Sunday, October 17, 2021

Lifestyle & Culture

Working on the Human Ego…


By Diya Barmecha

While talking to the crowd, have you ever wondered that the audience can see that you are nervous? Or when you did something embarrassing, did you start thinking about how likely it is that others will remember it and overestimate this? Or even overestimate the amount of work you have contributed to the group project?

These things happen to all of us in different parts of our life and there is a psychological way to understand what is happening here. This is called the egocentric bias and it causes someone to only remember themselves as the key player in a past event even when their role can be a minor one. It can cause someone to assume that all of one’s colleagues or friends will share their political and social beliefs because they are so focused on those beliefs that it is hard for one to imagine things differently. This bias makes us have the tendency to rely very heavily on our own perspective than reality. It’s one of the psychological happenings to satisfy one’s ego. Its main cause is because we believe everyone will remember the same story from the same perspective as you. What you see from your eyes becomes your perspective. This may not be what others see from their eyes. This comes at no fault one any one individual being nor is it good or bad.

Researchers were curious about the concept of egocentric bias,  so they asked the authors of multi-authored papers to say what percentage of the paper they contributed. When they added up all these percentages, it always reached an average of 140% and not 100%. A similar instance happens when couples are asked how much of the housework they each do. The addition of both their perspectives percentages is always over 100%. Many people think that the cause for this is because people want to appear more helpful and smart than they are. But that is not the cause because when asked about who starts the fight most often the same thing happens. The collection of their percentages was over 100%.  To explain this easily, you experience and see vividly what you did and not so much of what another person does.

  A recent podcast shows us a real example of the above. Vanessa Bohns, a graduate student from Columbia University wanted to ask strangers at a New York station to fill out a questionnaire and she expected people to say something terrible and not fill it out. However, to her surprise many people replied saying yes. This raised a red flash for them as they expected more people to refuse than actually say yes. In this research, the conductors were so consumed by their perspective that they weren’t able to see things from another person’s perspective. Vanessa Bohns was now very curious about this bias and decided to conduct another study. She asked volunteers how many people they would have to gather money from to meet their fundraising goals. The volunteers all estimated around 200 people. However, all of them asked under 100 people and were able to meet their goal. The egocentric bias of the volunteers caused them to focus mainly on their anxieties and they weren’t able to think of what it might have felt to be a person being asked for money. 

There are many biases like the above. The illusion of transparency causes people to think that their emotions are more important than others because of the egocentric bias. Whereas the spotlight effect is when people overestimate the degree to which they are noticed by others which also occurs due to the egocentric bias.  When we fail to account that some people don’t know the same things as we do it’s called the curse of knowledge and is caused also due to the egocentric bias.

Although we can’t control what’s happening in our cognitive mind, we can definitely ask ourselves two times before we make an assumption about how others view ourselves. This realization can help us gain confidence while public speaking or give us solace when we think we have embarrassed ourselves. 

Scarcity of Diversity

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by Diya Barmecha and Aahana Khemani

The no doubt an influential and progressive country and citizens of the world are influenced by what it does . One of the means by which global citizens get to see U.S.and its nuances is through television. However, does cinema capture the diversity of the U.S? Do TV. shows and movies really show how open America is? Or is the diversity of America on television all a checklist that’s only purpose is to be ticked off? Is it censored? We think that some aspects of American diversity are not portrayed to its full potential through television. 

For people living outside the United States of America, the only representation of the U.S. is received from tv shows and films. They portray the culture and they are the closest many get to the states. In the past 15-20 years tv shows and films have worked hard to show diversity and modern thinking. However, is this really true? Does television have a diverse cast? Even though American television tries its best to show the LGTBQ+ community. A study conducted in Nielson, shows that women make up 52% of the US population but onscreen they are only shown 37.9% of the time. Many times shows try to come up with a perfect cast by making a checklist. They add a coloured woman to their cast and their diversity box is ticked. This might not be because it is necessary to  the story, but because it’s a box that needs to be filled. We don’t ask for there to be more diversity, because there is a lack of representation. We ask to show the reality of America in all of its diversity, not to tick a box but to mimic real life scenarios. Another problem tv shows and movies struggle with is the accuracy of the things they show. 

