When I think of cinema, it invokes thought and deliberation, it evokes many emotions, ready to explode into a chaotic mumble jumble. So, when I was asked to write about what cinema means to me and how it is a great learning tool, I jumped at the idea.
The first question that popped into my mind is, what is the meaning of cinema? Upon looking up a dictionary, I gathered it originates from the Greek word, “kinema”. Sounds familiar?!! Well, it means movement, here in this case literally implying moving pictures. Having friends like Shibangi and Abhinav has definitely helped me know the history of cinema and its evolution.
I would like to dwell upon what cinema means to me. Let’s start at the very beginning, as with time, its meaning has evolved and is still evolving. As a child, I was first introduced to Jackie Chan movies by my uncle. It was all about me becoming a Kung fu kid, learning the style of the bear claw, or the stance of the mantis, and the desire to acquire the tensile nature of steel. But then that was not the only food I was getting; there was The Sound of Music and Hatari, both of which I’ve seen umpteen times growing up.
So, when I view The Sound of Music today, will it be like watching a movie as that kid or will it spin new experiences? This single example of a movie definitely has had diverse outcomes as the years have added up, and as my experience of the world has multiplied. It began by being a beautiful musical, then it taught me about family and values, chunks of discipline, streaks of bravery, choosing sides (decision making), knowing right from wrong, being resilient and honourable. But, did I gather all of it in my first watch as a kid, no. Thus, cinema can be many things, taking many forms, avatars over repeated viewings and time.
This brings me to my second point, entertainment. I feel cinema fills that basic need. Living the dreams, larger than life characters, going where one cannot in real life -- reel life aptly fills that gap. Cinema brings together fantasy, fiction, and drama, cooking up potboilers, while on the other hand showcasing reality, stories from past, and inspiring biographies and documentaries. It weaves stories for one and all, while also covering the complete spectrum of emotions.
Cinema is a window to the world, taking me places, showcasing culture, exhibiting lifestyles, bringing the world to my doorstep, commingling visual extravaganza with storytelling. It is a reflection of society, it is a reality check, a trend setter, but also a history lesson. It is but liquid taking the shape of the storyteller (director) or the listener (viewer), or both.
This brings us to the culmination of my deliberations. Cinema has many sides, a few of which I’ve breezed through. It has evolved with time, advanced with technology, been perfected as an art form, metamorphosed into an industry, and yet, it is in essence, picture in motion.
The many facets that cinema exudes presents us with a reliable and a robust, yet malleable learning tool, one that can be efficiently deployed to impart and educate. This is also very easily possible as the medium of cinema appeals to one and all and has been a part of each and every individual, household and even institutions. As a learning tool, cinema can go where other mediums fail.