Movies aren’t just a source of entertainment. They are big-time sources of propaganda, nonsense and unnecessary values (sometimes true morals and values too). Some movies depict societies as it is. While a large chunk of movies is director’s and writer’s versions and visions of societies.
Movies are made by people. These people normally have been exposed to certain sets of ideas and ideologies. Under normal circumstances, individuals of film industry tend to have a homogenous, illusionary and false sense of our societies. This is very evident and obvious. Hollywood is a highly left-centric industry where, if you say you’re a Republican, chances of you landing a role in movies becomes slim, even though you might be a very good actor. For an industry that preaches liberalism in thoughts, ideas, creativity, that’s a very conservative and close-minded attitude. Something similar is true for Bollywood too. In a recent interview, Anupam Kher told that he started getting a lesser number of films after his stances against Kashmiri terrorists and hypocritical intolerance brigade. Hypocrisies of Bollywood actors, directors, artists are so numerous that it would take a whole essay just to cover few of them. All these clearly points out that you have to go through certain ideologue narratives (or at least pretend that you’re going along) if you want to be adored by film industry people. That doesn’t mean all movies coming out are of a certain ideologue narrative. A good number of artists and creative professionals just do their jobs without expressing their political ideologies in the public. Their aim is just to make good movies. Also, the audience plays a big part in this and many times rejects such movies heavily inspired by ideologue narratives. Recent Star Wars movie is a good example which failed partly because of a weak male lead. However, many times good directors manage to hide ideologue narratives and propaganda in the movie behind good direction and storytelling. That makes for a good entertainment but sends the wrong impression and values to the society.
I will explain my point with few details in some of the movies I have observed.
- Bajirao Mastani: I have a problem with the title of the movie itself. Bajirao was the fiercest warrior of his time. He was undefeated all his life. His main life goal was to establish and consolidate the Maratha empire throughout India in which he succeeded to an extent. He was the true protector of his people and Hindus who were constantly harassed and persecuted in the medieval times by the Muslim rulers. His affair with Mastani was a small part of his life. He wasn’t a Devdas as was suggested by the movie. Also, the treatment of Mastani by the Marathas as shown in the movie is false. Mr Bhansali’s aim in that movie was to show that, “look how a great warrior was also a great lover who didn’t care much about his religion, society.” Bajirao was a warrior and protector of Hinduism first. His love affairs were secondary.
- Rajkumar Hirani “Master of propaganda”: There is no denying fact that Raju Hirani is an excellent director. However, the kind of morals, ideas he throws or overlays in his movies are downright nonsense and garbage a number of times. Munna Bhai MBBS is one of my favourites movies. However, look closely at what he has shown in the movie. Munna is a Bhai (Don) who resorts to criminal activities such as kidnapping, fraud for his livelihood. He cheats all the time, always resorts to unfair means just to get things done his own way. He harasses senior professors, the fellow students. These are all pretty immoral and unpleasant qualities. For how much time in the whole movie, did you felt unpleasant or disgusted with the acts of Munna? Not even a single second. He’s always shown either as a victim or his frauds were subdued by emotional and comedy scenes. All this is fine as it was a comedy movie. However, just for the sake of comedy, you can’t go too far off the reality. Also, storytelling in Hirani’s movies is such that it tends to give a message to its audience. Since he kind of makes movies with social messages, we need to look at flaws in his messages despite comedy, drama.
He has now made another movie “Sanju”. Really, a biopic of Sanjay Dutt? A criminal, lusty womanizer, drug addict, irresponsible individual who was friends with the people from the underworld. I haven’t watched the movie but I ask these questions to those who have watched the movie.
“Did you felt angry at Sanjay Dutt for his criminal acts which were somewhere or another related to Bombay blasts which lead to the death of hundreds of innocent civilians?”
“Did you felt at any point that Sanjay Dutt was a lusty, pervert who would do anything to sleep with women?”