American tv and movie  directors want the audience to believe that the entire of America struggles with issues like teen pregnancy, drug abuse and many others that are constantly shown. Over time, it becomes very hard to differentiate between the real and the fictional. . The film makers are showing this because it becomes easy to use these as conflicts and derive a story from it . The repetition in the movie plot lines mainly occurs because of the limited variety of conflicts that are shown.. It’s not necessary to showcase the real U.S because of moral obligations but because showcasing America in all its reality can help the rest of the world see that no country  is perfect and what we see on TV is not always reality. 

Genuine diversity is extremely important. . People around the world are influenced by America, and the power of television can right multiple wrongs around the world. The US is in the top 3 Cultural Influence Rankings. American music, inventions, literature, media businesses have completely changed individuals around the world. It’s time for American Television to impact people in an optimistic way. It can give hope to people in countries where there’s not much hope, it can bring joy to people, it can encourage people, it can have a positive impact. By showing the true diversity of America, it can truly have good influence on people.  

US cinema has no doubt spread the vibe of America in some form, however, not completely. People around only get to see “the gay best friend” or “the woman employee” in American television, but isn’t America more diverse than that? Through removing the checklist and censorship of American diversity on American television, and genuinely incorporating American diversity into American television, people can actually relate to American diversity and be positively impacted by it. 


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by Tara Hebbar and Diya Barmecha

We are proud vegetarians. To us, it is beyond imagination how people are non-vegetarian after knowing the devastating impacts it has. However, we understand that it is a challenge to wean off the food that makes people’s taste buds rejoice. We write this article with the best intentions, just to help others understand the impact that they are having so that they can then make an educated decision on whether they would want to switch or remain. We encourage those who are non-vegetarian to make the switch for all the below mentioned reasons. Trust us, vegetarian food is as good and by the simple task of not eating meat, you are making an immensely positive difference to the planet. It is important to understand that the meal is coming at the cost of something and it’s for YOU to decide whether you want to pay that price. 

Why are you killing plants? This is a question that we as vegetarians are always asked. It’s like the bullet for the non-vegetarians, every time an argument about the matter strikes. It is assumed that this is an intellectual question, however, there are several reasons why this argument is completely invalid. The reasons are plenty, some of them being that animal and plant life are starkly different and have different purposes. Animals have the right to mortality, and therefore are equipped with defense mechanisms and mobility to keep them alive. Plants on the other hand, do not have these powers, but instead are allowed to bloom, bear fruit and grow. Therefore, even when we take a leaf or fruit, it’s called plucking, not beheading, since a new fruit will take the place of the old. These differences in nature, just show their purpose. Some animals are food for others, who aren’t able to digest plants and require meat, but humans are not part of this category, we survive perfectly well on simple plants and their gifts. Additionally, by eating and consuming plants, you’re supporting life and biodiversity. The way the food chain works is that plants are eaten by animals which are food to other animals, them being the seed to all living things. Humans are not meant to be on top of that food chain, we have throned ourselves and forced every other creature into submission. One of the biggest misconceptions is that by eating meat, non-vegetarians are keeping the balance. The meat consumed by most is a product of “industrial meat”, which is produced in factories, where animals are being specifically bred to be slaughtered. So, there goes “creating” balance. Moreover, the matter of pain and the nervous system. While it is well known that animals, including humans are aware of pain and have a central nervous system, plant’s do not. When killing animals, pain is caused to them, whereas, when eating plants, there is not pain felt by them. Lastly, the meaning of “killing” must be identified, killing means putting an absolute end to something. When eating animals, they are being killed, since it’s the end of their life. However, when it comes to plants, we end up consuming small parts of each plant, either the leaf or the fruit and rarely the root. Therefore, the root continues to support new life and will bear new fruit, therefore, this is not classified as killing. Lastly, non-vegetarians if they stop eating meat, they have other means of survival in terms of food. What will vegetarians turn to, without plants? These are the reasons that the argument of comparing plants and animals is just a desperate attempt for non-vegetarians to make their eating habits more comparable to that of vegetarians. 

