The Reality of Mainstream Media
Everything on the south side is about having it big. The cars, the clothes, the lifestyle, you name it, we have it. Of course there are the occasional exceptions to the rule–the oddballs–but its safe to say that the dominant culture is one of decadence; Whether it’s within one’s reach or not, here in B-town it’s what everyone wants.
It’s also captured our media‘s imagination, at least the mainstream segment—it’s all about the good life-and good is measured in monetary terms: it’s nothing short of lavish houses, glossy parties, chic clothes and fancy holidays.
Youth that sleeps in the day, parties hard in the night and ultimately end up happily married, inheriting the family business. I think most teenage/young adult males actually identified with Wake Up Sid here—after all it was set right here in b-town. But that’s not surprising is it? The media has to get its inspiration from somewhere-and it seems as though the urban life is a popular choice.
A Sociology professor of mine once said that “Media is not a reflection of reality but reality is a reflection of media.” It’s hard to make sense of at first, but it’s definitely a thought provoking statement.
To put it simply lets say we watch these movies and want to emulate the lifestyles of those protagonists-thus media becomes a reality, or so we’d like it to be. However for a handful of those that can identify with the behavior of say Sid, movies become an accurate description of one’s lifestyle–and thus are already a reality.
So to refute media as being a reflection reality then stands to be false. On the other hand, we’re talking about the urban upper class which is such a small segment of society–that can we even call it a ‘reality’? Anyway it becomes more of a bizarre philosophical conundrum by this point…and while we could perhaps pause to try and analyze it further we’d lose the bigger picture. For now lets just say that the statement holds true as I’ve explained my interpretation.
We might like to argue that it’s really the plot of such movies, be it the family dramas or young teenage romances that appeal to the larger audience–such a wide spectrum of people can identify with themes that are universal in scope. True, but a lot of these heartwarming or just purely mindless—in the case of some—stories are very often in the backdrop of wealth and affluence-and subconsciously we pick up on those undertones. In this respect reality as a reflection of the media becomes a potent reality.
Think of young character of Laddoo -standing in Chandni Chowk with a disdainful look.. “so tacky” is the accurate description, with him screwing up his nose. And then there’s Mr Raichand his father who claims he cannot attend the wedding of his housemaid’s daughter-something on the lines of how can people like us go there?
Of course there’s Sid who doesn’t want to study, which is a phase we all go through, except this kid uses posh nightclubs and blows up a few 1000s as an outlet to vent . Of course this movie itself tries to caricature the typical big-city rich-spoilt-brat and so it would be wrong to simply categorise it with the others. Still it ends up being less of a witty satire and more of the idealistic starry-eyed-pretty-boy character finding his way in the ‘real world’ culminating in a pseudo-romantic encounter. (Or hey, maybe that was the initial intention)
Anyway the movie is fun for some mindless drama–as are all the above. And yeah the characters make some slightly conceited comments now and then-but that’s all part of their character metamorphosis right? Thee Raichand’s actually end up marrying the tacky Chandni Chowk girls transcending all socioeconomic barriers for love in an all too weepy finale. The haughty suddenly end up being magnanimous. Melodramatic? Overstretched? Yes we know that and thrive on it—unfortunately we also dismiss these parts as being impractical attributing the movie-like quality to such scenes: “that only happens in movies!”—As for the arrogant and derogatory comments? Well unfortunately those can get reflected into reality…or vice-versa.
We like the private spaces of malls, comforts of our cars–the big life in short, and like watching people on-screen that do the same. At the end of the day it’s perhaps irrelevant as to how the media-reality interplay really works. It’s the implications of this nexus that are more important.