Monday, January 02, 2006

Movies of Color

Watched a "Movies of Color, Black Southern Cinema", a documentary on Independent African-American film making. Many independent African-American film makers from 1920s to 1950s made several movies and implicitly or explicitly potrayed several social issues like: segregration, the lure of larger cities, religion, social values etc. These movies may not have been the best technologically, but certainly looks like they do a pretty good in using the film media to showcase social and other important issues of that time.
Got me thinking, that how much of Indian film-making (Hindi/Marathi/Hinglish, since I have only these movies) try to showcase any of the social issues or realities of people. Most of them fall in the entertainment category, which is fine, but has very little connection with any reality! There was time, not too long till about 10-15 years ago, Marathi cinema had quite a number of films depicting several close-to-reality movies. Media---films, newspapers, radio---have entertainment as their mass appeal, but arent they also opportunities to potray and reach a large audience about the realities that exist?

Another related thought was on the other documentary I wateched, "When we were Kings", documenting the "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match between Mohammad Ali and George Freeman. The documentary has the fight for about 5 minutes, but does a great job of building the background and offers a peak in Ali's life.
Ali had lost his heavy-weight total has he had refused the draft during the Vietnam war and put in jail. What was interesting that he merged his boxing fame with politics and took a stand and had to pay for it.
Comparing that with today's scenario, how many of our "heroes" make any kind of stand on any kind of issue. All we see is them sporting various kinds of brands in advertisments---I agree it is a very individual choice and am not suggesting that they "should" be doing things for soical causes---but do none of our "heroes" care about any social aspects? or is that the social issues are just not that "big" anymore?
Am wondering what it would be if Aamir Khan read articles about anti-Coke movements across the country and decided to stop advertising for them or went to any of these many places and found that Coke was giving out waste as fertilizer, would he take an anti-Coke stand? or Sachin Tendulkar takes stand against the state goverment apathy towards the farmer suicides in Vidarbha? What would happen then ...

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