Then we come to the basic arguments of why eating non-vegetarian needs to be changed. Before their death, to be put on someone else’s plate, these animals are treated with cruelty that is hard for anyone to imagine. Crammed into cages with thousands of other animals, they are often not given food, and proper hygiene since these cages are not cleaned at all. Rarely will a meat-eater look down at the piece of beef on their plate and think, how did this animal come here? What did it have to go through? And this is where the problem stems from. There is a lack of empathy, most non-vegetarians forget that they are eating another living creature that has now been killed just for them to enjoy.  Another indirect benefit is dampening world hunger to some extent. The kilos of crops that go towards fattening animals so that humans can eat them, this food can save so many malnourished human beings who die of starvation each day. If everyone was vegetarian, we would need 75% less land for farming than we do today, and feed everybody. Being vegetarian has effects that go beyond one’s imagination. In terms of personal benefit, unlike public understanding, being vegetarian and vegan is great for the cardiovascular system and health, with red meat especially, being a risk for cholesterol related diseases. One of the biggest misconceptions is that by eating meat, non-vegetarians are keeping the balance. The meat consumed by most is a product of “industrial meat”, which is produced in factories, where animals are being specifically bred to be slaughtered. So, there goes “creating” balance. 

Believe it or not, non-vegetarianism also causes deforestation, in which large masses of forests are razed just to accommodate these animals which are being bred to be killed, and to grow crops to feed these large amounts of animals, it is the biggest cause of forest fires. In order to produce industrial meats and for crops and space, people are deliberately starting forest fires and killing so many animals in the process. So, when you’re eating a piece of meat, you are not only responsible for the death of that soul, but so many others. It is destroying wildlife. With the gatherment of so many animals which are kept in filthy conditions to be killed, the risk of infections and diseases such as Corona virus also increases by large numbers. Additionally, it uses up immense amounts of water, almost 50% of the water used in the U.S. goes towards this. With there already being preditcation for water shortage, is it worth it, just for the “good” taste of meat? It releases carbon dioxide emissions and utilises a ton of fossil fuels. Making one hamburger, uses the same amount of fossil fuels as driving a car 20 miles. Pig factories generate the same amount of raw waste as a 12,000 person city. Is a non-vegetarian’s luxury more important than the environment? The answer is simply no. So, everytime there is meat on your plate, not only are you destroying forest, killing more than 1 animal, promoting torture but also causing the destruction of our environemnt. 

The demand for fish increases everyday. With this increases the inhumane ways in which fish are killed and served to us in fancy restaurants. Overfishing is a problem that impacts not only the sea but the balance of the entire ecosystem. When too many fish are taken out of their habitats, there is an imbalance in the food cycle which leads to a loss of many vulnerable species. To get the desired fish killed there are many species who also are on the receiving end of the fish poles. This is called bycatch. The UN estimated that between 20-25% of all sea creatures that are caught in the massive nets are the victims of bycatch. Many fish companies have the tag of dolphin-safe which means that no dolphins were harmed when these fishes were killed. However, according to the World Wildlife Fund upto 300,000 small whales, and dolphins get entangled and are killed during by-catch. As we can see the process we receive these fish to eat is not safe and neither is eating these fish. The most common industrial toxin in the sea is mercury which is deposited through many runoffs and emissions. These lead to toxicity in the oceans and affect marine life. Another impact of the toxins in the sea is plastic poisoning which fish ingest as food. With bioaccumulation, substances such as mercury are absorbed into the larger organism much faster than the smaller ones. In the case of fish, humans are the larger organisms. Mercury poisoning can lead to harmful effects on a human body’s nervous, digestive and immune systems. After all these negatives, we haven’t even tackled the biggest impact of fishing on our world. After watching the documentary, “Seaspiracy” on Netflix we found out that the majority of all the garbage in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch were fishing gear such as nets and poles. As we can see, fishing and eating fish has been harmful to the humans eating them, to the sea, to animals such as dolphins who aren’t eating, and even the environment. Is the taste of fish really worth all the negatives that come along with it? There are plant based seafood products on the market that look and taste like seafood. Why can’t we eat these instead?

This article is written by two vegetarians but we do understand how hard it may be for people to leave some of their favourite foods. However, after seeing the implications and impacts that the killing and the consumption have on us as well as our Earth, everyone should try to limit if not stop their consumption of these products. The advantages of being vegetarian go beyond just not killing animals but it extends to limiting the impact we leave on our ecosystem. Animals are bred to be killed and eaten. No amount of taste and deliciousness is worth another life. Fishes and even other animals living in the sea are killed in bycatch for only consumption. Just imagine if you were in an animal’s place, who was being eaten to satisfy the tastes of a “superior power” in the food chain. This just proves that humans have an impact on each and every problem of this world. There might not be one day where everyone stops eating meat and fish. However, with a few small realizations and changes, there can be change. There are alternatives and there are substitutes only if one is looking for it. So, look out for it, and make a difference.  

