Should films have social relevance?
By Justce Markandey Katju
Some people ask whether the films of James Bond, the Terminator, Jurassic Park, etc had social relevance ? My reply is: it is true they had none. But those films were made in rich, developed countries. On the other hand, in poor underdeveloped countries like India, having massive poverty, malnourishment, unemployment, price rise, etc, films should combine entertainment with social relevance e.g. many films of Raj Kapoor ( like Awaara, Shri 420, Boot Polish, Jagte Raho etc ), and many films of Satyajit Ray, Charlie Chaplin, Sergei Eisenstein, etc. These films too were entertaining and box office hits, though they had social relevance.
So the answer to the question whether films should have social relevance or not depends on whether the film is made mainly for people of developed countries, or of underdeveloped countries.
In poor, underdeveloped countries films made only for entertainment, and having no social relevance, are like opium or some other drug, which will take you into a world of make believe for a couple of hours, and are meant to divert people’s attention away from the real issues facing the nation, to non issues and trivialities.
The Roman Emperors used to say ” If you cannot give the people bread, give them circuses ”.
Today they would say, ”If you cannot give the people bread, give them Pathan.”
Jean-Léon Gérôme, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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