“Did you felt angry over the real offender of Bombay blasts Daud Ibrahim (and not some Marathis who are falsely represented as Dons from the underworld in the movie)?”
It doesn’t matter if he’s a nice person. He is a criminal, he was never a victim. Had it been a normal individual like you or me, we would have been in jail for 10-12 years. He was a powerful person, his father was a powerful person and yet he is shown as a victim. What a truckload of pure BS!
- Tiger Zinda Hai: RAW and ISI officers working together. Really? What were the director and writers smoking?
- Sultan: “One can become a world champion athlete even if he starts in his twenties. All Sultan needed was true motivation which came from a failed love affair.” Idiot writer, does he have any idea what an Olympic gold medalist goes through?
- The shape of water: An Oscar-winning garbage of a movie. Here is the top review of the movie from IMDB.
“The whole movie is an unendurable combination of cliches that don’t add up or become interesting at any point. The discretely repeated attempts at delivering overused social messages makes it even worse. Even those messages are shallow in content, irrelevant to the movie and extremely unoriginal just as the story itself. I hoped during the movie that it would get better at some point but it went just worse. For those who are aware of these issues this is just a pretentious attempt and for the rest, they don’t care or won’t get that message from a movie like this one. I witnessed one of the worst movies of all times. You can’t blame a movie for receiving an award but this clearly shows the demise of the movie industry as such movies can be produced and nominated and awarded just because of the exploitation of the social issues, and juries getting revenge and amplify the message with their own means. Engineering the marketing of overrated films became the norm. Oscar-winning motion pictures often became classics now they are not even worth a second view. This one doesn’t even deserve to be watched.”
“Let’s look at the characters, as a “romantic love” story, you did not explain to me how the lady fell in love with the fish dude? Are you telling me because she’s a minority, and “he” is a minority, so the director thinks it needs no further explanation for her to fell in love with the fish? How did she overcome the fear of his monster looking? How did he understand her? Or it’s just her sick, petty love makes her thinks he understands and loves her? There are many ways to show and build up the emotions but the director shows none at all! And is it just me that find it super weird that the lady did not show any form of gratitude, not even an attitude, to her friend at all? It’s just so inhuman and fake.”
There are nonsense ideologue narratives in other Oscar-winning movies too such as Slumdog Millionaire.
Many excellent movies show a true picture of society as well. Priyadarshan is one of those directors who shows a true picture of society despite comedy and emotional scenes. His portrayal of village life in Malamaal Weekly, Virasaat is excellent. Khatta Meetha is another brilliant movie depicting hardships due to corruption. His portrayal of South India in Mere Baap Pehle Aap is one of those rare cases where Bollywood depicted South India in an accurate manner. Other good movies which show the true nature of societies are Aawara, Vivah, Masaan, Baby. In rare cases, some movies actually send a good message to the society. Kya Kehna is a good example in this regard. The message of that movie is a very strong one. Preity Zinta takes responsibility for her naive and irresponsible actions. Saif didn’t at least till the last part of the movie. He ends up losing her as she gradually becomes matured and picked a more sensible, responsible person as her husband.
We are skeptical of the contents of politician’s speeches. There also, people sometimes tend to forget how corrupt and dangerous a politician is due to his comic and charismatic appeal (Lalu Prasad Yadav). Same goes for movies. Characters of a movie can be charismatic, comic, very entertaining but they might be sending a false and nonsense message. It’s very important to identify this messages as they can consciously or subconsciously affect our own morals and values. Movies have the potential to change viewpoints of the population, history, governments, economy. No matter how good a director is (Raju Hirani, Anurag Kashyap), he can have false values and ideologies which he tends to directly or indirectly incorporate in his movies. Comedy, emotions, drama, romance, songs, charisma are common tools employed by directors to manipulate and make fool of audiences. Enjoy movies but always be a sceptic, especially with the “social message sending” kind of movies.