Annapoorni K. H., I Year M. Sc. Chemistry.

Cinema is a word that everyone knows. Along with cinema we associate things like theatres, actors, music, visual effects, even tears. However, most of us don’t associate the word influence with cinema.

What do we watch in movies these days? Pretty much everything from inspiring true stories to the humdrum romantic comedies and even erotica. We watch what we like to watch. And we get influenced by it, even if we’d rather not admit it.

How? Well, let’s take an example. And I’ll start with myself. I love movies that will leave me feeling inspired and ready to face the world. So, that would include movies like The Theory of Everything and Dangal to cite a few.  I also happen to like action-packed, fast-paced movies. Each one of us likes a particular thing about movies and because of that we have preferred genres, actors, directors and plot-lines. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

And yet, cinema influences in ways we don’t really realize. The content in movies is very wide, open, and sometimes, even brazen these days. Children can be kept away from such content through censor certificates or parental guidance, yet how many movies have content that might affect the mind of a young child that manages to get through these checks? Children grow up watching the things happening around them including a lot of influence from cinema. Why? Well, visual stimuli last longer in the brain. That’s precisely why visual modes of teaching are being incorporated in educational centres around the world.

The makers of a movie have to keep certain things in mind. While they are involved in the entertainment business, theirs is a job that has a large and significant moral code. Anyone who is involved in the film industry should think how will the people take this when they’re making a movie. And this shouldn’t be just in the sense of profit but also in terms of moral. If suppose there’s a movie on a boy who kills the girl he loves because she doesn’t return his feelings, then the movie should be handled with great care. Films showing personal mental suffering or delicate issues like sexual orientation should be handled intelligently because the content is sensitive. While a lot of film-makers do keep the sensibilities of the audience in their mind, there are those who don’t.

What do we do as an audience? A large part of the audience that watches a movie is doing that for just entertainment. Some of us carry it back home with us – we ponder and come to conclusions about the movie and its content. However, it becomes a question of how we understand ourselves and how we treat the movie on the whole. We pick up slangs, fashion, dialogues and sometimes, even ideas from the movies we watch. How many young people wanted to experience a love like Jack and Rose from Titanic? How many people do we see who worship actors as gods? But those are some of the better and positive things. There’s a darker side – audience that understand that serial killing is alright, people who accept terrorism as a part of life and can get influenced by it, rape, murder, adultery…we watch all this and we accept them. Because it’s just cinema, isn’t it? That’s something for us to ponder on.

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