There was a time when the tickets for movie shows were as cheap as a few rupees. Now, the cost of one ticket ranges between Rs 50 to over Rs 200 depending upon the city, type of theatre- ordinary, with stereophonic sound, a PVR or a multiplex. But somehow the moviegoers manage to arrange that much money to be in a show when a new movie comes to the nearby cinema hall.
The poor people have no access to other sources of entertainment except watching a movie. They cannot go to a hill station to enjoy some days away from work; they cannot go on sight-seeing to other cities-forget other countries; they cannot go on a long drive, on a bike or a car, or for dinner in an expansive hotel. All these ventures are beyond them. All they can do is to work harder for a couple of days and collect the money to buy a ticket and watch their favourite movie-once or twice a week. All Indian movies contain catchy dialogues and lilting songs.
People remember and repeat the dialogues of their favourite actors, and hum the tunes of the songs they like, long after watching a particular movie. In the hall, the joy of people knows no bounds when they hear their favourite actor utter effective dialogues or sing some specific song.
Rich or poor, in terms of entertainment, movies are matchless for everybody. Cinema has come off age. Shooting is no longer confined to studios. Outdoor shooting is done in different places including foreign countries. The scenes of breathtaking beauty-snow-clad mountains, green valleys, hill stations, plateaux, beaches, waterfalls, etc. can be seen in movies. Famous places like Taj Mahal, Golden Temple, Eiffel Tower, Trafalgar Square, Colossus of Rhodes, Egyptian Tombs, etc. can be seen in movies. Movies on special events like sinking of the Titanic, World Wars, tragedies like the murder of Julius Caesar, etc. have an indelible impression on the moviegoers.
Cinema plays a very important role in India. As we all know, the country is a melting pot of different regions, religious faiths, communities, castes and creeds. People speaking different languages and following different customs and traditions are all fond of Hindi movies.
There are movies in other languages which are watched by people knowing and speaking those languages, like Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Assamese, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. But people prefer Hindi movies. In this way, cinema binds the people of different regions and communities together.
They serve the most important cause of national integration. As a matter of fact our Mumbai filmdom called Bollywood is a unique example of secularism. Actors, singers, music directors, composers, producers, directors and other artists hailing from different parts of India work together while making a movie. As a matter of fact, Bollywood is like a mini secular India where people of different faiths live together and work together to achieve excellence in cinema. They regard one another for their act. What better example can there be for people at large to emulate Bollywood and root out communalism from the country?
Indian cinema not only plays a significant role in integrating society but also imparts human values on people such as honesty, hard work, sympathy, charity, brotherhood. Almost all movies have stories in which goodness is rewarded and wickedness is punished.
The hero is an embodiment of good qualities. He is respectful towards elders, adores his parents, helps others, stays away from drinking and gambling and is strong enough to beat a gang of bad guys. It is the hero who is admired by everybody and loved by the beautiful heroine.
There is justice and hope in every story in Indian cinema. This has great influence on people especially the young boys who want to become like the heroes. There are films on religious themes like Samporna Ramayan, Jai Santoshi Ma, Shiv Shakti, Nanak Nam Jahaz, and Veer Hanuman which touch the religious sentiments of people and give the message of truth and religious faith. Society owes a lot to cinema for inculcating such feelings among the people.
Every Hindi movie has, on average six to ten songs sung by versatile male or female singers. The lyrics of these songs are written by well-established poets and lyricists. Famous music directors prepare tunes and background music of these songs. Band of expert instrumentalists play different instruments like sitar, tabla, bango, harmonium, flute, etc. as per requirement of the song before the song is finalised.
These songs become very popular among people. They like to listen to these songs again and again on radio, TV, CD player, etc. Millions of cassettes/CDs are sold every month. Cinema, thus, is rendering a great service to the cause of music. India has a great tradition of classical, folk and general music. All these types of music are promoted by films. Cinema, therefore, serves our tradition of music.
Film-making is an art. In this sense, cinema encourages various arts-acting, singing, dialogue-writing, story-writing, directing, lyrics-writing, composing and music directing. Bollywood is an industry and film-making is a business. Cinema provides employment to millions of people across the country.
Apart from the actors, actresses, story-writers, lyricists, singers, musicians, there are distributors, CD-making companies, recording companies, instrument makers, cinema-houses and their staff, shopkeepers selling CDs, etc. designers of dresses, dress-makers, cameramen and several others related directly or indirectly with film-making who earn their livelihood through cinemas.
As filmmaking is a business, the producers and others who are connected with the business earn crores of rupees every year. They pay huge amount of tax to the government. Similarly, the actors and actresses who charge crores of rupees for acting in a film pay heavy amount of tax every year.
The entertainment tax charged by the government runs into several crores of rupees for one day. Cinema is thus a great source of capital for the government which is spent on various projects of development. Cinema thus participates in the country’s development.
Cinema also promotes fashion. The latest designs in clothes, hairstyle and even bikes and cars are promoted by the heroes and heroines. This not only brings freshness and change in traditional designs but also sustains what is called the fashion boom. Many businesses like readymade garments, jewellery and saloons thrive on the fashion sustained by cinema.
Cinema has also made negative contribution to society. The nudity and violence shown on the silver screen has an adverse effect on many young minds. Various tricks and methods to deceive people shown in some movies tend to mislead young people. Moreover, movies invariably advocate western culture and way of life which is an encroachment on Indian tradition and customs.
People blindly follow what is shown in films. This creates various types of problems in society. It is also said that films give people false dreams and take away their will to fight against the problems of life. In films the problems are solved quickly, but it does not happen like that in real life.
We must conclude, however, that cinema has made great contribution to society, but it must recognize its responsibilities and try to do away with the negative sides associated with it.