Media first year

Media first year
Faces of the beginner.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Impact of Films on Bhutanese Society and Culture

The film industry consists of a number of institutions including: film making cinematography, film production, film festival, and the film distribution. Bhutanese film industry is young and modestly developed compared to any other neighboring countries. Though it is young, the Bhutanese film industry produces varieties of film on arts and culture, thematic films and documentaries on different existing issues. Broadly these can be classified into commercial and non-commercial films. By late 90s Bhutanese people were introduced to “Television” which goes head to head with the film industry. It did take long for Bhutanese people to walk along with what they saw and learnt from the electronic box called television but if TV had not been there, people would have still not reached where they are today. Now TV as a popular mass media it eventually boosted the film industry of Bhutan. Numbers of films are being produced annually with the advancement of technologies. So many people be it young, old and adults now are taking much interest in something Bhutanese unlike past when our parents were compellingly subjected to Indian films as there was no films made by the Bhutanese. But for now the time has changed as our country is developing as well as the Bhutanese film industry.

When we talk about films, we must also consider its impact on the society and culture. Society which includes men and women of all ages and a culture which is, “stories we tell ourselves about ourselves”. Films can have both positive and negative impact on the minds of the people. It can easily persuade people as audio visual effect is more powerful compared to that in printed form, maybe it is for this reason Bhutanese rarely reads or it is a lack of literacy that people chooses films and anything related to television. “Art doesn’t change culture; art merely reflect culture” said great minds, but by looking around these days it cannot be accepted as it is observed by many that media is a key of persuasion and it is very wrong and vague to say so. Film industry plays a vital role in reshaping the culture but it can also be detrimental to the cultures that we have in Bhutan. Society we live in right now is never to be misjudged; different people have different thoughts and different people takes in things differently. So films have impact upon the minds of viewers.

Cinema has truly played a major role in changing our society. Patriotic movies make us remember to love our nation. Good comedic movies have made people laugh to live a happy life and who doesn’t know Phurba Thinley in Bhutan who makes people laugh abruptly at his presence. Take an example of Thoepaka (movie based on Milarepa and his struggles to enlightenment), spiritual movies have change people’s mind to devote into religious acts. Gasa Lamai Singye, first Bhutanese film and any recent movies on love and it’s hardship in traditional Bhutanese society depicts the very nature of we Bhutanese and our opinions about love in our people. In our society there are many practices and traditions which are based on ignorance and which have withheld the progress of our society, for example drinking habit in eastern Bhutan, bossy kind of nature in western and caste system in south. Rigidity of caste system, untouchability and regionalization has 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 can be used as instruments to help people get rid of anonymity and also 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 film industry in Bhutan.

The films create 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 and documentaries. Lessons on drug abuse, 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 films. Many successful experiments have been made in various developed countries on the utility of films as a means of education and our country Bhutan is on its way, our education ministry in collaboration with Singapore and many other countries are trying their best to put it into practice. Let us take an example, for teaching Biology, anatomy part can be easily taught with the help of a video clip be it a high schools or a colleges. Feature films have been produced for school and college students and students of Bhutan are being benefited by them.

Films have greater advantages, but it also has much negative impact upon its audiences. As it is most influential the film makers try their best to provide good messages and morals to the spectators, but in the process of doing so it becomes mandatory that something unpleasant characters must be also given away. Communities do not conceive goodness without seeing bad, it is when the goodness is set back. Audiences tend to get attracted more towards negativity; they are more fascinated by the pessimism rather than optimism. People try to imitate the destructive side. Take an example, one chooses jeans and T-shirts rather than gho and kira, drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex and violence, bullying etc are certain impression of Bhutanese youths  just because some negative character in a movie is looking great with such get up and attitudes besides a movie is a movie and is trying to create awareness best possible.

Films have the power to influence the thoughts of the people. They have altered the society and social norms. They have introduced new fashions in society. 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 skillful 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. Short publicity films 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. 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 off track under the misleading influence of indecent pictures. Dirty, immoral and crime pictures very easily catch the imagination of gullible youth. Such films can be accused of producing wrongdoing. The films produced on the western trends or the films which try to preach 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 principle pictures related to Bhutanese society; they should rather produce good pictures of educative and reformative value for the sake of Bhutanese youths who are immensely into western films and its influence.

A good film is greater than any education and a bad film is more harmful than a poison.  A film has become a part of people’s life and has become a powerful means for culture, education, leisure and propaganda and agenda setting playing a vital role in shaping the state of the nation. Necessity of film industries and the production houses are gaining more popularity as a commercial firm, providing opportunities to many young Bhutanese talents. Most Bhutanese films do have optimistic effect upon the public; nevertheless we must also consider the negative influences that films bring upon our younger generation.

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