This Article First Appeared In Indian Express On Dec 21, 2022
Cinema as a medium has incredible power in our country. The reach and impact of a movie can be understood when a street child tells you that there are days when he chooses to watch a movie instead of eating his daily meal. His logic is that after a meal he would be hungry soon, but a movie stays with him for so much longer, giving him hope and joy. I was stunned by these words spoken to me by a 12-year-old ragpicker.
With more than 50 per cent of its population under the age of 25 years today, our country stands poised with the possibility of immense change in the coming 25 years. And there is much that needs to change to propel us out of the weighty biases that hold us from achieving our true potential. Discriminatory practices and limitations on individual liberty, safety and opportunity that are inherited need to be scraped away like old skin. Despite all the sloganeering, when more than half of the Rs 10 billion Nirbhaya Fund for women’s safety remains unused for 10 years in a country where women so desperately need safety, it points to a lack of socio-political-cultural will. A radical cultural gear shift can help shape a different future. And among cultural tools for this purpose, there is none bigger than cinema in India today.