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Films As A Form Of Mass Media Media Essay

5255 words (21 pages) Essay in Media

5/12/16 Media Reference this

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When was the last time we spent without media. From the time we get up till we go to bed some form of media is being a part of us. One of the very early and important aspects of communication began with the research in mass media and its influence on public. Such kind of researches began in late nineteenth century and 20th century. The Birmingham center undertook cultural studies analysis on audience. They propagated the idea that the socio-economic life-situation of the audience, their education, class, caste, gender, ethnic and language position had to serve as environment to understand the meaning they make of the media products. In the 1990’s Straut Hall redefined the “Media Product function” in terms of its being a structure of dominance in culture. Today’s society is one that is shaped and molded by the mass media. Basically, culture is nothing more than a product of the mass media.

However there was significant change in this field of cultural studies in the year 1980s to 1990s, which dealt with the complication of the model of culture as a site of hegemonic contestation between the dominant and the subordinate group. The theories related to culture and communication have depicted how the locations of distinct social groups affects their communication with the hierarchy of location (of the social group) been categorized on the basis of color, class, genders and sexual orientation. This led to the study of these minority groups differently. The revolution and upheaval in the sixties and seventies included a vibrant sexual revolution aided by the feminist movement. It was one of the turning points for the study of queer theory and culture. This change in the cultural studies in general and homosexuality in particular came with the emergence of radical interpretation of queer theory which originated from gay and lesbian studies as a post-modern interpretation of homosexuality. Prior to the coining of the term queer theory, the study of deviant sexuality was called as “gay and lesbian studies”.

1.1 MASS MEDIA

Mass media is a form of media which is addressed for large audiences (masses). It can be any form of media, broadcast such as television or radio, films, print media such as newspapers, magazines, pamphlets etc. In today’s generation internet media can also be considered as mass media because most these existing Medias use internet media to have an advantage of the available medium in many regions of the world. This medium can be termed as the interactive media. “To understand mass media first and important step is to understand communication”. (Biagi, 1992)

Communication is defined as an act of sending or receiving or understanding messages or meaning when delivered from one person to another. When communication is defined in relevance to mass media it can be called as a centralized form of communication. “Wallace.C.Fortheringham – A process of involving the selection, production, and transmission of signs in such a way as to help a receiver perceive a meaning similar to that in the mind of the communicator”. (Andal.N, 1998)

Communication through mass media is known as mass communication. Mass communication means using a form of mass media to deliver messages immediately to a large group of people. Mass media today has become one of the popular media as it focuses on the prominent stories which will be of interest to the general public audiences. It is a huge industry as many people all over the world rely on it for some purpose or the other. Mass media today has become one of the most critical parts of human societies. Understanding mass media usually is a process of understanding a population and its culture. These are the tools of large scale manufactures and the distribution of information and related messages. “Medium is the message.” (Marshall, 1964). This means that mass media are technologies but they are also messages. Today’s modern mass media have several functions similar to those fulfilled by the traditional media in some ancient societies.

Western modern theorist such as Denis McQuail identified the three major functions of a mass media that is 1) surveivallance of environment 2) interpretation of the information and 3) transmission of heritage. But in today’s generation mass media’s major functions are information, entertainment, advertising and development. (Dennis, 1998)

Though these may be the functions of mass media it does not necessarily mean that audience will perceive mass media for the same reasons. In the book The Play Theory of Mass Communication, William Stephenson argues that fun is both the greatest impact and also the public service of the mass media. So for few mass media might be for time-fillers, for some to fulfill their psychological and social needs, few for information and entertainment. This means that people will perceive media the way they want and according to their likes.

Mass media in India has been a major aspect of the society. It’s here that media is not consumed for one particular purpose but it is consumed for all, such as information, television, controversies, news, gossips, and chats, psychological or any other. Indian mass media industry has very well understood the societies mind set and they accordingly produce the media products. It’s only here where the traditional forms of communication still exist and it also considered being a mass media, example: Folk media.

