For long have those in power controlled the narrative and it is certainly time to change it. With the issues that crane everyday around us, we notice a certain trend. You will notice the netizens targeting the celebrities these days. A trend of ‘cancel culture’ this is when any celebrity who is politically incorrect in his or her statement or conduct, or even perceived to have a corrupt behaviour is cancelled or boycotted for. The cancel culture became quite prominent during #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter protests. For India, it was nothing new as we have journalists like Arnab Goswami who shout at the top of their voice affirming and claiming what people have in mind. Arnab Goswami might be the voice of the common man in this case, but is he a logical one? That is what needs to be verified. Although it is time to change the narrative and it is best we do, but we must be vigilant not to fall into the herd mentality.
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Sushant Singh Rajput is turning immortal as he is being spoken about every single day. As his case is being discussed, the people are protesting against the celebrities who are claimed to be nepotistic starting from Karan Johar who is according to Kangana Ranaut, ‘The Flag Bearer of Nepotism.’ The hashtags #boycottAliaBhatt and #boycottKaranJohar were trending on twitter leading to many people cancelling every work these celebs put forward even unfollowing many of these celebrities. For Alia Bhatt, it was her recent release Sadak 2 that received the highest dislikes on YouTube. One can agree that these are star kids and that they get an easy ticket to Bollywood. But a movie is made not just by this one person it is a work of many others. So, cancel culture should not just be a movement that will curtail the politically incorrect, but it should be intellectually and logically acceptable. We may be able to change the narrative but it can also lead us into the oblivion.
Our country is perturbed by many problems at the present. An alert citizen would therefore be sensitive to cater to the growth of the country and raise his or her voice when it comes to injustice. Individually, therefore, we ought to be well informed. We need to read, reflect, and cross-check our ideas. We need to refer to experts or the popular intellect of the time. This would help us gain solid ground on the subject at hand for discussion.
Mere protest of the work of the one found or considered to be guilty will not solve the concerns. These celebrities have more power than we do because they sell, we don’t. They have money and they can buy even the media. If we want to change the narrative we will have to be sensitive and look beyond just the hashtag trendings. The rage that we have must be channelized in giving competition to these star kids, perhaps. It is not just in the case of Bollywood, whether it is politics, economics, education, science and technology. We must all work together to ask questions but valid ones. We must help not just change the narrative but also sustain it with our contribution to its empowerment.
Recently Netflix released a French Film titled, ‘Cuties,’ the movie is in itself questionable as it portrays girls or woman in a bad light. On change.org a petition was created and signed by 600,000 people urging them to cancel their subscriptions to Netflix. The campaign turned out to be quite successful as it garnered a lot of attention but how many did cancel their Netflix subscription is the hidden truth. Netflix continues to be one of the top streaming platforms and continues to frame the narrative.
Therefore, the protests that we put our energies to, have they become real or have they just remained to publicity stunts? That if it appears in the newspapers it is enough, we do not have to do anything further. If one was convinced that the movie ‘Cuties’ is or will affect the young mindsets because of the over-sexualisation of female bodies then the movie would have been taken down already. But the protest just remained onto the signature campaign and didn’t materialize further.
The recent protests against double-tracking in Goa and the protest against the major projects that will affect the National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa, will they be of any help? Before the pandemic became a reality for the Indians, there were anti-CAA protests, have they been of help to us?
Where are we heading towards then? Is this what we call a changing of the narrative? What then must we work towards is a logical and intellectual build of ideas that can sustain our arguments and give us the desired results. As it is a collective opinion here that matters, we must all stand together and genuinely believe in the concern. At times, there will be some who will try to buy us in their stride that is where we ought to stand out ground. We must ask ourselves, are we doing it because it is benefitting me alone or because it does do the common good to everyone? Answering these questions and being true to our common goal perhaps will help us change the narrative, and by and large, sustain it.
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