“There is no doubt, whatsoever, that the film must be treated as a distinct form of art, the most modern of the fine arts. It links with the other arts like music, dance and drama, but it has its separate artistic individuality. With its wide range of depiction and with the University of its Appeal, it has tremendous possibilities. It must not be overlooked that the film industry, today has become one of the major industries in this country and consequently the box-office aspect is likely to overshadow its artistic aspect”. Justice Rajamannar.
India is one of the largest producers of films in the world. Now-a-days, Indian films are quite popular in South East Asian countries, countries of the Middle East and even in Russia. There are many centres of film-making in India like Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, etc. But Bombay is still the biggest film production centre. Films in India are made in Hindi and many regional languages. Daring the last 35 years the film industry has made great progress. Thousands of persons are employed at various stages in connection with the making of films distributing them and exhibiting them all over the country. In reality, film making has become a highly organized and developed industry. A film is the finished product of the labors of a host of artists and technicians. It is, indeed, a symphony of co-operative efforts. Actors, directors; art and dance directors, music directors, playback singers, script writers, lyricists, cameramen, soundmen, editors—all have to work together under the leadership of a producer for a common object.
Films are produced on many topics, mythology, religion, history, social problems, sex, romance, war etc. Social subjects, however, predominate and 278 films in the category were certified in 1974. Films are the cheapest source of entertainment for the masses. Therefore, they have become quite popular as a pastime in our country. All persons love to see films whether young or old, poor or rich, educated or uneducated. The films are also a very effective media of educational and cultural value.
But it is quite disheartening to note that in spite of this large number of 65ms produced in India every year the quality and content of Indian films has not at all improved correspondingly. Indian films are generally weak in story and construction. In excellence arid production also they are quite poor. Most of the stories women in the film lack real interest and are far removed from the realities of life. The film lack credibility and variety in themes, ‘The boy meets the girl’ theme has been filmed for countless times and It really becomes tiresome monotony to watch these Sims. In the average Bombay film one can see something of everything, violence, action, smuggling, crime, patriotism, melodrama, romance and what not. Thus by and large, the films are sub-standard and they naturally flop at the box-office. The film producers do not bother at all for making films of high quality and standard. They are highly commercial minded and are more worried about their success at the box-office. They want to make quick money without caring about the artistic contents or social purpose.
The star system in the film industry is also an evil practice. Under this system the big stars are too much pampered and given the pride of place. They are paid huge amounts of black money for their roles, In spite of the fact that other actors like character actors also play an important role in the making of the films; they are given a very raw deal. The big stars are entertained and housed in five Liar hotels; whereas the extras are given very meagre wages and that too not regularly.
Films have become a big business and a very costly affair so that people having big financial resources only can afford to invest enormous amounts of money in the films. It is very difficult for a purposeful producer or director having meager financial resources to enter the film-making business. Now the latest trend is to make films with many big stars like ‘Sholay’ and ‘Shan’ the cost of which runs into several crores of rupees. There is no doubt that young producers during the last few years have tried to produce low budget films with experimental themes. But how many such films become commercially successful is a very difficult point to judge. The Government has established the Films Finance Corporation to extend help to the producers to make the films of low budget with high aesthetic sense, but these films have failed to make the desirable impact on the film industry in Bombay and change its trend.
Another defect in the Indian films is that instead of making original films, generally the film producers try to imitate the films produced by Hollywood. In this way films that are made, are not the true representative of Indian culture and society. Recently, a new trend has started in the films, according to which it has become a fashion and a must to show semi-nude and exciting female posture. These scenes are shown to titilate the sex-instinct of the audience which is highly objectionable. Showing of rape scenes and cabarets dance, kissing, nude scenes also have become a must for every formula-film whether these are required or not. These scenes are very humiliating for the female audience. The Government has recently taken some effective measures to ban certain films showing highly provocative sex scenes in the name of sex education. It has also placed certain restrictions on the showing of violence, murder, rape and cabaret dances in the films.
Another recent trend in the films is showing brutal violence, murders and crime-packed scenes. Such films have a very unsalutory effect on the younger generation especially the student community in India. These young boys and girls learn many criminal traits like gambling, smuggling, pick pocketing and murder from these films in which violence and crime is given prominence. It is highly desirable that the Government should also come with a heavy hand on such films and eliminate such criminal influences on the youth in the country.
The film industry should also feel its responsibility towards the nation. They should change their hackneyed and rotten ways. The film producers should produce filing which should not only be a source of entertainment for the masses, but they should also be a source of education for them. Instead of misleading the youth to the path of crime and social vices, they should inspire them to work for the welfare of the nation. The films should provide a purpose to the youth who are feeling aimless and purposeless.
The films should also be in conformity with the national aspirations of the people. They can be a very effective and important instrument in bringing about social and economic reforms in the country by pin pointing the evils existing in the society like dowry, bonded labor, exploitation of the workers, etc. The film makers can also condemn the nefarious activities and anti-national role played by smugglers, black marketers, money lenders and greedy businessmen. The can arouse the conscience of the society against these anti-social and anti-national elements. In conformity with the ideals of our country the films can also preach secularism and help in the emotional integration of the country. Films should condemn social evils like communalism, casteism, untouchability, ostentatious expenditure, etc. Which are thwarting the progress of our country? They can condemn the religious superstitions and futile rituals.
In this way, the film industry which is a very large industry in India can get a new and respectable place in the national life. The film industry itself also needs certain reforms and changes. The glaring evils in the film industry at the moment are star system and use of blackraoney in the making of films. Thus the film in dustry also needs cleansing its Augean stables. When the film industry itself is established on healthy grounds, only then it can play a constructive role in the life of the country. The film industry should also be saved from the clutches of the big financial shark’s star-whales and smugglers, who have been keeping a stranglehold on the film industry by investing their tainted money in the films.