Films wield immense influence on masses. Cinema is one of the mighty media and commands great popularity. It is a very popular means of cheap and easily available entertainment, thousands of men and women see films daily in cinema houses, theatres and on their televisions. The mass appeal of cinema is well known. Its influence on the audience is deep and abiding. People, particularly the young men and women have their film heroes and heroines. They are mad after them and follow them in fashions and way of living. They see the same film again and again which features their favourite stars.
Indian film industry is very big and is now almost 100 years old. India produces the largest number of films in Hindi and other Indian languages and thousands of people are employed in the Industry as cameraman, technicians, actors, producers, music directors, singers, editors, spot boys, helpers, financiers, distributors etc. It provides employment to a larger number of people in the country. Indian films are also popular in many foreign countries. India is the leader in the film production and so far has produced more than 28000 feature films followed by Pundalik. The first Indian talkie Alam Ara was produced in 1931. Since then Indian films have not looked back. The first International Film Festival of India was held in 1952.
As a form of popular and mass recreation and entertainment, films are unrivalled. Its impact on our social, personal, national and family life is abiding and far reaching. Films are an important topic of discussion among the people. Newspapers and magazines are full of articles, comments, reviews, pictures and features related to films and the people connected with them. Seeing films have become a craze among the youngsters. The spread of television and cable boom has further popularised the films.
Besides entertainment and amusement, cinema is also a good source of education, instruction, enlightenment and information. We can learn about the distant places of our country and those of foreign countries without actually visiting them. It also helps in spreading the awareness about social evils and their removal. Many superstitions and blind beliefs can be easily eradicated through films. It is a good means of forming public opinion on social, political and national issues. It can affect many changes in the society and cause a social and cultural renaissance. Educational films help students in increasing their knowledge. By screening good purposeful and cultural films, we can mould and build the character of the young men and women of India. All good and decent films would go a long way in removing such evils as dowry, casteism, communalism, hatred, untouchability etc. Cinema and films also help a great deal in national integration, unity and emotional harmony. Patriotic songs and films strengthen the bonds of nationalism and unity. Thus, cinema is a very potent means of influencing the masses. The vivid, concrete images and visuals leave permanent impressions on the minds of the viewers. People imbibe the ideas, concepts and emotions seen on the silver screen without making any physical effort. Even illiterate and uneducated persons can be taught new ideas. To understand things through reading requires education, efforts, books and mental effort but films make instructions easily digestible by blending them with pleasure and entertainment. Cinema speaks and speaks pleasantly and not to individuals but to masses spread over a large area.
This is so powerful means of mass education, entertainment and communication should be used wisely to spread education, enlightenment and morals. But unfortunately it has been increasingly used as an instrument of destruction and disintegration of human personality. Many such crimes as thefts, cheating, violence murders and kidnappings are being committed because of the evil influence of the movies. The cinemas have become schools where vice, violence and crime are taught openly. They have become the synonym of sin, moral degradation and violence.
People in greater number are becoming victims of the unhealthy influence of films. They encourage them to violate acceptable standards of decency, etiquette and social behaviour. Film makers should understand and follow their social obligations. Films should be so decent as a man may not hesitate to see it with his wife and children. The scenes depicting women as victims of rape, sexual abuse etc. Should be avoided or should be incorporated very imaginatively and suggestively. In the name of reality obscenity cannot be allowed.