Entertainment or Insinuation of Crime?

By Bhawana Arora

In modern times crime is an ever increasing phenomenon. Newspapers, today, are filled with reports of robberies, rapes and horrendous homicides. In the aftermath of such incidents, we come across the blame games that keep flashing incessantly on news channels. With the enormous exposure to television and internet, media has been held responsible for the rising crime rate in the urban civil society.

The impact of movies on the common masses has always been a debatable issue. However, with the upsurge of criminal activities around the world, this issue has occupied the central stage. The situation is far more severe in a country like India, where the question of our cultural identity is being negotiated by the inappropriate influence of media. The release of Dabangg 2 around the same time as the December 16 Delhi gang-rape wasn’t just discarded as a co-incidence. The vulgarity of the lyrics of the song “Fevicol” was blamed for rousing the baser instincts in criminals, thereby, leading to crimes such as eve-teasing and grotesque rapes. More recently, a felon in a high-profiled robbery case, claimed to have gained the idea of theft through the film Special 26. In addition to this, violent films and video games have been blamed for the augmentation of violence in the younger generation, resulting in road rage.

The question that we need to ask is whether the various sources of entertainment, are actually responsible for the cruelty that we are witnessing in our society today. Do films and television shows really motivate people to commit gruesome crimes? It is true that the shimmering world of glamour does attract the attention of a common man, but is it influential enough to drive somebody against humanity? Or is it the inherent nature of human beings which in it itself is inclined to evil actions, and movies just become an excuse to justify the darker side of Homo sapiens?

It is easier to blame fiction for all the adversities that we face in the real world but isn’t it expected out of us to take responsibility for our own actions? We conveniently blame films for the increasing crime rate in our surroundings and deliberately ignore all the good that come out of them. The violence displayed in movies is notable to all of us but what we chose to overlook is that most of these stories depict the victory of good over evil through the overhyped violence. The highly popular superhero flicks such as The Dark Knight and Spider Man are a case in study. In fact recent studies by researchers counter the argument that violence in movies leads to rise in crime. According to an article by The New York Times, two economists have asserted that films prevent violent crimes by placing the perpetuators inside the theatre:-

“You’re taking a lot of violent people off the streets and putting them inside movie theaters,” said one of the authors of the study, Gordon Dahl, an economist at the University of California, San Diego. “In the short run, if you take away violent movies, you’re going to increase violent crime.”

Therefore, it can be said that it is the individual, and not a film, who is responsible for the crime he commits. A person may get inspired by cinema to take a particular action but ultimately it is only his frame of mind that motivates him to stoop to evil crimes. Human Beings, flawed as they are, tend to choose the negative over the positive side. Thus, we may find killers who claim to be inspired by shows like Dexter but if we try to find someone who was inspired by the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Swades to work for the greater good of the society, we might have a problem.

To conclude, it is high time for us to come ahead and take responsibility for our own actions rather than finding excuses and sources such as the media to put the blame on. A disease when not diagnosed goes untreated. Till we refuse to accept that the fault lies within us, we cannot come up with a solution, which is the need of the hour.

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