‘Movies as mirror images of society’

Apun ka dhandha sirf darr pe chaltha hai, vocalizes Maya Dolas, the underworld gangster in Shootout At Lokhandwala. My business subsists only on fear, would be the exact English translation. One ought to read the words over and over again, it is not just a mere dialogue, but true indeed. Not only in the world of violence and crime, does the business feed on fear but any institution or where money is involved which makes the world go round, for that matter subtly works by exploiting people’s fear, insecurities, worries and the negative emotions.  Movies as mirror images of society have been a subject of contestation for many years. Considering that reality is subjective, one sees what he or she wants to watch in a movie. Movies are touted to be exaggerated sometimes but the fact that they draw upon different facets, eccentricities, emotions like love, fear, anger and betrayal, politics of the society cannot be denied.

If one has to buckle under pressure or forgo one’s principles in order to climb up the social ladder, it is called forceful living, which has been well captured in a movie like Fashion. Society has always taught us that the grass is greener on the other side, this maxim has been enwrapped into many films including romantic genres like Saathiya, dealing with the subject of marriage as not always being a bed of roses. Pursuit of things and chasing after people who we think would make us happy has been another persistent trait of the society. This aspect has been beautifully portrayed in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, where the female protagonist realizes in the end that she loves her husband and chooses to return back to him instead of living with her former lover whom she initially was eager to do so. Realization dawns upon late in today’s society wherein one is so preoccupied with one’s false beliefs, assumptions, immature and unfeasible visualizations of the future.

The genre of superhero movies delve into the human subconsciousness and fantasies which also constitute the society as it is made up  of intangible things too and not just the tangible. There are people who feel that some movies are unrealistic and they don’t showcase reality. But from a philosophical perspective, every nuance of a movie reflects back onto a person’s psyche and how it operates.  Even the most unbelievable movies with the happiest endings mirror the society’s aspirations towards prosperity and bliss.  Who said happy endings are unrealistic? Aren’t they optimistic? Hope is important in life and society, whenever there is chaos, one yearns for semblance of orderliness and serenity. 

A movie as a mirror image need not reflect back, each and every scene onto the society.  It must be noted that not all images are completely real, some are virtual as well. From a holistic perspective, even the silliest movie relates to the society; Ready, a family comical drama stresses upon the importance of cementing broken relationships in a joint family.
Black Swan is a psychological film about a ballerina who fights between the seductive evil and the angelic selves in her, undergoes a transformation into the evil swan in her performance due to the pressure of losing the pivotal role to her competitor. 
She takes the role so seriously that she dies in the end, as she fails to differentiate between her original good self with the ambitious evil self which drives her to perform well but overpowers her consciousness in such a way that she kills herself unknowingly. The movie also stressed upon the need to let go of oneself as creativity then flows from within, (an attribute that the artistic fraternity of the society too often opines) and not try to be a perfectionist all the time. This film highlights the individual dilemmas of our everyday lives and that all of us are neither good nor bad as the society consists of human beings with personality as shades of grey.

Every movie is based on a theme and just because at times it flaws in its execution, it doesn’t mean that it is unrealistic, this is where many confuse the movie’s plot with its justifiable depiction of society.  



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