1.2 EFFECTS OF MASS MEDIA

Media effects mean different things to different people, for example for a psychologist effects will mean psychological, for a socialist it will be social so in this way effects differs from person to person. Effects can be classified in various types and gradations as short-term, long-term or deep, profound or superficial.

“Whoever says the first word to the world is always right said Joseph Goebbels, a mass communication practitioner of odious capability.” (Klapper, 1960) . Mass communication is highly effective in creating attitudes on newly arisen or newly evoked issues and that the point of view first expressed will prevail over later persuasive communication in the country. Media effects have been debated and researched for decades together. The mass media has become such an important aspect and an everyday part of the society that many fail to realize the immense impact created by it on the society, aspects such as political, economic and cultural.

Mass media today make peoples mind more stereotype and ideological. They do not let people have their own perception about the world rather they make public perceive what they think. For example the transgender. Media’s portrayal of transgender has always been comical, tragic or untouchables due to which the society also disagrees to accept them as a part of them. This concept is called as the agenda setting. Media creates an agenda and puts its straight into the public’s head and does not allow them to rethink over any of the information provided by it. The work by Harold Lasswell “World Outside and the Picture Inside” which was the reason for the emerge of the theory agenda setting also says; what public has in mind is totally different from the actual aspects. Walter Lippmann and Boas research on media says that media was biased and subjective and not objective. But at the same time media has positive effects on the societies also. Its only because of mass media the world has come closer and international and national information are reaching every region of the world.

Media effects are in two ways 1) the individual effects and the societal effects. Today people spend more time in interacting with mass media. “Of the approximately 40 hours per week of free time available to average person, 15 hours or 38 percent are spent watching television said Robinson and Goodbey 1997:126.” (Ryan & Wentworth, 1999). This is more time when compared to the other hobbies or outdoor activities of a human being in their free time. Because people spend much of the time with mass media there evolves an emotional involvement and those are often coined to be negative. As these individual effects are difficult to show empirically. In this same way are the societal effects, where media impact is straight on the society itself and our social world. But these societal effects are easier to see than the individual effects.

Media effects can be both positive and negative effects. Media plays a major role in changing the public opinions because they have major access to people and this eventually gives a lot of strength to media. This strength can either be used in a positive way as in educating people or in an unconstructive way by misleading the innocent people. Media has the power to transform the whole society especially in developing countries it can become a “weapon of mass destruction”. For example : 26/11 Bombay attack media played both positive role in informing the society about second to second happenings of the attack at the same time media also played a role of creating confusion for the government and helping the terrorist with information. “Media men have access to people and they have an audience.”

1.3 FILMS AS A FORM OF MASS MEDIA

“The motion picture today is the greatest medium of expression the world has ever known. [It is] capable of giving life and form to all ideas, practical and emotional …Its only limitation [is] human ingenuity-said by John.F.Kennedy, A.S.C, 1930”. (Sanders & Norris, 2001). John.F.Kennedy was an inventor and an American cinematographer.

Another footprint in the sand of communication is after the invention of films. Cinema or film a form of Mass Media has become a powerful tool since the day it was introduced to the world. Cinematographic derived from the Greek word meaning movement and writing was invented by the Lumeire Brothers. In 1929, “The Lights of Newyork” the first talking film was screened. Cinema came to India in 1986, when the film “Pundalik” directed by R.G.Torney and N.C.Chitra was released in 18th may. The film industry has grown rapidly for the past years and has brought about a lot of changes in the society.

“Film Communication a process of transferring meanings or information’s trough visual receptors”. It is a man who creates this form of communication.” There exists a cognitive relationship between a filmmaker and a viewer. Cinema is perhaps the mainstreams of all art forms and most accessed and most preferred especially in India. Therefore, it is very important to understand how the country, its people and its aspirations are represented in the cinema. Cinemas can be a form of art, entertainment, social document or critique.

Film is a reflection of society for both the present and the past. Film and its innovation sometimes have to catch up to society but sometimes it leads the society and culture too.