Preventing The Negative Effects of Life Online

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by Aahana Khemani

Lockdown has not only stolen our sanity but also our mental health! Staring at our laptop screens’ for a million hours is not healthy! By the end of lockdown, we are going to become fat, get spectacles, have an attitude change, and probably a mental sickness! Lucky for you, here are a few ways you can prevent these terrifying things. 

Spectacles can be a pain sometimes! Take it from someone who wears them. To prevent getting them, eat lots of carrots and almonds. They can really help strengthen your eyes and push spectactacles away! Another thing is to wash your eyes every 30 minutes. This will clean them and also give them a break! Last but not least, if your eyes are feeling super puffy and are paining a lot, do the common cucumber hack! Cut cucumber and put it on your eyes for 10 minutes. While your eyes are resting so should you! Trust me it actually helps. There’s nothing like resting in between stressful zoom classes! 

Sometimes, working on your screen can make you a serious grouch! I’ve experienced it. The constant staring at your screen can cause your mind to just blank out and get irritated at everything. Honestly, to avoid this in these times is just to use your screen as less as possible and take breaks frequently. You can have a nice walk around your house, talk to your family etc… And of course, do something you like (ex. Sing, paint, play football, dance etc…) 

Don’t want a huge belly? Don’t worry, I can relate! The best thing you can do to keep fat away is exercise! Make sure you’re working out. You can search up many online fitness programs. Here are some exercises that you can do at home! Alongside keeping physically fit, it is super important to have a good diet. Make sure you consume healthy food and less or no junk. This can not only keep fat away but can strengthen your immune system. Another important thing is to sleep well. Make sure you get your sleep! 

Hope these pointers helped! Some of them may not sound fun, but they help! You can always find more tips and tricks online. You can also talk to people to find out what they do. There are also a lot of courses, webinars, live videos that help you keep fit! Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms have great online workshops. Check them out! 

India of Light and Darkness

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by Diya Barmecha

The movie, White Tiger was released a few weeks back on Netflix, and  features the child of a rich businessman,named  Ashok played by Rajkummar Rao and his driver Balram played by Adarsh Gourav. In one short scene sitting, setin a small dhaba (restaurant) Ashok after living in the US said to Balram, “You know this is the real India.” However, Balram described India as something else. He said, “There is an India of light and an India of darkness” These two interpretations are made by characters that reside in India, they aren’t able to see India. So how do filmmakers or other viewers interpret India? 

Filmmakers try desperately to show the “real India” but they all end up putting forward the same things and miss out the land of diverse culture and exotic mysteries. The White Tiger, which was based on a 2008 book by Aravind Adiga may not have shown the real India, but at least it featured real Indians. This is one of the few Hollywood movies that was shot in India and comprises only of Indian cast. 

In the past, there have been movies where Hollywood or British actors paint their faces brown to pass as an Indian. For example, in “A passage to India”. Indian representation, however, has come a long way from those days.Even Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” which was supposed to be set in India, was shot in Sri Lanka. They showed the “savage” nature of our culture with people eating snakes and monkey brains. Even in the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” there was a home for British expats in Jaipur. It may not seem feasible from the view of many Indians, but that’s how the filmmakers and movie industry have visioned it in various movies. 

To truly represent India in all of its truths, one has to live in India. All the films about India that have gotten international attention are film adaptations from books which are written in English. This would mean that the main audience would be international. Other mentions of India primarily the themes of Mumbai’s big slums and New Delhi’s big class divide. Isn’t the real India more than just these themes? Shouldn’t the filmmakers be aiming to capture India is all of its reality — good and bad?

Balram in The White Tiger was right to say that there is an India of light and an India of darkness, but what he failed to mention is that there is a big part of India that is in between the darkness and the light. The movie highlights the struggles of being a part of a lower socio-economic class and how they are pushed around. In the movie this was interpreted as a rooster coop. 

The roosters in a coop at the market watch as each one gets slaughtered and yet they do not rebel or try to break out of the coop because they have accepted their fate. Similarly in India, people watch as the wealthy and the powerful walk over the others and yet they are unable to do anything. Balram has the belief that the culture of a traditional Indian family makes sure that the rooster coop ways are kept alive. This exists because if a servant tries to disobey his master, the master will punish the servant’s family as well. Towards the end of the movie Balram has the realization that to break free from the coop one must be willing to sacrifice everything. Their morality, values, and even their loyalty to their family.

