Why do our movies justify violence?

This is something that I never understood – Why do our movies justify violence? Our movies seem to spread the propaganda that a ‘justifiable reason’ is all that is required to make the hero/his friends start beating up the ‘bad’ guys. And that reason is always some injustice done to them by the bad guys. If all of us have to take the law in our hands to achieve justice, why do we have a law enforcement agency (police) and why do we have courts?

When someone is young, they tend to easily get influenced by what is shown in the movies. So, when movies start justifying violence by making the hero (who is often worshiped by the masses) bash up ten’s and hundred’s of people to enforce justice, a young mind naturally tends to think that violence is good if done for the ‘right cause’.

And the definition for the ‘right cause’ varies from person to person. For some, the right cause is protesting the actions of their professors and for others the right cause is fighting a rival gang over a petty issue that might have surfaced during a cricket match!

Many movies that I have watched in the past, seem to glamorize violence in some form.Β  Some of them actually became super-hit family entertainers! So, why don’t we send our kids to martial arts classes, close down law enforcement agencies and go back to the 17th Century?

When people are younger, their blood boils for silly things and since they are the main movie watchers (customers), the movies want to cater to their interests and tastes? Movie directors often forget how much influence they wield over young minds. These people (producers and directors) don’t think twice before including more violence in their movies, for pure commercial reasons.

More violence = More money, for them. And violence can increase the tempo and excitement levels which can keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Whatever happened to good screenplay, suspense and other such elements that should have been included in the first place? When someone can’t tell a gripping/engrossing story, they substitute their inability with violence? Are movies about good story telling or about spreading false propaganda?

It’s strange to observe that people accept the bait laid out by the movie makers. I am talking about elders/parents who watch these movies gleefully along with their kids. Maybe they also like the excitement provided by violent scenes?

Or is this problem more deeply rooted? Do people genuinely believe that violence can solve many of their problems? It took two world wars for the developed world to realize that violence is a double edged sword which can achieve nothing. No terrorist organization in this world has ever achieved their objectives completely. But a Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King achieved what they wanted. Because their means were as pure as their ends.

Do you think violence is a short-cut to achieve our objectives easily? Go watch Godfather, all the three parts.

Even in our own families, we teach our kids not to fight. But we allow them to watch these violence-justifying movies and get influenced. We don’t allow our teenagers to get involved in gang wars, but take them to movies that encourage them to do just that.

It’s high time movies started producing quality fare and stop justifying violence in any form. Encouraging people to break the law can make a quick buck for the producers/directors but when their own kids start following their false propaganda, I wonder how these producers/directors feel? After all, they are also part of a society and they also have kids and family members.

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30 thoughts on “Why do our movies justify violence?

  1. I totally agree. Our movies definitely glamorize violence, and as you said, people do not even realize it. Not even the grownups. I think we as a people, have become desensitized to the violence, inappropriate dances, everything, because movie after movie has been churned out, and we watch it – as a family, without a thought of how all this could impact tender minds..
    ‘It’s high time movies started producing quality fare and stop justifying violence in any form’ Absolutely. Also, it is important that we have campaigns about appropriate viewing and people should understand that it is not appropriate to take children to movies that are 16+, for instance. Living in the UK, the guidelines are quite strictly followed, yet people find it alright to break rules and take children to inappropriate movies.

    1. Maybe people hope that by exposing kids to excessive violence, they will become desensitized as well? Well, adults recognizing nonsense is one thing, but the same thing may not always be true with kids. Are we becoming insensitive about bringing up kids in the right way?

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  2. well beleive it or not , that what people want .. have you seen a decent movie making a lot of money its always one of those where lot of voilence this and that …

    and end of the day everyone wants ot make money so they make what sells end of …

    and as Smitha said above no age limits here even for a hindi movie it is adhered too, I went to see agneepath with a family who have a 12 year old kid , we had to come back as the movie did not have the required certificate.. imagine that happening in india ..

    1. People make certain kinds of movies because the audience wants to see such movies. If an audience cannot tell the difference between a good and bad movie, if the audience secretly likes such movies, there is no point blaming the producers/directors.

      It’s good to note that in UK, the age regulations for movie watching are adhered to. In India, if kids are not taken to a movie, they might create a huge ruckus!

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  3. Oh Talk about it DI! Indian movies wanted to shoe heroism – so the best way to show that is in the form of action and violence! It was nice once in a while, but having to see them in every other movies these days is a bit overdoing! I’m not liking it at all. I never liked some of Kamal Hassan’s movies for their violence – Kurudhi punal, Vett.Vilayadu, Heyram, Virumandi! Oh god! I saw Virumandi on a sunday 8.00 am show at Satyam and sweared to God I would never see any of Kamal’s action movies! And talking about heroes trying to act like “Lord Labhakdass” taking law in their hands – I hate it!

    1. When Director Shankar makes a movie like Indian/Hindustani, it becomes a super-hit. People just love it. They want someone among us to become like that character and eliminate all corruption. But they themselves will never hesitate to participate in corruption in whatever little means available to them! Talk about Hypocrisy! I wonder if people are looking for short-cut solutions to major problems in life through movies. Like how they expected a lottery ticket to solve their financial woes once upon a time!

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      1. Yes, I loved Indian! But when every other hero tried to copy same theme, it became an overdose. Because people wanted to be on a safe boat and see from outside if things are happening well!

