Paragraph on Motion Pictures!
The motion pictures today are exerting great influence upon public opinion. Many of the fashions and fads today can be traced to examples set by Bombay—the Hollywood of India.
Motion picture is an effective medium in changing opinions and an excellent medium for propaganda. The audience is a captive one and cannot simply “turn the dial” to escape the propaganda.
The payment of an admission fee tends to commit the viewer to pay attention. Watching the picture requires one’s full attention. There is pin- drop silence in the hall. All are attentive to what goes on the curtain. There are no distractions from the family or visitors.
The medium consisting of sound and pictures is easily understandable and highly dramatic. Various studies carried to find the effects of motion pictures reveal that it has effectively changed the attitudes and behaviour of the people.
The effectiveness of the movies in controlling the attitudes and behaviour of millions of people is attributed to three main causes:
i. Movie-goers are relaxed and unaware that they are being affected by ideas and values,
ii. People put themselves in the part of the leading characters, accepting unconsciously the attitudes implicit in the role.
iii. Troubled individuals searching for solution to their problems often consciously or unconsciously adopt the implicit movie answers to their own problems.
In India about 400 feature films are produced in a year. The number is constantly going up. If a survey is made of the themes of films it would be found that they are devoted to love, crime or sex. The film industry lives in a dream world of unreality and presents a stereotyped and oversimplified picture of characters and themes.
The industry offers “little that is much better than the glittering toy for an imbecile giant.” It highly misrepresents life in India. It presents a totally unreal picture of Indian culture. A criticism of the theme of the Indian films has often been made on the ground that they depict little that is instructive and healthy they present too much sex and love and crime for a balanced diet for children. They are overwhelmingly deficient as far as culture or education is concerned. Their aim is mainly entertainment rather than education.
The film industry is a big business. The main goal of the entire industry, from the producer down to the exhibitor, is to make money. It follows the lines of the most profitable form of business-organisation and gives to the public what it wants and that what the public wants is amusement. The producers, therefore, say they are not at fault, the fault lies with the audience which determines the box-office receipts.
But even if it be accepted that the aim of films is entertainment, it can be said that public tastes can be improved and entertainment can also be instructive and meaningful. The films which have won international and state awards are the ones which dealt with social problems in a thoughtful and sensible manner.
The difficulties of the film industry are understandable. The cost of film producing is very high and to meet the cost the film must attract larger audiences and in order to be so able it should carry a theme which will please everyone. This search for the all purpose film tends to lower the cultural standards.
A serious type motion picture fails at the box. However, if serious and constant efforts are made better movies will raise the movie goer’s taste in the long run. If he is subjected to enough picture above his emotional level, that level will rise. His taste can improve, and the screen can improve too, slowly but surely.