We need not make violence sexy: Mallika Sarabhai

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Violence in the mainstream cinema is depicted in such a manner that it looks sexy to children, so does the misrepresentation of “macho” heroism, said social activist and noted dancer Mallika Sarabhai.

Sarabhai has been addressing social issues using the medium of dance and theatre, and speaking at a conference here Thursday on “Arts and Media: Problem or Solution”, the 59-year-old said films like “Dabangg” are affecting the psychology of children.

“Banning or censoring is not going to work in our society. What we need is acknowledging problems and finding ways of addressing it,” she said.

“We need not make violence sexy through our films. Also the meaning of word ‘macho’ means someone who is rowdy and loud, and sensitive men are considered to be whining,” she added, saying Salman Khan‘s character in Hindi movie “Dabangg” has created a role model that is eroding the minds of children.

Echoing similar sentiments was Vandana Kohli, filmmaker and photographer, who said “role models are watched by millions and they cross the line of verbal etiquettes several times”.

“Bollywood should take responsibility for characters they are creating because they do affect the audience, especially children. As movies have the power to reach out to a larger audience, it leaves a lasting impression on the minds of people,” she said.

“Verbal violence is also overlooked in our society and it is the first barrier we need to overcome. We are not looking at the language children are using these days. This comes from the role models when an IPL match is watched by millions of Indians, and a cricketer uses abusive language, people think it is fine to use these abusive words,” she added.

According to Kohli, media-created “role models” are keenly watched and observed by their fans, and how they do or behave have a deeper psychological effect on people, especially children.

Recollecting how in several Bollywood movies, the hero confronts the girl in order to woo her, and press her against him and teases her, Kohli emphasised how this situation makes “eve teasing” a cool quotient.

“Mainstream cinema doesn’t understand the power it has. When you watch such a scene on the big screen with audio and visual medium lending their support, young boys buy these ideas,” she said.

“Many young boys still have no idea how to approach a woman. So these exaggerated, stereotypical ideas of romance and irrelevant love should have no place in our cinema,” she added.