The Indian cinema is one of the most powerful mediums of mass communication. It has the power to influence people with its glamour, be it decent or harmful for the cultural fabric of the society. Today a section of the film industry has stooped so low as to adopt vulgar means to attract the public. Cinema halls blatantly display obscene and offensive posters portraying women in objectionable postures that are sure to harm their image. Women are no longer willing to tolerate this any further, as different women organisations have declared open combat against obscenity.
Nari Raksha Samiti in New Delhi is one such organisation, which has taken the issue. The Samiti is a voluntary organisation set up to create social awareness on women-related issues and organise them to protest against all forms of social neglect, injustice and exploitation.
Smt. Rameshwari Nehru established the Samiti on May 12, 1951, with the help of Smt. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Smt. Indira Gandhi to help thousands of women refugees at the time of Partition. Since then, the organisation has come a long way and has served a large number of distressed women. It has been running various welfare and development projects for women and children living under harrowing circumstances.
Recently the Samiti, under the leadership of Smt. Vandana Sharma, agitated outside Ritz Cinema, Delhi and is planning to organise more such agitations outside various other cinema halls in Delhi. She talked to Organiser representative Preeti Sharma and shared her views on reasons for the agitation.
What is the objective of your agitation?
My objective is to preserve the Indian culture, which is known throughout the world for its decency and sanctity. Cinema halls display obscene posters to lure the public. They pose a direct blow to the image and respect of women. I cannot stop the Censor Board from passing these movies and giving them an ?A? certificate, but I can stop these obscene and objectionable posters from being displayed outside cinema halls and that is what I am doing.
Ritz Cinema was our prime target because it is situated close to educational institutions like the Guru Gobind Singh University, at least six government schools and Indraprastha College for women.
I am suspicious about the role of the police too in this case. I informed the DCP through a written complaint that we strongly oppose the display of obscene posters and that he should take some action regarding it. I contacted the manager also but he just threw away my letter. He told me that he will not replace the posters no matter what I did. As the police also did nothing, we wrote them a letter informing that the Nari Raksha Samiti, with around 500 women, will be marching to the hall to oppose the display of such obscene posters. The poster put up on the board of the Ritz Cinema was most vulgar. I am sure that as soon as the police received information of our march, they contacted the cinema-hall owner and overnight pasted small posters over the objectionable banner. This shows that the police is in nexus with these people.
How are these movies posing a threat to women and the society?
Being near to the Inter-State Bus Terminus, the viewers of these movies are mostly outsiders, anti-social elements and even the students from government schools. There are no restrictions on students watching adult movies. The dirty posters provoke anti-social elements to tease or pass remarks on the passing women.
How successful have you been in your mission?
After the agitation, many women and girls approached us to thank us, complaining how embarrassed they used to feel while passing through the area. The manager of Ritz Cinema relented somewhat and did not put up any obscene poster this whole week.
But, I will feel successful only when the women will be aroused to act for their identity and rights.
I want different women organisations to work unanimously, to protest against every sort of misbehaviour towards them.
We feel demonstration is the best way to humiliate the culprits and to tell the people that we are not going to tolerate this nuisance. If more groups and individuals come forward, a movement can be started to create awareness in the society on this blatant disrespect to women.
Aren'tthe television and music videos equally vulgar and harmful to the woman'simage?
Yes, indeed, we are totally against them. Regarding this, we had met the former Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley, demanding a ban on the vulgar shows on FTV and like channels.
Not only television, even newspapers have also fallen below the required standards and display vulgar photographs. Can you recall how the newspapers used to be five years ago; now you cannot even read them with the family.
Today things have gone all awry. It is embarrassing to see photographs of scantily clad women in all sorts of distorted poses and postures. We have written to the Press Council of India about it. And if this does not stop, our next step will be to agitate outside newspaper offices.