Lot of studies have been made on the impact of films on the societies culture but however there were a significant changes in the field of cultural studies in the 1980s and the 1990s which dealt with the complications of the model of culture as a site of hegemonic contestation between dominant and the subordinate groups.

In today’s system of movie making each of the six major studios makes less than 20 movies per year. The rest comes from individual producers, investment, distributors, exhibition each handled by different companies. Most of these independent movies are distributed by the six studios.

Film as one such form of mass media has a great impact on the societies in many ways. Film industry is one of the most expensive and discovering industry in mass media. In true sense it is a dream industry.

Today movies are created by one group, funded by the second group, sold by the third group and shows by the fourth group. The first group is producers, directors, second group are investors, third are distributors and the final group the exhibitors.

Today’s generation films have handled a lot of controversial topic has a main plot in this movies. Topics such as religion, terror attacks, transgender, homosexuality, child labor, poverty etc. Movies have actually brought to the world an idea about all the above through their stories and concepts. But at the same time they idealize or generalize few things for the profit sake and public believes it and it finally becomes a stereotype process.

This majorly happens in Indian cinemas as most of the stories relate to the audience, if not the story at least segment of it will. Indian movies have a better impact on the audience compared to other movies because it is only in this country people go to the theatre as a practice, habit , sometimes even for information.

1.4 A BRIEF HISTORY OF INDIAN CINEMA (quote)

The first and the foremost Indian film show occurred in1896 in July 7th just few months after the Lumiere brothers introduced the art of cinematography in 1895 in Paris. Western Film makers started to take movies such as Fair (1897), Our Indian empire (1897), A Panaroma of Indian Scenes and Procession (1898), and Poona Races ’98’ (1898), by using India’s exotic culture and its scenery. The first Indian film made by an Indian was Wrestlers by Harischandra S.Bhatyaddekhar in 1899.Harischandra S.Bhatyadekhar is also popularly known as Sava Dada.

In 1905 the Elphinstone Bioscope company was established by J.F.Madan, who mainly the first businessman who first envisaged the business opportunity in the Indian film industry. Elphinstone Bioscope Company showed mainly western movies.

The first Indian feature film , Pundalik was made in 1912 as a result of growing demand from the audience to see Indian characters on screen. But it was shot by English man and it never really received the acclaim of being an independent feature film.

In 1931 the first Indian talkie was made “Alam Ara which was a costumed drama of fantasy and songs and was a big success. Soon after this music and fantasy was seen as a vital element of filmic experience. For example: In 1932 Indrasabha has about 70 songs. This was the era when music became a vital part of the industry.

Then fascination for social themes aroused and also interplay of tradition with modernization was included in the film making process.by the time of 1940s cinematography played a major role in Indian movies and was a great deal of westernization in the Indian popular cinema along with other features such as dance , fantasy etc. It was during this time that India was going through an economic and cultural changes and religion played a major role in the movies as well as the country. It was this time when directors and actors such like Bimal Roy, Raj Kapooe, Guru Dutt, V Santaram, Mehaboob Khan became popular in both India as well as abroad.

The popular cinema art established a form of art , entertainment and industry in 1950s.It was during this period movies such as Awara (The Vagabond, 1951), Pyaasa (Thrist,1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (Paper Flower, 1959), Shree 420 (Mr., 420, 1955), Mother India (1957), The Apu Trilogy by Sathyajit Ray consisting of Pather Panchali (Song of Road,1955), Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956) and Apu Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959) came out.

In 1960, the Film Finance Corporation, which was later formed as National Film Development Corporation, for Financing and exporting films was established and by 1961 Film Institute of Pune was started. By 1985 Indian cinema became totally commercialized and few of those movies are Aradhana (1969), Bobby (1973) and Sholay (1975).While movies of 70s seen a lot of politics and social trends movies of 80s saw a violence in the cinema.

By the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th love, affection, passion became a major portion of the cinema and most of the movies were around this plot. Movies such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) , Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge ( 1995 ) , Dil to Pagal hai (1997). Today Indian cinema has become more modernized and advanced in technology and with the script and the plot.

