By Nikita Madan
We Indians have movies in our veins. The clapping/whistling /dancing frenzy that it evokes in theatres has no parallel in any other part of the world. The recent decision by the censor board to ban smoking scenes in Hindi films, blur cigarettes and tobacco packet, and the mandatory scroll to be shown at the bottom of the screen has met with applauders as well as detractors. Those who applaud the decision argue that films glamorize smoking which influences people to take up the habit. The detractors view the ban as a curb on creative freedom and creative expression.
Well yes, Bollywood influences a lot of people; yes it is zealously emulated but then why just limit its influence only to smoking. The Bollywood obsession has other side effects as well. If smoking scenes are being banned, I list out 5 other scenarios in a typical Hindi film that are highly influential and can have dire consequences .
1. Item songs
Highly provocative with women in skimpy outfits gyrating at suggestive moves, these songs objectifies women. It caters to men fantasies and creates a one dimensional image of women; women are only viewed as sex-objects, to be brazenly lusted for.
2. Hero stalking the heroine
Hindi movies romanticize stalking with the girl inadvertently falling for the guy in end. In real life stalking is a pathological disorder that causes grave social and mental trauma to the victim. There is nothing romantic about following a girl around, incessantly calling her, teasing or slashing wrists as a medium of blackmail.
3. Portrayal of violence
Violence in many movies is celebrated and truly glamorized to appeal to the masses. Use of guns, knives and other weapons fascinates a lot of people in the younger generation who are not necessarily cautious in its use. Sexual violence is also justified and legitimized in Hindi films. Women are shown as hapless victims and are routinely abused.
4. Use of abusive language
Profanity has become a staple of many a Bollywood movies and has become an accepted norm Movie dialogues are famous and often repeated in style. Movies cultivate a certain language which instantly becomes cool .
5. Hero bashing 10 men at a time
These scenes should actually come with a scroll “please don’t try this at home; this will definitely lead you to a hospital”. Highly unrealistic, these scenes burden men with ‘macho men’ images that are difficult to copy and can be impractical in real life scenarios
We have seen the consequences when the above scenes are played out in real life. But if the censor board isn’t banning any of the above scenes or enforcing a mandatory scroll, why should the focus be just be on smoking? Why aren’t the other negative influences taken into account? And if there is no objection on the above mentioned scenes, why are only smoking scenes being singled out? Films are medium of entertainment but have an all pervasive influence. They should be made responsibly but a ban is not a solution for this.