Reel or real? The absence of authentic art | Feminism and Humanity

Since it’s inception, the medium of cinema has been a major source of entertainment. In this new age where we have e-cigarettes and where you can monitor your friend’s Uber ride, cinema medium is at the top of the list of entities who have the biggest influence and effect on us. To whichever extent technology has devoured our daily lives, the medium of cinema is breaking that fourth wall and touching our common lives, to an extent beyond. Reel life and real life has become so similar that they are almost like identical twins – we are not able to differentiate whether certain activities that people do are part of their reel life or real life.

We have observed recently a huge rise in discussions on topics like women empowerment, feminism, humanity and so on. The question is very simple: are we aware of the real meanings of these words and concepts, or are we only following its “reel” meanings. Recent movies like Pink (Hindi), Queen (Malayalam), Uyare (Malayalam) have all taken up and repeatedly utilised the market value of the “reel” concept of feminism, where a woman or a group of women is attacked or wronged by the society and the victimised woman thinks for herself only after she is attacked or wronged. Is this really feminism or empowerment? Who is an empowered woman? She who cannot protect herself and prevent being attacked or she who gets attacked first, becomes the damsel in distress, and then a man gives her moral support to kill the person who wronged her.


Feminism is not a right given to women to inflict harm on men, on purpose. Feminism is bigger than that. It is that state of mind and body where human beings accept each other and are tolerant to each other’s personal space. The concept of personal space and empowerment is closely related. Along with teaching your boys how to behave to a girl and how “not to be a girl and cry for silly things”, teach our children to accept people as humans (without the dichotomy of gender or sex). Man and woman are different only in our physique. We share the same space and sometimes even perceive the world with the same eyes. The most basic thing, is to do away with differentiations based on gender.

Our society is a very weird place which has two extremely different sets of morals and beliefs for men and women. We have all been conditioned to believe that certain things are privileges and prerequisites of men – things only men are supposed to or rather allowed to do. Therefore, the idea of feminism that we see on the reels have absolutely no relation to the actual concept of it.

As for humanity, why is this simple concept being celebrated repeatedly in our movies? I have observed in certain movies, scenes portraying humanity is used as a commercial element, without any relevance or requirement of such a scene. Humanity and feminism has become two marketable products as far as cinema industry is concerned.

What is our cinema celebrating, is it humanity or violence?

A very recent theatrical experience was the film Porinju Mariam Jose (Malayalam). Being a movie attracting a large number of audience, the movie has been perceived on paradoxes. The biggest paradox are the protagonists who are at one moment, flag-bearers of humanity, and the very next moment, is seen engaging in violence and murder. The contradiction is this – what is our cinema celebrating, is it humanity or violence?

Why should our censor board add titles like smoking is injurious to health while our movies showcase scenes of smoking and alcohol consumption as heroic, mass actions? What is the point of the title “violence against women is an offence” and then show scenes of the same violence, the very next moment? There is quite a lot of self contradictory instances in our new age art. I am aware that there is a freedom of speech and expression existing in our country, but why this makeshift work, why can’t we have art that is genuine.

What we need now is a genuine story with characters and moments as genuine as our lives, because we tend to enjoy any art, when we are able to empathise with its protagonist, when we feel their story is ours too, and we are also heroes.

Views and opinions expressed here are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of plumeria movies

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About the Author

Anjali Chakkoth
A traveller at heart, writing is my art. Love is my God and this world is my home. Music is the drug and Cinema is the flame.

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