  4. Loved this post DI.
    I think most Indians believe that violence is justified if there is enough provocation. The other day my mother was watching a TV serial and I saw these two brothers arguing, the villainous looking older brother called the neatly dressed brother (Munna) that he wasn’t man enough, that he couldn’t control his wife, and then he went on and on using other words to imply he was impotent, emasculated, weakling, effeminate etc. The bad brother only spoke but the good brother kept inching closer and warning that he should not be provoked, and opening and closing his fist and finally was provoked enough to be violent and box his brother.
    It was clearly shown that the heroes lose self control and get violent under certain amount provocation, and that calling a man unmanly is provocation enough.

    1. Sometimes, provocation is deliberately used as a technique to incite people to get involved in violence so that their image can be tarnished because of their violent actions. People are more interested in what happened, than what provoked it to happen! This technique works with younger people, mostly.

      When people have crossed a certain age, they know how to ignore the words of irresponsible people (like the older brother described in your comment) and make them feel like they are speaking to a wall!

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  5. I remember how children started jumping off from buildings after watching Shaktimaan..but recent movies are so snicker worthy that I doubt any smart kid would fall far all that nonsense, but sadly not so many smart kids around :D..

    1. I wanted to watch Shaktiman, but I never got an opportunity! Maybe if I had watched it, I would have jumped too πŸ™‚ BTW, did you jump off any building?

      It’s good that kids don’t understand many things portrayed in movies. But unfortunately, violence doesn’t have to be understood. I don’t know if all that violence has any effect on children, but let’s hope there is no effect.

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  6. nice post
    for them its business to make money and more money to make more movies.
    sometimes people make the good movies but audiences reject it and one has to suffer

    1. I am not sure about other states, but in TN good movies are appreciated and audience do see them. But certain movies are documentary/award winning types, which don’t run much. People expect some entertainment. I have sometimes thought if fighting is considered as a form of entertainment?

      Certain English movies are a class apart, different, extremely well made and still become a commercial success. Why can’t Indian movies do that?

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  7. Till date my maid loves the movies with fights n actions, she thinks any movie sans fight,violence is worthless movie…In recent time I hv come across extremely violent movie and that was Agneepath,whe in sole motive of Hrithik is to take revenge,no matter what it takes for tht…this is how every film is justified for its violence…it’s upto ppl to reject such movies and set an example for producers directors

    1. Many people say that Agneepath is violent. Maybe because it was a remake? If we look at many old movies (’70’s and ’80’s), they were quite violent – Sholay for example. These days, we do not have so much violence in movies but this post is not against violence per say.

      One cannot show a war based movie without violence, for example. This post is more about the justification of violence. People should reject movies that justify violence.

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  8. Children sometimes have to face a bully. Bullies are difficult to deal with. Powerful and also teases unnecessarily. The bullies deliberately create problems.
    The children who see violent movies find an outlet for releasing their anger for bullies. Of course, if the child knows karate then he may fight the bully.
    I have faced bullies during my school days and would often act in front of mirror, bashing up these villians.
    A very well written blog article. You have a very good writing style. Simple and straightforward.

    1. I have not had bad experiences with bullies in my school/college days. In fact, some of them spoke frankly with me and I found that they too have their fears and problems. But I had my share of facing bullies during my initial years of working.

      They are definitely difficult to deal with. But if we try to understand the context/situation which made them aggressive and the fears that they face, we can come to a more balanced opinion on why they do certain things. It’s fear that makes us afraid of them, but it’s fear that makes them a bully too.

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    1. I think that Rang De Basanti spreads a wrong message. We make the mistake of electing the wrong people in the first place and try to justify our wrong decision by using violence. It’s much better to think about how to elect the right person.

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  9. Cassius Marcellus Clay(muhammad ali) once said that he is scared of indian heroes…

    I completely agree with you.When i was a kid i used to love action movies so do my kids.Now i try that kids don’t watch such a movies.

    Only action movies sell.A hero can do anything and bash 100 men without getting injured…

    1. LoL @ Muhammad Ali’s statement πŸ™‚ When we were young, there was only one channel and we had few programs. One of them was Mahabharat and we kids would eagerly wait for fighting scenes and watch them. I guess it’s like video games for kids. Though there is violence, they might find it fun. But, after a certain age, the hero worship and following starts and that’s when it becomes dangerous.

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  10. I totally agree with you for this one. Like Bikram said, there should be a strong rating system by which movies are shown to only those people who have the sense to distinguish between reel and real life.

    Kids (and young adults sometimes) often end up star-struck and imitating their heroes…with disastrous consequences.

    1. I am reminded of those overly sadistic English movies. But I guess they adhere to proper certifications and don’t show it to kids.

      I sometimes wonder why these producers/directors safely target only the college going students with their movies? There is a much larger market for well made movies, guys. Come out of your shell.

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    1. People do enjoy such movies don’t they? Only when it is overdone, they start thinking! But then the tradition has been followed right from Robinhood times (perhaps even before that). It will take some time before people open their eyes while watching such movies.

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    1. I think the certification is sort of there, but it needs to be stricter. And theatre owners might be ok with people bringing kids to any movie as long as a separate ticket is bought for them! I think it’s the viewer’s/parents responsibility to find out what kind of movie it is and decide if it will be appropriate for their kid. These days, parents don’t seem to be that much bothered.

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