Fenil and Bollywood

After ragging row, Bollywood springs to defence of ‘3 Idiots’

Posted on: January 9, 2010

REEL STORY: In the movie, Aamir Khan’s character teaches his seniors a lesson for indulging in ragging

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 5, 2010)

Mumbai: With the state government stating that it will watch the film ‘3 Idiots’ to see whether the KEM Hospital students accused of ragging were inspired by it, the focus is once more on whether reel life influences real life.

Bollywood is not in the mood to accept any blame. Director of ‘3 Idiots’, Raju Hirani, says, “Ragging exists in our society, like murder, rape and other heinous activities. Does it mean that none of these can be part of films? Our attempt was to show ragging in a poor light. Aamir, the protoganist, never rags anyone in his four years. He just teaches his seniors a lesson. We are not supporting ragging in any way.’’

Hirani’s ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ was also blamed for influencing students to copy during exams. Upto 22 students at a teacher training institute in Tamil Nadu were caught cheating with mobile phones. The incident happened shortly after the Kamal Hassan-starrer ‘Vasool Raja, MBBS’, the Tamil rip-off of the Sanjay Dutt starrer, was released. Kamal Hasan then said, “We only borrow what we see in society as we have a dearth of stories. So don’t blame us. We’re a happening society and we only look to society for such ideas.’’

Filmmakers say cinema is a mirror of society. Ramgopal Varma has been blamed for increasing gang warfare after his film ‘Satya’, but he has said he is influenced by life. Manik Chatterjee’s film ‘Ghar’ was based on a real-life incident at Mahim Causeway, where a couple returning home after watching a film at the drivein in Bandra was attacked, the wife raped and then sent back home.

Writer Sanjay Chauhan says, “Cinema has always been influenced by society and one cannot blame it for what happens in society. I don’t think ‘3 Idiots’ made the students rag their juniors. People are only trying to get mileage out of this and attacking cinema is the best way for them.’’

However, some say that after many years in the public’s consciousness, cinema can give back to life too. Writer Dilip Thakur says, “The influence of cinema on society began to show in the Seventies, from the time of the release of ‘Bobby’. There were a number of cases of young couples running away from home. Also, after ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’, there seemed to be a number of suicides registered.’’

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt is vociferous in his defence of movies. “Do movies showing murder, rape and mutilation make our nation more violent? Well, my answer to that is a loud ‘no’, because if books and movies could alter human behaviour, this world would be a paradise. In fact, a recent study by two researchers in the US concludes that violent films prevent violent crime by attracting would-be assailants and, instead of allowing them to fuel up at bars and roam the streets looking for trouble, keeps them in cinemas where they watch celluloid villains.’’

Bhatt adds, “Bollywood, like Hollywood, takes violent people off the streets and puts them in theatres. According to some experts, in the short run, if you take away violent movies, you will increase violent crime.’’

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