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  • Raghav Sand

Pushpa, Mirzapur and KGF: What Does it Say About India?

Until a few years ago, Indians used to believe that every story must have a happy ending. With passage of time, our sense and sensibilities have evolved. Gone are the days when the story and screenplay of a content were all about the triumph of good over evil. The contemporary art scene of a society is believed to be its reflection. The stories being told and the songs being written and composed tell a lot about the mood of the nation.

Some of you may think that stories are derived from everyday life, while the rest of you believe that normal life is different from what is shown by the media. When a certain kind of song or movie captures the imagination of the nation, there are many reasons which make the content go viral.

Pushpa, Kaaleen Bhaiya and Rocky

True art is never understood, it is interpreted. Movies from southern states have become a rage among the Hindi cinema viewers. Earlier, movies from the Telegu, Tamil and Kannada movie industry found acceptance on satellite television but now they get released in multiple Indian languages simultaneously.

The lead characters in Pushpa, Mirzapur and KGF are not the most righteous people in town, while their craze is off the charts. Few years ago, many mass appeal movies in India followed a template: hero saves the family/village/girl from the bad guys or injustice and they live happily ever after. By not following a template, content creators are exploring diverse topics, but in all this creative freedom there is an overwhelming amount of stuff which is idolising the outlaws. There are a lot of other popular shows currently streaming savage content without any remorse.

Hindu mythology is based upon a basic foundation: good conquers evil. ‘Satyamev Jayate’, this Sanskrit phrase means “Truth alone prevails”. It is inscribed in Devanagari script at the base of the national emblem (the Lion Capital of Asoka). Upon independence, it was adopted as the national motto of India.

Power and Fortuner

This is a classic chicken and egg story. People live for respect and love; everything else is a means to an end. While observing people across the length and breadth of the nation, I have noticed a pattern. SUVs and motorcycles with a loud exhaust note have become symbols of power and masculinity.

Is it really possible to create an image by driving cars usually driven by the mafia in all sorts of audio-visual content? Believe it or not, this has become a legit way to leave a mark on societal perception. To be successful in the ‘fake it till you make it’ pursuit, attention to detail is necessary. Does Toyota Fortuner bring you power? Are genuinely powerful people loud and flamboyant by nature? The answer to both these questions is in the negative.

What Went Wrong and How!

When a nation applauds and imitates smugglers, gangsters or people who break the law, sooner than later it will be ruled and governed by inept and corrupt individuals. Isn’t it happening already? Our republic is still standing on its feet because as of now well-meaning individuals outnumber greedy and immoral ones. India is making progress in the field of information technology and self-reliance in manufacturing. At this critical juncture, we cannot turn a blind eye to the moral degradation of our society.

Are people fed up with the judicial system? When did we start worshiping bandits? Have people lost faith in democratic process and institutions? Such questions demand undivided attention from all concerned citizens. When a nation sentimentalizes the actions of a criminal who steals from the national fund, abuses common people and kills security personnel for fun, how much more brutality should go unpunished? When a criminal kills a policemen in a movie/web-series, it should be seen as a serious offence. Sadly, scenes like this have become the norm. By worshiping people who behave like a law unto themselves, we are sowing the seeds of moral degradation and public disharmony.

When unaccounted and unauthorised power is given to any person, they will eventually misuse it for serving themselves and their associates. Let us get one thing clear – creativity and commerce are inseparable. The entertainment industry employs millions of people. In order to pay for production cost and wages, it has to churn new stuff. Sometimes, new content is experimental, while on other occasions it is an old wine in a new bottle.

Allocation of Resources

There are as many stories in the world as there are people. By choosing to devote a disproportionate amount of human and financial resources on content that makes people admire and imitate criminals, the communicators are missing the point. A mature society should not overlook reality by brushing it under the carpet. At the same time, we should tell stories about everyday life.

Hope, humour, and human ingenuity are persuasive ways to bring change in the world. If as a creator or viewer you believe change can be brought by politicians and bureaucrats alone, you need to realise your capability and responsibility.

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