The sorrow, anger, and shock over Swathi’s murder in broad daylight in a suburban station in Chennai have not abated yet. There were many reported causes for the murder, one being stalking of the girl by the murderer. Much of the public discussion which took place revolved around women’s security arrangements in the stations and very little around stalking and what inspires stalking among men. And even less discussed was whether movies are indeed inspiring stalking among men?
Actor Siddharth kick starts debate
Actor Siddharth in his tweets has highlighted how the movies are “collectively responsible” for selling a dream that is wrong i.e., justification of stalking to get the girl the ‘hero’ loves. It is true, how many movies involve stalking scenes preceding the man and woman falling in love,. It has gone to such an extent that it comes across as a legitimate means of men showing their love for the girls who are stalked.
Two sides of the argument
Yes, movie is a creative field, where imaginations play a major role, any set boundaries could asphyxiate that creativity. Movies sometimes inspire reality and equally take inspiration from reality, to expect movies to set the tone for a better future is too big a task. A lot of jobs, money, and lives remains at stake for every movie made and its success. Therefore, they have to come up with content which is consumed in mass within the limited budget they have. The equation is a complex one which has to be got right for survival and sustainability. Both meaningful and socially relevant movies and the not so women friendly themes have met with success and failures. So it is up to the viewers to reject what is wrong and accept and appreciate what is right for the right movies to succeed.
The movie industry, on the other hand, which consciously keeps out politically charged, controversial and other subjects could indeed take the giant leap of mutually agreeing on leaving out certain tones of relationships from their movies for the better good. Movies are one of the biggest pass times, hobby, and passion among a huge audience in India, unlike many other countries which have made their mark in the movie industry.
The audience and the representatives from the film industry should initiate discussions on the potential of films and its impact on the psyche of the last man viewing the movie. The discussions should entail on whether there is convincing evidence of movies inspiring some of the social evils existing in the society or if it is the other way round or both. It is not about which side of the argument is right or wrong, it is about when this discussion will start. Actor Siddharth has called for the same discussion, we call for the same. Let us hope a debate starts sooner than later. Even as the debate starts among the stake holders, we would like to know from you, your take on the issue.