Spice of Life: Look for art that makes you better, not bitter - Hindustan Times
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Spice of Life: Look for art that makes you better, not bitter

ByNazam Riar
Apr 12, 2024 05:46 AM IST

Recently, a couple of Bollywood movies that I watched left me with a string of ‘Whys’ -- Why are most people no longer interested in reading philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Aristotle, Plato, Chanakya, or Confucius? Why are they more interested in Netflix, ‘Kabir Singh’ or ‘Animal’?

Art is not art if it does not stimulate an emotion within you. But sometimes it is created in a vulgar manner to grab eyeballs and look provocative enough to evoke emotions that we might be ashamed of.

Why does a ‘Sam Bahadur’ fail whereas an ‘Animal’ is breaking all records?, asks Nazam Riar. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Why does a ‘Sam Bahadur’ fail whereas an ‘Animal’ is breaking all records?, asks Nazam Riar. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Recently, a couple of Bollywood movies that I watched left me with a string of ‘Whys’ -- Why are most people no longer interested in reading philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Aristotle, Plato, Chanakya, or Confucius? Why are they more interested in Netflix, ‘Kabir Singh’ or ‘Animal’? Agreed that the artistic creations are supposed to stimulate our senses but do they need to awaken some sleeping monster in us? Leo Tolstoy believed ‘Art must destroy violence, only art can do that.’

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Are we a society which has turned distorted or are we living in dystopia that we seek pleasures rather than a purpose out of life? Maybe this has been said by every generation about their succeeding generation. It could just a difference of opinion between a millennial (me) and a GenZ. But is there no social responsibility that the artists, actors and writers owe to the audience? Have we become a society that is aware only of its rights and not its duties?

It brings me to my next big question: “Are we even humans any longer or have we become creatures driven by instant gratification, money, sex and violence? Why does a ‘Sam Bahadur’ fail whereas an ‘Animal’ is breaking all records? In this era of 24x7 connectivity there is so much information overload that we don’t think rationally or make informed choices about what we consume. Thus, we end up blindly following trends without realising its consequences. We succumb to the allure of sensationalism and consume explicit content to indulge our senses even if it comes with the price of creating narcissist, pseudo alpha males, sociopaths and a generation that doesn’t care. Without mindful watching we are heading towards self-destruction because if such content is freely created, consumed and accepted, it will inadvertently shape the societal norms and attitudes, feeding a cycle of potentially harmful trend to create more of it to retain audience attention.

I am reminded of BR Ambedkar’s message: “The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts, and the cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence.”

Fortunately, movies like ‘Twelfth Fail’ bring a ray of hope as it portrays an inspiring story of a young man fighting all odds to become an IPS officer. Closer home, a couple of days ago in Chandigarh, I attended a comedy show by Amit Tandon which felt like a breeze of fresh air in this era of comedians riding high on profanity. It was a clean family spectacle where jokes were directed at him citing examples from daily lives. Marcus Aurelius rightly said: “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

The writer is a Hoshiarpur-based personality development trainer and can be reached at nazam81@gmail.com.

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