1.5 BOLLYWOOD CINEMA

Cinema, one Indian film critic has summarized as “temples of India” (Gupta, 1981) .They are designed to seduce monumental spaces, gleam with light and color, vestibules are plastered with posters of gods and goddess and red carpet Exide desire and wantonness. Devotees come in huge number to take worship, “to take darshan” at the shrine of the new image, the oneiric image that will create their new gods and even new images.

The growth of Indian cinema is obvious from its statistics: 800 films per year shown in more than thirteen thousand urban cinemas, viewed by about 11 million people every day and exported to about 100 countries. Between 1913 and 1981 more than 15 thousand movies were produced in India. Dadasaheb produced the first Indian film “Raja Harishchand”.In 1983 it was India’s sixth largest industry , grossing around 600$ annually and employees around 300 thousand workers. The first ever movie to be screened in India was in Watsons Hotel in Bombay on the 7th of July 1986.

Cinema remains the cultural dominant of India, its “sole model of national unity”. (Chakravathy, 1993).The structure of the film is therefore designed in to accommodate deep fantasies belonging to extraordinary varied group of people, from illiterate workers to sophisticated urbanities.

India is a large country with almost 180 official languages. Films are made in almost 30 of the official languages but among them few are very famous and commercialized. Those languages are Hindi, Tami, Malayalam, Kanada, Bengali; Telugu. This is a great deal of mobility in the Indian film industry. Having established their talent in the regional industry many have travelled and worked in both national as well as international industries, For example: A.R.Rahaman. This industry has spawned countless fan magazines consumed by an ever-widening community of national and diaspora readers. Even in the flourishing are of television, both local and cable, the impact of cinema is present everywhere.

Indian cinema nursed a feeling of not being up to the standards of European or Hollywood cinema, not really “world class”. But with the international recognition of Sathyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali” in Venice (1956) a sense of liberation aroused leaving aside the feeling of inferiority. Moreover since the movie hailed not only as good film but as great Indian film, Indian cinema became aware of the Indian’s.

Among all the above Bollywood industries performance is on the top and it’s have more percentage of audience compared to others regional languages. Bollywood has its reach all over the country because majority of the people know Hindi in the country.

In the context of Indian commercial cinemas basically Hindi cinemas or Bombay cinemas is the largest player. Bombay cinemas have seen to transcended class and also linguistic difference by emphatically stressing and “Myths on Indian social survive in spite of the changes.” (Raina, 1986). Bollywood fame at the moment is not limited only in South Asia but is also spread far across the ocean. Besides Asia, Bollywood movies are released in east Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Britain, Canada, Australia, the United States and the other countries.

People in the east as well as in the west recognize the Bollywood faces like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai. The dominance of Bollywood stars in the advertising world indicates the popularity of Bollywood. In previous days, Bollywood was famous for its music and dancing, but these days it is famous for the good and sensitive movies. Many Bollywood movies have explored various social issues such as child marriage, polygamy, dowry system, castes and terrorism.

1.6 HOMOSEXUALS

Homosexuals or homosexuality is a romantic or sexual attraction between members of the same gender or sex. It is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation along with the bisexual and heterosexuality. Scientific and medical understanding is that sexual orientation is not only the choice but also due to complex interplay of the biological and environmental factors. Today there are many who still holds the fact that homosexuality is unnatural or dysfunctional, many research has shown that homosexuality is an example of normal variation in human sexuality and not a source of psychological effects.

The most common terms for homosexuals are lesbians and gays. Lesbians are mentioned for females and gays for males though gay is also used to refer generally to both homosexual’s males and females sometimes. These relationships are equivalent to heterosexuals in the same essential psychological respects. Since the movement of the 19th century, there has been a movement towards increased visibility recognition ad legal rights for homosexual people including the rights to marriage and civil unions and parenting, employment, and the introduction to the anti-bullying legislation to protect LGBT minors.

