Movies never remained just a medium of entertainment. From time known, they continue to foray into the lives of people and live amongst us as characters that we see and enjoy for those 3 hrs. This gets me to think that may be all movie makers have some level of conflict of interest about what they show and how people perceive it. I would even think that probably every movie goes through a fair share of dilema if this is appropriate for the kind of audience they are targeting.
When it comes to Indian movies, this process is structurally simplified as movies are made with a preferred audience in mind and of course manages to live their expectations and to find its relevance in the society. Having said that it is a fact the movies in the end are a product of what you have lived, seen or forsee in some part of your life or what you expect of the future. But is it ok to generalize one’s experience into a medium that influences millions of people? Is it not worth some amount of research/analysis before you foray your audience with an opinion?
I recently watched a tamil movie ‘Angadi Theru’ which translates to a ‘Market Place’. The movie broadly talks about a very famous street in Chennai and the way employees are treated in a particular store in the street. Its one of the busiest streets and the store employees about 100’s of people who migrate form near by villages for employment. But the fact is directed and very openly related to a real store on that street. The director’s attempt way to show the employee treatment is extremely inhuman. It impinges on caste, sex, status and every strata of discrimination that could ever be possible in a place of employment. It is extremely fair and just to believe that such discrimination and inappropriate employee treatment very commonly exists in places of such jobs. But if the level and the intensity of portrayal in the movie is even close to reality, then we really have not gone any further than barbarianism in human community. The disbelief that got through me as I watched each specific scene was only growing through the movie.
I understand caste discrimination exists. We have been living this in every sector of the society and also paying the effects of ‘affirmative action’ done by a system called ‘quota’ which only disrupts the little faith people have in justice. The bhramin community is believed to have lived as the most educated and respected of them all and so earned a strata as the upper class. The movie has a subtle expression of the class strata by having a bhramin lady potray the role of the upper class, ruthless landlord who indulges in child labor and harassment. If there is a specific reason to bring out this disctinction with the characterization, I think the director lacks enough research.
There could be no way ultimately for people to express opinions/thoughts/experiences through movies and it definitely does earn money. But the conflict of interest that I started this conversation with will remain and needs may be more than one thought while making such movies.