Movies are a rollercoaster ride that have the tremendous power to entertain and to teach. They can be a powerful tool to bring about effective social change. A well-made film – especially one with a compelling narrative and a well-crafted outreach plan – can serve as a catalyst to change minds, encourage viewers to change entrenched behaviors, and start or reenergize social movements.
Although it can be surprisingly difficult to make a firm connection between the power of a film and social change (considering that films are seen as a form of entertainment), not all films need to be drivers of social change. Some only aim to entertain and share a compelling story.
Having said that, here are the three top reasons why making socially relevant films is the need of the hour.
By virtue of their interactive nature and arousing content, movies are influencing our values and expectation of reality, regardless of our willingness to be influenced. For eg, with Toilet-Ek Prem Katha, a seemingly rural problem was out and open for a national audience. A big percentage of this audience may have not even imagined how big this issue was unless it was presented in the form of a much-appreciated movie. Although the learning was unintentional, it pulled the right chords and the cause gained eyeballs.
Sometimes, it is difficult to explain the extent of a problem that exists in a society. In such cases, just getting the audience to watch the film to understand the issue is sufficient. A film’s promotion and outreach activities play an important role in not only increasing the size of the audience and sales, but also using these films as vehicles of social change. For eg, with the level of promotions surrounding Padman, urban people all over India were shocked at how certain taboos continue till date in unknown rural areas of the country. The awareness about menstruation and usage of sanitary napkins was sensitively spread through the film.
Reach a Wider Audience
Through mainstream films, the makers can reach a wider base of audience and adding a little entertainment never hurts. Teenagers and working professionals may or may not be too keen on reading about the problems that plague the world but if there is a movie around it, they will undoubtedly watch it and recall it too. Additionally, films are very capable of generating more emotions than just another block of text. Udta Punjab was a such a movie that highlighted the drug issue in Punjab while riding high on the emotional front.
While more and more movies are being made on socially relevant lines, it is interesting to note how many issues are truly changing the society. The recently released Batti Gul Meter Chalu starring Shahid Kapoor, Yami Gautam, and Shraddha Kapoor revolves around electricity issues in rural India. With an interesting court case and some never-seen-before avatars of the lead cast, this movie by the makers of Toilet-Ek Prem Katha is indeed a power play! You should watch it to watch how power loses and yet wins in the face of an adamant heart. Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a fight that helps a worrying cause find its spine and its heart both.
Enjoy the trailer below and book your tickets right away!
Read the entire review of Batti Gul Meter Chalu here.