LGBT a community in help for the minorities. LGBT expansion is lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and transgender. In use since 1990 the term LGBT is an adaptation of LGB which was a phrase replacing the gay community in late 1980s.This LGBT has become a main stream and has been adopted by many of the English speaking countries? LGBT is generally used to refer the non-heterosexual people or cisgender instead of exclusively to homosexual, lesbians and transgender.

The stereotype images about lesbians, gays, and the LGBT people are conventional, generalizations or the opinion created through images or Media’s portrayal. A negative stereotype is often a result of homophobia where as positive stereotype also exists but they might still be harmful or hurtful.

Kinsey’s colleague and biographer, Wardell Pomeroy reports that : By the end of 1940 he had recorded more than 450 homosexual histories, enough to convince him that the psychologists were making matters worse by starting with the assumption that homosexuality was an inherited abnormality which could not be cured simply because it was inherent. Kinsey was convinced that there was absolutely no evidence of inheritance.” (Pomeroy, 1972)

Two theories are related to homosexuality. As in what causes the basic homosexuality attraction. First is that it is oriented by biological and genetic factors to put it in simple term they are born gays or lesbians. The other theory is that they are oriented due to social or environmental factors. In the public sphere later theory has appeared to be in decline and the former gaining favor in the recent decades.

American Psychiatric Association, according to them until 1974 homosexuality was a mental illness. Freud had in fact mentioned about homosexuality several times in his writings and he has also concluded that homosexuality and paranoia are inseparable. And since many psychiatrists wrote copiously on the subject, it was treated on a wide basis. Homosexuals have not received proper treatment from the society before and now also. They have been abused in many ways including physical abuse. “Hostility and discrimination against homosexual individuals are well-established facts.” (Beril, 1990). In fact, more than 90% of gay men and lesbians report being targets of verbal abuse or threats, and more than one-third report being survivors of violence related to their homosexuality.

1.7 MEDIAS POTRAYAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY

“There are a variety of ways that the media affects and tracks the attitudes that the public has toward homosexuals.” (Anderson, Fakhfakh, & Kondylis, 1999). Media portrayal of homosexuality people ranges from both positive to negative aspects. The gay community is battling with the negative image and is trying its level best to overcome the stereotypes the television, films and other media have created. Because LGBT people look alike and just like anyone else the media often adds images to make the gay community visible as a difference in skin color, behavior, attitude, habits etc. In many form of entertainment gay are portrayed as promiscuous, flashy and incredibly bold. In recent day there is a huge wide spread views that gays should be omitted from child entertainment which invariably creates controversies.

The people in the media were criticizing homosexuals as if there are no homosexual partnerships that exist with simply two people who love each other as in a heterosexual relationship. Most of the homosexual relationships are open and honest it is just that media does not focus on them as they are catering their interest in increasing homophobia by their representation of homosexuals in the news they air , television or films. “When homosexuals are portrayed on network television they are usually presented in a negative stereotypical way.” (Wood, 1996).However some form of representation of homosexuality which is immediate and economical is required in order to show the exact gayness to the audience. It is often not very practical to portray characters sexuality through narrative or any other form so media starts to rely on the typification. Gay typification makes people visible to the viewer and keeps the homosexuality if the character present throughout the text or the content. So which are clearly both advantages and disadvantages to this form of typification.

1.8 HOMOSEXUALITY IN BOLLYWOOD MOVIES

With all of the current media coverage homosexuals are receiving it should come as no surprise that more and more gay characters and gay-themed movies are emerging from Bollywood. These characters and movies often tend to fully personify the Homosexual stereotypes that exist in our society today. Many gay-themed movies have made their way into the lime-light and gay characters are popping up in dozens of mainstream movies. By looking closely at these movies and characters we can see the different messages Bollywood is now sending out about gays. Though homosexual stereotypes are emerging in the movie industry, the stereotypes being generated are extremely different from one another. The gay-themed movies often create one picture of homosexuals, while mainstream movies tend to paint an entirely different picture. Gays are portrayed in perceivably negative ways in some movies and in others their characteristics are emphasized in a positive light and in few in a comical way.

