Think And Behave?
For most of us, movies are our favorite source of entertainment. They take us into the parallel world of music and dance, action and romance, thrillers and mysteries.
Movies have the power to arouse emotions and feelings that sometimes we don’t experience in our everyday lives. Movies make us laugh, they make us cry, but importantly, they make us think.
A good movie has the power to leave its impact on us long after we have left the cinema halls.
We can very well see it ourselves, movies like Uri and Chandryaan have started a new wave of nationalism. While movies like Lipstick Under My Burkha, Parched and many more have sparked a nationwide debate on feminism and women’s rights. While movies like Padmavati, Baji Rao Mastani, Mangal Pandey and many more educate us about our glorious, but troublesome past.
Just like the mind-blogging debate of who came – first the chicken or the egg – the debate of what influences what are movies influenced by society or do movies influence society is a never-ending one, but the fact that movies do have an impact on society can’t be ignored.
Cinema has the power to influence our thinking, our behavior, and our lifestyle choices.
There are various studies which are conducted that explore the extent to which movies impact our life, we will explore these studies further in this article.
Influence of movies on our fashion choices
Although the influence of movies on different strata of life is up for debate, there is no doubt that the influence of movies in our fashion choices is a major one. Right from the famous Salman Khan’s “Tere Naam” hairstyle to Rani Mukherji’s Bunty and Bubbly suits.
The trend of sporting bikinis on the beaches was a gift of Bollywood to the masses.
The influence of movies can be very predominantly seen when you attend Indian weddings. Any outfit adorned by any actor or actress in some hit movie becomes a sartorial trend for tailors to reproduce. The earliest influence of Bollywood movies on fashion can be of Madhubala’s Mughal- E- Azzam’s Anarkali attire. Not only movies even famous Bollywood celebrities set the fashion trends. We can see so many brands making Bollywood celebrities their ambassadors because they have great influential power over the masses.
In the 70s, divas like Neetu Singh, Zeenat Aman, and Hemamalini rocked the screen with bell-bottoms, platform heels and dramatic make-up, making it a style staple for the people in the 70s.
In the 80’s bright colors were breaking the industry with attires like fitted churidar suits and chiffon saris.
In the 90’s, I think the influence of Bollywood on fashion saw a big burst, from Hum Appke Hai Kon to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and of course the cult classic Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, every girl’s ethnic wardrobe saw the iconic silhouettes from these blockbuster movies.
Although from the late 2000’s where the narrative of the movie is shifting from the dreamy romance to more relatable ones, the clothes that are portrayed are in tandem with the current fashion trends, people believe that there is a slow decline in the influence of Bollywood movies on fashion, but the Bollywood celebrities still enjoy a great deal of power.
Influence of movies on social issues
Movies have the power to start the debate on topics that need attention. The talkies are a very powerful tool to influence people on topics that are neglected.
Some of the famous Bollywood movies that talked about the issues prevailing in our country and influenced our thoughts on the subject are:
1) Taare Zameen Par:
This blockbuster movie started a much-needed discussion on dyslexia. The child’s lack of ability to comprehend complex mathematical problems which are usually blamed on the arrogance and laziness of the child saw a new phase. People started understanding the gravity of the disease and its impact on the child.
2) Prem Rog:
3) Oh My God:
The list is long, time and again Bollywood has given us gems that have influenced the thinking of masses, films like Rang De Basanti, 3 Idiots, Damini, Swadesh, Baghban, Udaan, Black Friday, Achoot Kanya, Pakeezah, Kya Kehna, etc have done a phenomenal work in talking about the hushed issues of our society.
Some international movies have influenced the thinking so much, they were responsible behind changing the laws of the particular country:
2) The Thin Blue Line:
3) A Handful of Ash:
This 50 minute documentary about female genital mutilation practiced in Kurdistan. As a direct consequence of this movie, the practice was outlawed by the parliament.
There are still various cases where the movie sparked the debate on the subject and led to useful and positive outcomes.
Influence of the movies on violence:
If movies can influence the people on the positive spectrum of life, then they can do that for the negative spectrum as well. Although there is no clear winner on whether movies can influence people to commit crimes or not. But they sure can influence the people looking to commit a crime. Many Bollywood movies glorify the role of the criminals to an extent that they can make young and naive minds get influenced and excite them about this dark world. Movies like Raees where a terrorist was shown as a soft-hearted human who made a mistake and became a part of the Mumbai bomb blast sends down a very wrong message and creates empathy towards the criminal.
Some real-life crimes that were influenced by Bollywood movies, leaving us worried about the glorification of the crimes and the criminals are:
The abduction of Snapdeal employee Dipti Sharma in 2016 made headlines the same year. The main accused said that he was inspired by 1993’s Bollywood movie ‘Darr’, where he was influenced by the Sharukh Khan’s character.
2) Bunty and Bubli
The impact of the movie industry on the minds and thought processes of the individuals and even on society as a whole can’t be neglected. Even though it’s primary role is to entertain and tell a story, movies do much more than that. Good movies have the power to influence thinking through the masses and classes of people.