The real India as we can see is an India of light and an India of dark but what many fail to mention is that there can be a transition of many people from the dark parts of India into the light ones. These transitions as mentioned above require the letting go of morality, values and loyalty. The interpretation of real India lies hidden to people in foreign nations as well as people residing in India as well.

Substacks Effect On Independent Journalism

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By Aahana Khemani and Arjun Mehrotra

Technology has been playing a role in multiple different fields and areas. As diverse as the arts, sports, science, or even math! Journalism is a profession that has been greatly impacted by technology. This can be said in terms of printing and publishing physical newspapers, or even having it reach out to more people via the internet. A form of technology, an application to be specific, that has really made a mark in journalism history is Substack. 

Substack is an online platform that allows customers to send digital newsletters and monetize them. It has more than 250,000 paying customers. Substack’s top 10 publishers together bring in a revenue of $7 million, annually. In this article we will be exploring the impact that Substack has had on society, focusing on its influence on independent journalism. 

Substack is one of the world’s biggest sites that focuses on independent journalism, where authors can publish their own work without having to be part of an organization. It allows you to create your own articles and newsletters and gives you your own domain. There are thousands of topics that people write about, from breaking news to their own personal opinions on things like food and movies.

Traditional “newspaper” publishers have also been changing in the past few years. During the pandemic, Substack saw its number of writers increase as more than 30,000 media jobs got cut. Substack and other sites became great ways to receive news. They found that they would get a more wide variety of topics from many other independent authors. “Traditional” journalism has changed into a much wider category where people can simply log on to a site and learn about so much more through many other perspectives. Learning more than just the plain facts which we get from the internet.

While online journalism may not be preferable for all, it definitely has multiple 

In conclusion, Substack has definitely changed the world of journalism for many individuals who enjoy writing and expressing their opinions! 

Using Our Own Cells To Save Us

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By Diya Barmecha

Spinal cord injuries have a possibility of causing damage to the spinal cord. This results in a loss of various normal functions such as mobility and sensations in that area. The main causes for these fatal diseases are trauma like a car accident or a gunshot. Other diseases like Polio or Friedreich’s ataxia can also be a cause. In India, the average incidence of spinal cord injuries are 15,000 with a prevalence of 0.15 million

The World Health Organisation believes that the incidence of SCI increases in developing countries due to the imminent health burden present. However, there is hope for these patients as early research suggests that with infusion of stem cells, these patients will be able to regain the sensations and movements that they had lost. Stem cells can morph into any other cell type. 

Research and studies predict that there will be improvements in the first few weeks of the stem cell therapy. According to a small study, these improvements can last for a total of six months. One small drawback and potential variable to investigate is that the 13 people in the study had injured and not severed their spinal cords. Their main limitations were their loss of motor function and coordination of their bladder and bowel movements. Out of these 13 subjects, 12 had shown improvement in their sensory and motor functions within six months of their infusion. These improvements were quantified by the changes on the American Spinal Injury Association impairment scale which measures the injury severity.

Dr. Griffin Baum, a spine surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital located in New York City who was not a part of this research expresses his excitement by saying, “This is exciting because there are really limited treatment options for patients with spinal cord injury.” 

The researchers in Yale university along with the help of scientists of Japan took the mesenchymal stem cells from participants’ own bone marrow. They multiplied them in a lab and then infused them back after 40 days. These Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells found in the bone marrow’s skin and fat tissue. This type of therapy is called Stemirac. This is approved in Japan since 2018 and still is under controversy due to the lack of the research and data done on it. It is yet debatable how these stem cells minimize or reverse the damages. 

The first and foremost implication is that this method is safe and has had no serious side effects in any of the participants so far. However, the improvements and why they take place are yet to be quantified. These improvements include better mobility in the spinal cord, better sensory functions. This spontaneous recovery until now only occurs in spinal cord injuries according to researchers. Given its less reliable nature Baum has also said that, “I think the results should be taken with a grain of salt, and enthusiasm should be tempered. More research is required to see whether, on a larger scale, these results could be replicated and statistically significant,”

However, according to a professor of radiology and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Mike Modo, “The amazing thing here is that after just a single infusion of stem cells, we are seeing benefits out of six months,” he also continues to mention that an added benefit is that the therapy is done through intravenous infusion which is minimally invasive and comparatively very safe. He adds, “IV delivery is minimal in terms of impact on patients, and that is the big contribution of this paper.” 

