Thamizh Talkies: When news is entertainment
The writer is a former journalist who has worked in the film industry for several years and is passionate about movies, music and everything related to entertainment
The recent statement from the Producers Guild of India fittingly addresses the new suggestion that the film industry is a bad place for young minds, and stresses on how far from the truth such an observation is. National news channels are drilling the idea of nepotism and competition and ‘industry camps’, following the unfortunate suicide of a young actor. It appears that media houses think the audiences have low IQ and will absorb what they see and hear to be the whole truth. When my sister, for instance, watches the 8 PM debates and 9 PM ‘breaking news’, I can see that she knows exactly which aspects of the news bulletin are make-believe and which ones are real.
As someone born into a family of ‘technicians’ but whose father had nothing to do with the film industry, you could say I was born with both opportunity and a lack of it. Ultimately, what matters is whether I have the talent/aptitude to become what I wish to be in the field of work I choose to be in. Let’s consider other places of work too. Is it easy to become a scientist? Or a lawyer or an engineer of repute? Let’s think of family-run companies. Is it easy for a meritorious mid-level manager to become the boss there? Why are we not talking about nepotism in other industries? While yes, it is wrong when opportunities are deprived, how many of us can honestly say we won’t give the first right of refusal to our kith and kin? Why is the media interested so little in problems of other industries - like IT sector where there are so many overworked, underpaid and heartbroken workers? Why do we enjoy the triumphant stories in films but prefer to buy the opposite in reality when media houses sell it to us?
The spotlight is a tricky playmate and its favourite game is hide-n-seek. A film’s graph is like a road trip that begins at one milestone and ends up reaching a whole new one. When the trip doesn’t go by the map, problems ensue. Promising actors end up with little screen time (70% of the film’s final shape takes place only in post-production) and scenes that were great during shooting end up getting edited out but it’s almost always for the larger good of the film. But herein lies the magic. All the uncertainty gives way to newer possibilities, but if we choose to look only at the initial route and compare it with the journey taken, the whole trip will seem like a wasted effort. Likewise, life is a chance we take, and opportunities within the film industry must be looked at similarly.
Artistes are sensitive people who can’t take no for an answer—but they are the same people whose voice is lent to express the predicament of the times we live in, whose voice documents life for the next generation. Audiences must encourage such an industry. It is key then for the media to desist from peddling sensational opinions as breaking news and shrink away from having anchors who seem to do outdo actors with their performances.
It’s time we also realised that an entire industry can’t be condemned as a result of a media circus that thrives on selling sensational stories to the voyeur in us. Nepotism is but a shard of glass… the mirror remains as a whole to show us that which we wish to see. More often, mainly on account of sensationalism, the exception is pushed to seem like the rule. It’s time we as a country understood that and refused to succumb to ‘influencers’ who act as judges of personal lives, with the only objective of vilifying an industry that provides us with enduring entertainment.