Speaking English language is becoming a craze among the educated in India. But cinema is a craze for all and sundry. The silver screen removes the difference between the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the sophisticated and the rustic. All roads lead to cinema houses at 3.00, 6.00 and 9.00 pm, sometimes at 10 in the morning and 12 in the noon too. It is the entertaining aspect that draws people to cinema houses in large numbers.

The greatest advantage of cinema to modern man is that it dilutes tensions and removes mental and physical tiredness. These three are the greatest curses of the modem society. Man wants to drown himself in the land of his fancy He wants to be away from the bare realities of life. Although it is not possible in real life, in his or her land of fancy he or she identifies himself or herself with Amitabh Bachchan or Sridevi. In his imagination he is a party to what his hero or heroine does. In real life he can’t.

Violence has engulfed the world and love is the only place of rescue. Both are most exaggeratedly shown on the cinema screen. The whole hall enjoys it without indulging in it. But many have the reflections in their own life. They try to copy both these aspects in their lives. They may be sometimes successful. At others they may be reduced to a beggar or a rascal frequently behind the bars.

The influence of cinema is very great. It has gradually been changing the conventional society into an ultra modem one. A father and a daughter and a son enjoy the same love scenes (which border sex) sitting together. They may even talk it over later on. It can hardly be said now that the cinema has an educative value. If it has it is only in the area of sex and violence.

The producers and directors sometimes take a fancy to a patriotic picture like ‘Shaheed’, a religious picture like ‘Shankaracharya’ or an art Movie like ‘Sparsh’ or ‘Ardha Satya’. But they are not box office hit. The producer goes back to the popular theme. Even a great artist like Nasiruddin Shah wants to go to commercial movies.

To say that cinema teaches people patriotism, morality, chastity, national integration or any other morals is just a wishful thinking. If they do it may be having only marginal one or two per cent. Art pictures of course have taken a lead of late. They at least impress upon the people the reality of life. Malayalam film Mukha-mukham, Prakash Jha’s Damul and Satyajit Ray’s Bengali picture ‘Ghare Bahre’ have given a turn to the silver screen. Let us hope better days of imaginative idealism in cinema.