Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cinema speaks

Enough is enough, I tell you.

I’m sick and tired of being blamed for every act of violence and mindless, gratuitous sex that plays out on the streets and within the four walls of your home every day of your lives. Every time something like this happens, you rehash the old arguments about reel versus real life. About how I am responsible for the ills of society, and about how impressionable young men and women watch me and are led astray.

Take it from me, people, I’m only a little over a hundred years old. Your record was none too clean even before that.

What I show you is nothing different from what you see around you. The sordidness and the despicableness of life – I don’t make those up. They are real, and if you look closely, you will see instances of them. You may even have experienced that dark side. Or maybe you know someone who has.

But that is not all there is to me. I am also about love, and affection. And joy and happiness. And chasing your dreams in spite of the odds. And fighting against society and the establishment for what you believe in. Your truth, no matter what it may be.

I do not take sides. I let each one of you mould me and make of me what you will. Every viewer receives something different. You put a little of yourself into me. Why do you think no two people have the same experience?

I am, after all, only a medium, a tool in your hands. You cannot blame me for your inadequacies and incompetencies. Ours is a collaborative endeavour. I am nothing without you, you need me.

You can show pulp as well as you can show a great story. Pulp that everyone reads but pretends they don’t. And classics that every one pretends to read and never does.

And then you can do something great that touches every heart, or stings every nerve.

I do hope you believe me.

Believe in me.

I hope you believe in the happy endings I offer. And believe in the sad endings too, because they have the potential to spark off a happy beginning.

Or a hopeful one.

I peddle magic. Infuse the every day with a touch of the extraordinary.

I present a 70mm canvas for your experiences and your simple stories of human drama.

Of ordinary people who are heroes and villains, marred by circumstances and the demons they nurture within their breasts.

I tell stories. I project beliefs. I am your soapbox.

It’s up to you. I’m just a medium.

You could use me to tell a story that slows their breath. Or gets their hearts to beat faster.

Or makes them wish they had left their brains at home.

What you do with me is a reflection of you. Not me.

I am empowered.

I make you want to sit on the edge. Seemingly poised on the edge of the world, unheeding the world around.

I make you want to refrain from coughing, sneezing or as Charlie Chaplin was warned in one exciting example of the best I have to offer -- breathing.

Sitting in the dark, allowing yourself to be consumed by the passion of one person, joining hands with the passions of others.

I live for those of you who enter the dark bowels of the theatre, fumbling for your seats and then allow yourself to be transported into something larger than you, and the others sitting around you, something that draws a kind of kinship among you. Something that makes you feel more vibrant and alive than the others outside.

I am not bound to show you a clean resolution. Why should I? Don’t we all know that there is no black and white in life, and that everything is tinged with shades of grey?

I am a mirror that reflects the colours within you.

I can be truth on display 24 times per second.

I can also be lies on display 24 times per second.

I am, after all, only the medium.


  1. Lovely poet again cynthia. Loved the pulp vs classic. And yes. It is just a medium and everyone takes back something else from it. Keep it up...gpod luck!

  2. What a wonderful post Cynthia. Such apt words from Cinema's pov. Indeed, its just a medium that reflects the society...nothing more. But sometimes I think people who make Indian Cinema dont understand that

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Loved the part about the pulp and classic as well as the one about Charlie Chaplin. Brought to mind his kickass skating scene when I really forgot to breathe, sitting at the edge of my seat & heart in my mouth.

  4. Cynthia you took the words from my mouth and heart and packed in so much more punch.I've wanted to ask these same questions since a long time.I feel we as a society love shifting blame on to something or someone else.We fail to look deep within ourselves and understand our own failings. We're the ones who make such movies grand hits while blaming them for the crimes against women and we do them in the same breath.Cheers !

  5. True enough! We just need something to blame rather than accept responsibility!

  6. How well you've said it Cynthia. I too hate it when people blame the movies- or the idiot box. How can a medium be blamed for the muck in your head. You have a choice to change channels... or to walk out of a movie.. or to reject the message it is trying to give you! But it is so much easier to blame someone else for your own inadequacies!


  7. Well Cinema I love you too much and agree with what you have to say :) Cynthia I am a fan truly of Cinema and Cynthia

  8. Awed! Again. Love the way you think. Movies are a medium and I like it a lot.

  9. I love movies too. So true that each of us views one in so many different ways.

  10. What an interesting take on Cinema. Loved reading it !

  11. "Take it from me, people, I’m only a little over a hundred years old. Your record was none too clean even before that."
    Truth that we tend to forget. Spoken well for the Cinema :)

  12. Thank you, Ghata, too many people criticise cinema without realising its potential for good.

  13. Thank you, Rajrupa, Some people who make Hindi cinema concentrate entirely too much on making money, rather than making a good film.

  14. Prathima, Oh yes, I've experienced moments like that, which is why I just love cinema. I think it is a fantastic medium.

  15. So true, Sridevi, Yes, if cinema were to blame, we would all have turned into evil monsters. So many people whistle when a woman is being molested onscreen. There is something wrong with their mentality.

  16. We're incapable of accepting responsibility, as a society, Roshni.

  17. Yes, Dagny, people blame cinema as though cinema makes itself. What about the people who make bad films? And those who watch them and enjoy them? And make them hits? Shouldn't they be the ones to shoulder the burden, if any?

  18. You are such a darling to say that, Jaibala, But seriously I am a fan of cinema too.

  19. Thank you, Janu, wish you the same. Movies are a good medium and they should get their due.

  20. Exactly, Suzy, each one of us comes coloured with different perceptions and experiences.

  21. Thank you, Ruch, why are you not part of this year's challenge? I miss travelling around the world with you.

  22. Yes, Shail, it becomes far too easy to blame cinema for the ills in society, rather than clean up those ills.

  23. We live in movies and movies live in us. Can the description get better than this ? What a poetic way to say it all Cynth!
    Being a movie lover, loved it all

  24. What a POV!!! It teaches us about love and affection and yet we are ready to pick up the first sin we see. Beautifully written

  25. Accepting that the fault is in us is a tough choice. We choose blame-game, it being the easier choice and also the most convenient of choices. Hard hitting post Cynthia!



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