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On Cinema

 

What does this word, “Cinema” mean for each of us? Surely this word, with all its connotations including the images and sounds it evokes in one’s memory has different meaning for each one of us. However, the approach towards it is more or less similar amongst most of us, that is, as a form of entertainment, pastime, escape, etc. The original meaning of the word was: “moving images”, however as this medium evolved, sound was also introduced into it.

Therefore, perhaps we can now give this meaning to the word – “moving images and sounds”. Suppose I’ve completely negated all my experience of cinema and have no memory with which to compare – what then do I see it as? I see it as nothing but images and sounds. Everything that is done and would be done would be done with mixtures, different qualities, proportions, of images and sounds. The story, the plot, the dialogues, song, dance, actors, locations, are all secondary – they are a part of this movement. Then every part is equally important and has its own place in the whole movement. What else do I see? I see that for the first time in the history of mankind, human beings can see themselves – they can watch themselves! This, if one ponders upon it, opens limitless possibilities for the human consciousness. Humans can take giant leaps towards breaking the barriers of consciousness and watch themselves, observe themselves – for cinema reveals.

It is an art of revelation, not of hiding – It shows things as they are, though one may translate the seen into one’s own image.

Though all art forms have declined and mediocrity has taken over, the decline of Cinema has been instantaneous. It has not even existed for a hundred years and has been totally and ruthlessly strangled. This is the more serious because the degradation of cinema reflects the degradation of human mind. Cinema, as an art form can far surpass all the other art forms, though the others will still have their place. Cinema can use everything - images, sounds, written words – all music, all painting, all literature can be contained in it.

   

Cinema can have a profound influence on the human consciousness. The trouble is, the mind that goes to see cinema and the mind that creates cinema usually get what they want out of it – that is, providing a form of escape, quick entertainment, wherein for some time the mind can be pt to sleep and one can forget the self with all its problems and worries. In India, it started badly, as a form of dramatized “nautanki”, and it still suffers terribly from tradition and people’s lack of ability to break away from it. Most practitioners of cinema use it for mercenary purposes.

Obviously, anything that is created for making money, fame, and for personal ambition, will be mediocre. Furthermore, it is also to be popular – that is more and more people should like it, that it should have mass appeal. Art, be it music, literature, paintings, was never meant for the masses. It can never be for the masses. Therefore, since the reason and approach towards a thing reflect most on the final product, the state of present cinema, since it is approached from the point of view of popularity and commercialism, has declined beyond measure.

Cinema, not only in India, but the world over has suffered premature death.

Contributed By : Ashutosh Ghildiyal is a salaried professional based in Mumbai, India. He was born in Lucknow in 1984, where he completed his schooling. He completed his graduate studies in New Delhi and his post-graduate education in Mumbai. He is the author of To Think or Not to Think and Other stories (Book), various blogs and short stories. Email: ashutoshghildiyal@hotmail.com

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