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Traditional Media

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Q. What is the role of films in the nation building in India? Has it been successfully portraying social development?

A: Models of communication are conceptual models used to explain the human communication process. In today’s world where new media is very prevalent, films, music and television shows also act in influencing the masses. Cinema has truly played a major role in changing our society. Patriotic movies make us remember to love our nation. Good comedic movies have treated many patients through laugh therapy. Adventure movies have given us a sense of adventure to explore new possibilities. There are many more! In our society there are many practices and traditions which are based on ignorance and which have withheld the progress of our society. Rigidity of caste system, untouchability, dowry system and purdah system have done enormous harm to our society. Cinema films can do a lot to eradicate these evils. They can be used for promoting national integration, Prohibition, inter-caste marriages, family planning, eradication of illiteracy, etc. Such themes can help the transformation of our society. The cinema to guide them along the right path. It can help in removing ignorance from our society. Not only this, several much needed social reforms can be introduced and brought about with the help of the cinema.
The cinema exercises a great influence on the mind of the people. It has a great educative value. It can achieve splendid results in the field of expansion of education. There are certain subjects, such as science and geography, which can be more effectively taught with the help of talkies. Lessons on road sense, rules of hygiene and civic sense can be taught to the students and the public as well in a very effective manner with the help of cinema pictures. Many successful experiments have been made in various countries on the utility of films as a means of education. Feature films have been produced for school and college students and students are being benefited by them.
Cinema films have the power to influence the thinking of the people. They have changed the society and social trends. They have introduced new fashions in society. They may be described as pace-setters. They can create a direct impact on our social life. Films can go a long way towards arousing national consciousness and also in utilizing the energies of the youth in social reconstruction and nation-building by a skilful adaption of good moral, social and educative themes, and by introduction of popular sentiments, films can, to a great extent, formulate and guide public opinion. Because of their audio visual appeal cinema films are the most powerful means of publicity and advertisement. Small publicity pictures or skits when shown on the screen easily catch the imagination of spectators. The cinema has so far remained unchanged as the most popular audio-visual mass medium, but now with the arrival of television and its impressive pace of advancement, the cinema can no longer afford the luxury of complacence. It has, therefore, to improve its performance and to maintain a high standard.
In our country cinematography has been developed as an art and the film industry is an organised industry. It is a foreign exchange earner industry. Many Indian films have won international awards.
Like the other side of the coin, this gift of science has some disadvantages, too. It is a force and has the power to influence the society. So a film which depicts scenes of moral degradation or which violates our moral standards does immense harm to our society. We know many young people have gone astray under the misleading influence of indecent pictures. Filthy, immoral and crime pictures very easily catch the imagination of impressionable youth. Such films can be accused of producing delinquency. The films produced on the western trends or the films which try to preach x western moral standards are producing a bad effect on our younger generation. So the producers of films and the film censors owe a great responsibility to society. The film producers should try to resist the temptation to mint money by producing formula pictures; they should rather produce good pictures of educative and reformative value. A good film is higher than any education and a bad film is more injurious than poison. Why? There are more.
Cinema has become a powerful vehicle for culture, education, leisure and propaganda. In a 1963 report for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization looking at Indian Cinema and Culture, the author (Baldoon Dhingra) quoted a speech by Prime Minister Nehru who stated, "...the influence in India of films is greater than newspapers and books combined." Even at this early stage in cinema, the Indian film-market catered for over 25 million people a week- considered to be just a 'fringe' of the population.

Contemporary research has also revealed more profound aspects to film's impact on society. In a 2005 paper by S C Noah Uhrig (University of Essex, UK) entitled, "'Cinema is Good for You: The Effects of Cinema Attendance on Self-Reported Anxiety or Depression and 'Happiness'" the author describes how, "The narrative and representational aspects of film make it a wholly unique form of art. Moreover, the collective experience of film as art renders it a wholly distinct leisure activity. The unique properties of attending the cinema can have decisively positive effects on mental health. Cinema attendance can have independent and robust effects on mental wellbeing because visual stimulation can queue a range of emotions and the collective experience of these emotions through the cinema provides a safe environment in which to experience roles and emotions we might not otherwise be free to experience. The collective nature of the narrative and visual stimulation makes the experience enjoyable and controlled, thereby offering benefits beyond mere visual stimulation. Moreover, the cinema is unique in that it is a highly accessible social art form, the participation in which generally cuts across economic lines. At the same time, attending the cinema allows for the exercise of personal preferences and the human need for distinction. In a nutshell, cinema attendance can be both a personally expressive experience, good fun and therapeutic at the same time."

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