Mainstream movies, nowadays, often include minor characters that are gay. With the addition of so many minor, gay characters, endless stereotypes abound in these mainstream movies. Unfortunately, mainstream movies often focus on the negative stereotypes that have already been generated by society, thereby furthering the impact they have on people’s views towards gays. The movies focus on surface-level aspects of homosexuals like the way they act, look, and talk. Most often the movies don’t delve into the deeper sides of these characters, thereby sending the message that gays are one dimensional. One strong example of stereotypes in mainstream movie is Dostana.

With all the conflicting stereotypes of gays in movies today, it is extremely important that people step back and look at the big picture. They should view some of the lesser-known gay-themed movies so they are presented with a more real look at homosexuals. Too often people try to peg homosexuals as definitively acting one way or another, and if we only view movies that perpetuate stereotypes than our personal ideas of homosexual behavior will most likely remain. Instead, it is important for people to understand that, outside of who they sleep with; gays are no different from everyone else.

The movies selected are Dostana, Fire, Dono Y and Girlfriend. All the above four movies deal with the concept of homosexuality in the main plot. All the four movies are well known and have got its own reach among the public.

Dostana :

1.9 PERCEPTION `

Perception is many things to us. It is the present, from which the memories of the past and thoughts of the future are created by the brain. It is our reality. People behavior and judgment is based on their perception. They interpret what they see and call it reality. Our perception is an approximation of reality. Our brain attempts to make sense out of the stimuli to which we are exposed.

There are five stage processes in the formation of perception:

Perception: Sensing Process

Perception happens in one or some of the five ways below:

Through something seen

Through something heard

Through something smelled

Through something felt by skin

Through something tasted.

There is an abundance of stimulation hitting our senses in every moment hence some stimulation is filtered out in this state. Then, the stimulation are preserved for which we so our conscious awareness.

Perception : Integration

The second stage is the integration process which there is a comparison between the filtered in and filtered out data. This comparison largely depends on the area where an individual provides more attention. Thus the stimulus which we focus becomes the ‘attended stimuli’. At first, the attended stimuli are turned into images on the retina and later they are transformed into electrical signals that are transferred through the brain.

Perception : Analysis

This stage, an individual is aware of the environmental stimuli. Thus, they start analyzing and interpreting the perceived objects in order to provide meaning and context to the perceived stimuli. The analysis of the stimuli which an individual has perceived depends on many factors like that of past experiences, feelings, emotions, values, memories, cultural belief sets. The level and the degree of these influences are different for every individual. One same object can be perceived in different manners by different people. For this reason, perception is not called to be real.

Perception : Reaction

The process of integration and analysis finally leads to the decision making process and that’s the time when action needs to be carried out. At the starting level, the decision is to act or not is solely dependent on motivation. Though, an individual feels at some instance that he/she is left with no option but there is always a set of alternatives from which an individual can choose. The meanings which are provided to be perceived stimulus will shape individuals choices and actions.

Perception : Decision Making

All decisions of human beings are based on the instinct of self-preservation. Every individual tries to maximize their chances of survival and preservation. This common instinct of motivation ends the similarity among individuals and we are hence different among each other from our thoughts, behavior and perception. When individuals express their individuality through their choices they move forward to achieve the goal of self-perception.

The two factors affecting individual’s perceptions are the internal and the external factors.

Internal Factors

The internal factors are related to the state of an individual. The internal factor is how the individual behaves for a situation on the basis of his/her mindset, emotions and understanding of the situation. Internal factors also include previous experience and the psychological factor also. An individual learns from the past experiences and moreover the perception is built many a times due to the past experiences. The psychological factor contains the emotions, feeling, behavior, motivation. Individual mindset is a mixer of emotions and hence at many times people tends to show mixed emotions which also affects the perception.

External Factors

It concerns with the people and the environment with whom an individual grows and survives. It also includes family, peer group friends, cultural group, etc. These peopl

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