional circumstances’? But then for Sanjay Dutt reel life crossed over in real life with the AK47, so imagine the impact on the fans.   

DISCLAIMER: THE PHOTO/SCENE/SEQUENCE HAS BEEN PHOTO SHOPPED/ HAS SPECIAL EFFECTS

I seriously hope (in vain, I know, in vain) no one tries to emulate saas bahu Indian soap operas or actresses’ the make-up will kill your skin (do you know how much make up the men on screen put? Tonnes trust me, tonnes! My friend is a make-up artist in Mumbai and the tales she tells are a story by itself); sleep in their sarees and dress everyday as if it’s their wedding and never age! Talk of having unrealistic unhealthy expectations from oneself and others in the most superficial materialistic way!

DISCLAIMER: RAPE, EVE TEASING, VOLUNTARY or INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, MURDER , SHOOTING PEOPLE, HAVING AN UNLICENSED GUN, CARRYING A KNIFE OR CONCEALED WEAPON; MENTAL, EMOTIONAL & PHYSICAL ABUSE ARE PUNISHABLE UNDER THE LAW.

Sex is portrayed in a warped way. So is sexuality like the ‘over the top’ homosexual characters as comic relief (which is highly offensive)! The lack of blood in mass killings (Gulab Gang- where villains are cut open but there is no blood or bloody swords/sickles etc), warped psychological, emotional and physical torture of characters in soap operas all in the name of love, relationships and family have psychological impact of perceptions.

Half of the shit portrayed in our movies and telly is a criminal offence yet it’s on our screens and in movies day after day. What is the censor board doing? Apparently everything but their job!  Movie makes use creative licence to simply glorify all that is illegal!

DISCLAIMER: CHARACTERS & STORIES ARE NOT BASED ON ANY REALITY. IT IS AU (alternate universe)

All we do is create a hysteria, land up having unrealistic idols, want to emulate them blindly, lose perspective, making some people ultra-rich by turning them into something they are not!

Entrainment has gone beyond escapism. It’s become the bench mark for beauty, success, weddings, wardrobes, expectations from life, defines scope of relations (like the good/ bad saas/ bahu or a good/ bad husband).

In no way am I saying everyone is like that. But when temples are made for film stars and million flock  to it – I do wonder! Wouldn’t an orphanage or an old age home with that money have been a better idea?

Can the stars change the mind-set of their fans? Why would they? We made them super stars where they wear shoes that cost more than the average rabid fan’s annual salary.

Can the industry can its mind-set? Why would they kill their formulistic golden hen (wasn’t Mei Tera Hero a waste of time yet it made money, so why would they?)

So it’s up to us, the consumers- from the rickshaw driver spending hard earned money to see a Khan movies ten times; to the middle aged married men fantasizing about Munni and Shelia; to women coveting Kajol’s lengha, Priyanka’s lips, Katerina’s figure, some soap operas actor’s jewellery, or expecting a daughter in law or spouse or son like a character in a movie or to be romanced by like so and so actor in so and so movies- we need to see reel on reel yet keep it real outside the cinema halls.

The formula to happiness, dreams, love, contentment isn’t to be found on celluloid, it is for us to find in our mind set, attitude and expectations for life as well as the lives we lead.

And the disclaimers are the first step! 😉 + 😀 – in a running banner on every scene and sequence!    

DISCLAIMER: THIS WRITE UP IS MY PERSONAL GRIM SARCASTIC VIEWPOINT. NOT TO BE TAKEN PERSONALLY OR INTENDED TO HURT SENTIMENTS OF ANY ARDENT (READ RABID) FANS.

Ps. I watched Phas Gaye Re Obama last night! Now that was entertainment! No killings, no rape, no songs, no clichés, no major stereotypes, no crass humour, no warped sexualisation and I didn’t rant once during the movie. That’s what I call good entertaining cinema but as I said, my opinion, feel free to disagree. 😀

For more work by Simantini Kishore visit www.wgaw.in