Friday 22 January 2016

Cinema: Life, Love, Magic


“My duty is to reach beauty. Cinema is emotion. When you laugh, you cry”
-Roberto Benigni

Why do I blog about Cinema? Because it is the home to the greatest of my fantasies and as such, an inseparable part of my existence. What is Cinema? Cinema is wonder. Cinema is bliss. Cinema is chaos. It is the expression of everything that the society has ever dreamt and of that too which the society never wants to dream of. Movies are not just made to let the people know about what we think but it grows out of a necessity that is basic to the human urge of being a thinking being. You start with an idea and then you let it grow. You throw in your wildest and most personal of fantasies and come up with a masterpiece having excellent written all over it. This is the kind of cinema that people can appreciate and which people can get inspired from and learn out of. This is the cinema that drives the society towards the epoch of consciousness we are witnessing today. The goal of cinema, if someone asks, at the time of its inception was probably not to bring about revolutionary changes in the mindset of people or to drive them to the point of absolute fantasy but it surely was to get them curious. Cinema did not start just because you could put pictures in different frames and get them to play continuously and amaze people. No. It started because those pioneers knew that it would get people to ask questions, it would make people chew their fingers off in the bewilderment of how their lives are just like the lives of millions of other people; how everyone is fighting his/her own battles in the world and to establish the fact that you as an individual are not alone in this world.

There are different impressions that different types of movies aim to bring out of us. While some are meant to get us to ridicule something, others are made to get us to put our faiths and beliefs in something that is although human but far more powerful than what the realms of the human spirit allow us to perceive. Some are meant to make us question the validity of the very foundations we have based our society on while some are made to simply provide us light-hearted entertainment for a few hours. What type of cinema should thus be preferred in order to bring about the best of the changes in society and to set it on a better platform of life and lifestyle seems to be a pretty subjective question in itself with complexities ranging from social to philosophical to psycho-pathological. Thus one cannot fully ascertain the effect that a particular form of cinema will have on the society as a whole but what one can do is interpret the dilemma at an individual level and then try solving it.

 Cinema, in actuality, is not very different from Economics. In Economics as we see, to understand the effects of a particular change on a mass basis i.e. to formulate theories of Macroeconomics, we need to inspect the Microeconomic level of it. Similarly, the impression of Cinema on the society can be understood by carefully analysing how it shapes and moulds the personality of an individual right from his/her birth to the end. We used to have fairy tales earlier. Now we have superheroes who teach us the most basic lesson of our lives- “Truth always triumphs”. Before the school blackboard, before the Mundaka Upanishad and before the National emblem, it is cinema that teaches us this life lesson and sets us on the path of righteousness and probity. As we grow up, we learn to take pride in our nation and honour its values, its heritage thanks to cinema. I still remember how I used to literally get tears in my eyes as a child when I used to listen to “ Ae mere watan ke logon”. It’s not a social convention to get emotional when a child does that. It is a lesson well learnt. And the lesson is to imbibe the tenderness of sentiments within us, something that really makes us honour other’s lives in a Darwinian world. A teenager gets inspired to fly, to invent, to create, to innovate when he/she watches the Hero in front of him producing miracles one after the other. As we mature into a family man, cinema teaches us that it is OK to be weak at times, that the pain and the pangs that life is made of are not exclusive to him/her but the society as a whole suffers from it. When a Cab guy, a coolie, a docks worker or a soldier sees Amitabh Bachchan playing out their lives on the screen and ultimately surviving out of all odds and stones life throws at him, in some part of their hearts, they come to believe that no matter what happens tomorrow, the day after will be beautiful. When one grows old, cinema makes you believe that you have not become useless, that you have the same life-force, if not the same vitality, that once made you take on all challenges with an iron-will. In every step of our lives, cinema teaches us another precept and keeps on furnishing our faiths in it – That we may become great as we may, but there is a force greater than all of us and that we are all a part of it. 

As far as Cinema, in essence, is considered, it is harmless in every way and is meant for everyone’s good. While there may be films that give the wrong message to people, shunning them would not do. It is a bitter truth of the society that goodness takes time to get under our skins while evil gets directly injected into our veins. But when cinema has taught us so many lessons, it will take an exam too. This aspect of cinema is an exam whereby it is upon us to see the evil and decide judiciously to differentiate the good from bad. If you still feel weak doing it then-

“May the force be with you”

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today. The post caters to the fantastico effect Cinema has had on me.

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