05 February 2007

Drawing entertainment value from violence

Films like 'Gandhi' or 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' may propagate virtues of nonviolence and racial tolerance, but I wonder if they make up the right diet for the daily film-going audience across the world. For, it seems to me that, the daily film-going audience is more interested in a diet of action, adventure and thrills… with generous doses of murder and mayhem added for effect. Perhaps, murder and mayhem is really the main course!

Given a choice between 'Gandhi' and 'Kill Bill Vol.1', I'm sure film-viewers would lap up the blood and guts offered by 'Kill Bill' rather than spend two hours trying to understand the historical realism of 'Gandhi'. Or, in a choice between 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' and 'Saving Private Ryan', the war-tale 'Saving Private Ryan' would win over all the court-room battles of 'To Kill A Mocking Bird'. You may not believe me, but the box-office figures are on my side

It's no guesswork, nor impulse, that pushes big film industries like Hollywood or Bollywood to produce films which contain violence. Violence is what the film-viewing audience desires and craves for. Tales of revenge, hatred, war and fear are the most popular themes in films. The more disturbing the violence, the more sensational the film and its reviews… helping to draw in larger and larger audiences.

Films depicting violence are a popular form of entertainment in our culture. And, why not! If films are to portray life, they have every right to portray the uglier side of life, not just the wishy-washy romance which all TV soaps offer. After all, violence is as much a part of our cultural identity as romance is. And, big film industries are quick to draw entertainment value from it.

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