Friday, July 3, 2009

The old tamil movie influence debate

Last Tuesday, I caught a Minnal FM programme where listeners were asked to give their views on a statement by the Consumer Association of Penang that cinema influence was contributing to the social ills among Indians in the country. The listeners views were mixed with most of the younger ones rejecting CAP's statement while the the not-so-young adults supporting CAP. The younger listeners said they were level headed and could adopt the positive and reject the negative (crime as in parang wielding). One not so young listener pointed out how as a youth she was taken in by the romanticism of the `Bobby' Hindi movie and was totally spellbound by the scenes. She described how youngsters are so impressionable that they start emulating what they saw in a movie, the moment they step out of the cinema.

Recently when asked if there was a link between the overly crime based Indian cinema and the escalating crime rate among Indians in the country, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu shot back: "There are a billon people in India watching these movies and they are not affected."Could it be that these movies while being regarded by those in India as merely an entertainment, had somehow filled the cultural vacuum evident in the lives of Malaysian Indians.

Being cut off from the Indian mainstream culture embellished with its wide array of folk and classical music, art, literature and drama; the only avenue left for Malaysian Indians is the all encompassing cinema.Herein lies the danger as cinema being unregulated by the intellectual, self realised and wise guardians of Indian culture; has been influenced by profit mongers who have no qualms about feeding the frenzy of wanton joy seeking youth. No thought is given to the education and self realisation of youths in movies (except for a few rare producers who use their artistic authority to make excellent movies that are educational, inspirational and informative) .

Police sources accept CAP's views pointing out that many of today's Indian gangsters were emulating Indian movies in the way they are concealing parangs at the back of their shirt or killing victims by slitting their throats with the swish of a parang.

CAP which has long been on a crusade to stop alcohol abuse among the Indian community could also vouch on the movie influence of alcohol drinking among youths. While in the earlier Indian movies drinking was portrayed as taboo, today's movies promote drinking as an accepted social norm in Indian society. The influence is so great now that Indian school boys as young as 13 years of age are taking to drinking alcohol. Indian pubs are welcoming their patrons to bring their whole family along to partake in the `good food' and `cinema songs' delivered by their resident music bands.The debate goes on but what is to be done to ensure that our youth are educated in the art of intelligently appreciating Indian movies? Will it help if parents give their children a strong grounding in some form of Indian folk or classical artform during their formative years (five to fifteen)?

~by "sr_krsnaa"

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