Films are a form of art, and about art there are two theories: 1. Art for art’s sake, and 2. Art for social purpose. Both these forms of art provide entertainment. but proponents of the first school say that art should only be for providing entertainment or appealing to our aesthetic feelings, and if it is used for a social purpose, it ceases to be art, and becomes propaganda.
On the other hand, proponents of the second school believe that apart from providing entertainment art should also have social relevance, and should inspire people to bring about changes for the better in society.
In my opinion in India today only the second form of art ( as far as literature and films are concerned ) are acceptable. That is because today our people are facing the problems of massive poverty, hunger ( we have slipped from position number 101 to 107 out of 121 countries surveyed by Global Hunger Index ), record and rising unemployment, skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, etc
Some people say that people need entertainment too. That is true,but entertainment can be combined with social relevance, e.g. the films of Raj Kapoor like Awaara, Shri 420, Boot Polish, Jagte Raho, Anaadi, etc, or the films of Satyajit Ray, Charlie Chaplin, Sergei Eisenstein, Orson Welles, etc. These too were box office hits.
But films starring Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan have no social relevance.
I am not against Pathan because of right wingers of the saffron brigade, or because I am against Shah Rukh Khan or Deepika Padukone (I do not know them). I am against it because it has no social relevance, and only provides thrills, and takes us into a world of make believe.
That is why I regard such films as an opium of the people, which, like other opiums such as religion, cricket, TV, etc serve only to divert the attention of the people temporarily from the real issues facing the nation to non issues or trivialities.
The Roman Emperors used to say “If you cannot give the people bread, give them circuses.” Today they would say, “If you cannot give the people bread, give them films like Pathan.”
I’d beg to differ here. Films like Aakhri Khat, Aurat, Khamoshi, Anand, Bawarchi, Namak Haraam, Safar, avtaar and amrit all starring late Rajesh khanna had much in cognizance with social relevance.