The world you know is what you think it is, or the reality is entirely opposite to that? Is the world black & white, good and evil? The fact is there is nothing such as black & white, good & evil. We live in multiple shades of grey. So you see what the influencers want you to see, or to cut it short, they show the image of what they think and what they want.
Role of films & media in perception building
The perception about an individual is not only built by his good or bad deeds but how it is marketed, and by the same token, the perception and image of a society or a country are built. It is often said that “cinema is the mirror of a society.” But is it really the truth?
As written in the starting remarks, in real people see what the writers, directors and producers want them to see; the audiences only see the outcome of the filmmaker’s mind. It can be either for or against any institution or any section of society. But knowingly or unknowingly, their actions help to build or tarnish the image of that institution or a particular society, which also affects the country’s image as they are widely being followed by the people of our country and others.
In the majority of the Indian films and now a day’s electronic media & social media, the projection of the law enforcement agencies are displayed in a negative role though they are going to do good work and, on the other hand, glorifies the role of a villain even after performing all the illegal activities. Films like Vastav: The Reality, Once upon a Time in Mumbai, Raes and various other films have gloried the role of a villain even after being a culprit such that people not only starting admiring but also follows them. It also impacts the audiences’ minds that whatever they did was justified and society & the law enforcement agencies were only responsible for becoming a criminal. And there are some other movies and media people (social and electronic) that only target a particular section of society.
When the masses inside and outside the country watch the amalgamation of all the above, it creates a perception about society, which not only affects the thinking of our own people but also tarnish the country’s image. In this digitalized world, films are only not the carrier of perception builder but the combination of all digital platforms, starting from electronic media to social media & Bollywood to O.T.T. platform and various print media and institutions that have their presence in the online world.
Digital platform in the West
How will the outer world get to know who we are, what we are? The Western world, especially the global superpower U.S.A., understood this question way back about the game of perception and narrative building in the mid-1900s. They started investing billions in their entertainment field from that era onwards so that the world should only see what they want. In their films & other means of mass media communication have glorified their institution and society in such a way that no one is better than them, even they might have failed multiple times in reality.
A perfect recent example is the coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even with the death ratio being the highest, media houses of the U.S.A. and European countries projected how well they managed the situation and how India failed in doing so. In fact, our own media houses and some political parties played their game and helped to create a negative perception and narrative.
What India can do?
As it is said in Bhagavad Gita, “Change is the only constant thing” the world has changed, and it’s high time India should change accordingly. India has always been neutral in almost every field, but in the new world, it should play the games what the western world and China, for that matter, have been playing for decades and with its own set of rules.
- It should start investing in the digital platform which works globally.
- Create a separate I.T. cell for creating a global narrative.
- Bollywood and other entertainment industries should project India, its institutions and Indian ethos positively.
- Focus more on education, and it should not be only upto the primary and secondary level.
- Invest more in R&D projects and hire best out of best from around the world and also work towards decreasing the brain drain issue.
However, it would be unfair to say that India isn’t doing anything. Recently New Delhi announced that it would create a global news channel which will be named D.D. International. But to match the level of its competitor, it has to do a lot to come at par with them.
The road to becoming a superpower has got numerous hindrances, and if India has to fulfil its dream of becoming a global superpower, then it has to act like one.