Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flawed Idols?

A lot has been said in the print and TV media about the face off between Amitabh Bachan and the Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss.

Amitabh Bachan apparently lashed out at the minister for asking actors to not act in scenes portraying actors drinking or smoking. 'Ask your goverment servants to stop drinking before you ask us'. he is supposed to have told the minister.

Now let me make it very clear at the outset that I do not have a lot of respect for politicians. However, on this instance, I beg to differ with Mr.Bachan, however sacrilegious the rest of the nation might think it. Alcohol and smoking are bad for everyone, period. It does not matter whether one is a government servant or a matinee idol. However, what one has to take in mind is the effect that a 'star' drinking on the scene will have versus some pot-bellied government servant drinking away in the privacy of his own home.

If the said government servant is a certified alcoholic, will his family suffer? Of course it will. But what happens when millions of impressionable young minds when they see their demi gods drinking on screen and making it look as though its the coolest thing to do and not drinking is only for frumps?

There has been a report that the average drinking age has come down from 29 to 19 in the last decade. And it further hints that it may drop to as young as 15. The idea horrifies me.

Now some people may be wondering why suddenly a harmless mommy blog has morphed into this preachy, issue-discussing kind of place. Well, I will be the first one to admit that mine is a small world. I do not hob-nob with the biggies and the decisions I take impact no further than my front door. However, my concern for this issue started because I read this and wondered if our idols have even an inkling of the kind of impact that they have on people and the responsibility that should come with it.

I wish that I need'nt allow my world to be infringed by film stars but I cannot help it. The hubby and I both enjoy watching movies though we hardly watch television. Kuttan has obviously inherited the love of movies from us. It is very difficult for me to explain to a 3 year old what 'juice' uncle is drinking. My dad smokes and it hardly causes a ripple in my son's mind. However, if Shahrukh does it, it is watched with rapt attention and stored away somewhere in the depths of his young, impressionable mind.

All I ask for is a little social responsibility from the 'superstars'.After all, there are'nt too many movies they can make in a cancer-stricken nation now, can they?


~nm said...

I have always believed in the funda of "Excess of everything is bad!"

So whether its government servant drinking or a star, tis the same. But yes as you aptly said, there is a certain category of people who look upto these so called demi-gods!

But then if we start showing only the goody part in the movies, will they be interseting anymore? How are you doing to distinguish between the good and the bad? I wonder..

BangaloreMom said...

~nm: Absolutely right!! Alcohol and smoking are harmful, period. My point is that young people are a lot more likely to be influenced by what they see on screen as being done by their idols.

And I am not saying show only the goody part..I am saying dont portray scenes as though drinking and smoking are cool things to do. They're not. And if the villain does it, its like sending a message, dont do it. But these people are the 'heroes' what kind of message does this send?

AarKay said...

Boy why this sudden preachy tone ?!! Can understand though that the pressure of bringing up kiddo in this ever changing hypocrytical world is getting to you :-)...but chill it ! I am sure Kuttan will inherit all the right values from his parents.As for film heroes,well...what can I say there are only varying shades of grey in them nowadays.....nothing catering to our "karnatakam" expectations.

Srikanth said...

Excellent article once again,Though there is another thing that I wish to bring to your attention...Rating..Now having been living outside, I personally believe that whatever kids watch here has been strictly rated, be it television programme's or cinemas and hence mothers do have a peace of mind when ever they take their bubba's out.
Unfortunately I can't say the same thing about our television/movie ratings in India. Maybe they do exist, but I would be surprised if they were strictly adhered to.I totally agree with the points that you have mentioned and I would probably say that Mr Bachchan shouldn't have taken on a politician who's no where his class.I haven't watched a Hindi film after Swades and when ever I see a new Hindi film trailer, I kind of think we are changing at a faster pace than we can handle and that is going to create a few problems.


BangaloreMom said...

Aarkay: Not preachy at all :D. Motherhood makes you a very responsible citizen once you realize that even the small things that you would'nt normally even notice can affect your child. And then you become a ready to take on the mighty Goliaths..

Srikanth: Thanks a lot. I was very touched to read your comment. :) Glad to know I have been able to add a bit of perspective to someone.

Swati said...

I think showing bad people doing bad things should be okay a villian drinking. But showing that the hero , who is a kind good hearted person drinking when he is sad /upset is bad. That way we tell people , its okay to drink when you are sad.

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