Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A country deserves its politicians and movies

Once years ago in a discussion with my father about how bad the movies in India are, he'd given me some wisdom on it. He'd said " A judge of a country's character is the movies they produce". At that time, I was not in complete agreement with this thought, in fact, I was almost inclined to disagreeing with him. I thought, how come a country like India with its educated folk and rich culture and heritage have movies with people dancing to music and running around trees (sorry Russell Peters)? The answer lay in the demographic of the people watching these movies. Urban educated folk in India continue to believe that they are the superior breed in the world. They often are completely disillusioned in that way because they never bother to step out of the comfort zone of their homes and their cities. Some Indians, often in foreign countries like the USA, tend to keep relishing the fact that they often do well and how their accounting skills and basics are so much better than the general population. This is a myth. Fact is that statistics don't lie. India still reels under the dark cloud of poverty and abysmal levels of illiteracy. If any of the people had ever bothered to step outside of their homes they would know that barely 50 miles from any developed city in any direction, the levels of intelligence, education and infrastructure are so poorly crumbling that they would rest their cases. Unfortunately, most of these urban people are perpetually exposed to the best of the best that can survive in the demanding environment of the city. And hence, they have this illusion of superior existence.

The same applies to movies. It is these folk that toil hard under adverse conditions to make ends meet that fill up cinema houses. They don't want to watch movies on serious social issues that engage their mind. They demand the song and dance sequences and the ridiculousness of mindless flicks to entertain them for three hours. Yes, three hours. That's how long Bollywood movies are. That in itself is a display of who the target audience is. A set of population that want value for money in the time spent at the theater and the apparent 'energizing' ( Star trek) of their minds into a space of surreality. The problem with this reality was that the population that didn't want to watch this form of entertainment was forced to watch it. The funny thing was that when we'd come out of sheer disappointment after watching one of these movies, when the general population was interview in an exit-theater poll, they often responded in the positive and stated how they'd loved the movie. That whole thing baffled me until I realized the truth.

In much the same way, we also deserve the politicians. They are a direct reflection of the society and its social stature. So, any call to kill the politicians is not very valid or useful unless the society itself is subject to change. One has to remember that the politicians haven't dropped from the sky. We have been part of this process of their election. We have turned a blind eye when it comes to voting for them. Granted that the choices given to us have been between horse sh** and cow sh**, but, we have never bothered to challenge the system. This common unexplained sociological behavior is exhibited by many a populations irrespective of their culture and level of education. For instance, the US re-elected GW Bush despite seeing his spectacular record for the first four years. And it takes the scale of an uprising to challenge the incumbent just as Barack Obama did. Since we are vastly outnumbered in the general population (as per my first post 'Why democracy has failed us' ) the onus is on us to take the initiative and start this battle to make our system better.


  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    I dont understand what you are trying to say here...educated people do not like to see dance / music and the poor / uneducated do not like to see serious social issues in films...flawed logic...and you said that intelligence level start crumbling 50 miles from any city? So you mean that that all those living in cities are wise and all those living in rural area fools?

  2. Anonymous2:25 PM

    why are you calling yourself an american if you lived there for only nine years? i assume you would older than nine...

  3. Anonymous4:20 PM

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