The cinema has been a very popular medium of entertainment for all classes of people. This is especially true in case of India where the Bollywood stars are held at a very high esteem by the common man. Every move they make is watched and every word they speak makes news. Our very lives today are being moulded, whether we want it or not, by what we see on the ‘silver screen’.
The concept of cinema was developed by Thomas Alva Edison, the famous American scientist who invented cinematography. When a series of photographs of moving objects are thrown very rapidly on a screen, in the backdrop of light, they merge into each other and produce a moving picture.
Hence, it is called a motion picture or a movie. The first real film was produced by French brothers, Luniers, in 1895. In India it was introduced, a little later. In the beginning, there were only silent pictures in black and white.
Later colour, voice, sound, music, etc., were introduced in movie. Colour photography, dubbing, computer graphics, etc., were developed over the years, making film a wonderful means of popular entertainment.
Today, film production is a major industry employing thousands of people and requires a great deal of technical expertise in direction, stage-setting, editing, etc. Production of films, such as, ‘Jurassic Park’ ‘Titanic’, etc. are scientific feats which were almost impossible a decade ago-.
Today cinema has become the most popular and the cheapest means of entertainment. It provides great relaxation for the hard working labourers who have no other way of entertainment. For a few hours they escape into a different world altogether and forget their woes and worries.
Besides providing entertainment and amusement, cinema also provides a kind of education. By showing on the silver screen the tales of action, adventure stories, lives of great people, as well as of successful men and women in different walks of life, the cinema gives us a taste of every field of life. Films have the ability to enlighten and enrich our knowledge.
The moral impact of films is also noteworthy. Some good Indian movies emphasize on instilling noble values such as the importance of family ties, steadfastness in love, respect for elders, patriotism; etc. The, movies like, ‘Border’, ‘Lagaan, ‘Bhagat Singh’, etc., have contributed to the growth of national fervour. A movie like Mani Ratnam’s ‘Bombay’ where the Bombay riots of 1991 after the Babri Masjid demolition is re-enacted, depicts very well what man has made of man in this modern world.
Thus, we find that cinema can have a very constructive impact in a multicultural country like India. Unfortunately, in India it is the box- office value of a picture which is more important than anything else. Film makers are seen to adhere to cheap entertainment making their movies full of vulgar dances and scenes in order to attract the common people such depictions poison and distracts the minds of the people especially the younger generation.
Undue importance to sex and violence does irreparable damage to our youth and instill in them wrong ideas of social living and family. It is being felt that the blind imitation of ‘Hollywood’ in Indian film world have had serious repercussions on our ethics and morals. The whole trend of cinema in India today needs to be reconstructed for the betterment of the society. It is the responsibility of the film industry to develop a constructive attitude and improve its moral tone.
Nevertheless, cinema is a great means, at the disposal of man, which can be used for betterment or for decadence. It is high time, that its pristine goodness and original purpose be strictly adhered to. All steps should be taken to see that films do not damage the moral values, culture and traditions of our country. They should not be used as merely ‘money- making machines’ but rather as powerful means of popular entertainment and general education.