Although it sounds superficial now, I believe that in a few years the technology and the will to create something to help the patients suffering from spinal cord injuries will be present. These experiments have only shown improvements in the patients for 6 months for now. However, with more research this duration can increase and maybe we can truly get a cure for this discomfort with the stem cells of a human. There are many researches and studies happening about stem cells and how it is going to change the way we look at technology and medicine. Therefore, in conclusion, despite the pros and the cons, I believe that stem cells could really once and for all put an end to the spinal cord injuries, with more, deeper research.

Intention or Imitation?

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by Diya Barmecha

There have been many articles and opinions about where the influence of movies can take viewers. A movie director’s main aim is to entertain and depict our current society. In doing so, some movies show things that people can get negatively influenced by. There are various Bollywood movies where drinking cigarettes and consuming alcohol, by characters, is shown off the top of my head such as Sanju among others . The warning declaring it to be injurious to health is always present at the bottom of the screen. 

However, the effectiveness of this disclaimer can be questioned. 

This is just one of many problems that arises —  there are many ideas that people, especially the youth of our society, can get influenced by. It doesn’t matter how many “no smoking” ads there are or what the package of the cigarettes says. In the movie it shows a person, with cigarette in hand and enjoying, clearly not bothered by the health complications that can be caused due to the cigarette.

 To see how much actions or things we see can impact us and our actions, an experiment was conducted by psychologist Albert Bandura.

“The Bobo Doll Experiment”. 

Bandurra  wanted to see if social behaviours such as aggression could be acquired from observation. He tested 36 boys and 36 girls between the ages of 3 and 6. Bandura along with Ross and Ross tested with a five point scale how aggressive the children were in the nursery. In the first stage 24 children were shown a video of an adult aggressively playing with a bobo doll. These children were then sent to a room and asked to play with a bobo doll. The next 24 children were shown a video where an adult played with the bobo doll without displaying any signs of aggression. Whereas the remaining 24 children weren’t shown any video and asked to play with the doll.

At the end of the experiment the findings of the psychologists were that the children who observed the aggressive video displayed  increased signs of aggression. Additionally, the children who were not shown any video showed no signs of aggression and played as they would with any toy. This proved that what we see influences the way we think and do things. We imitate what we see in our surroundings. 

An Ajay Devgn film, Drishyam was quite popular among the audience because of the unique script and the tendency to keep the audience on its toes till the very end. This film showed how a father disposes of a body and covers the tracks of the accidental muder committed by his daughter and wife. 

Suraj Harmalkar, a 34-year-old man killed his girlfriend, Amita Mohite and hid the body the same way it was done in the film. While confessing to the police in Boisar he also mentioned that the inspiration was taken from Drishyam the movie. Although the makers of this movie did not intend for this to be the case, there have been many such cases where people have been inspired by movies and imitated negative actions. . A similar case in Kerala’s Malappuram district occurred. A gang of four robbers went and made a hole on the floor and looted the bank of 80 kgs of gold and more than 50,00,000 rupees. They confessed being inspired by the movie, Dhoom.

Although these action-thriller movies entertain many people, do film-makers have to be mindful of their impact on real life?

Reel or Real Life

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By Diya Barmecha

Cinema, something that is used for pure entertainment has now slowly but surely changed its roots to educating and persuading. The Bollywood industry is known for its “masala” or pure entertainment movies. Many have even commented and joked saying you should watch these movies after leaving your brains at home. Biologically not possible but it is necessary to do this because some comedy movies make no sense but with blinds to our eyes we tend to believe it is true. However, there are many movies that educate the audience on what happens in our world. Movies like Panipat, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and others show us what has happened in our world. 

Even though these movies aim to teach the audience and tell them a true story. The main reason for the movie to exist is to entertain. This is why movies say “Based on a real story” and never “A real story” There are many films that have added facts or hidden some facts to make the story more enjoyable. A recent movie Gunjan Saxena is one such example. This movie that aired on Netflix was the most popular drama movie in 2020, competing with other popular films and series like Masaba Masaba, Emily in Paris, etc. The movie followed the life of Gunjan Saxena as she went ahead to become a pilot at a time where it wasn’t common for women to be pilots. It showed how her aspirations and belief made it possible. It demonstrated her work for the Kargil war and other significant moments in her life. 

However loved this movie was by the audience, the film itself had many facts twisted and changed. This flaw was pointed out by many including the real Kargil Girl, Gunjan Saxena. Facts like she was the first girl in Kargil or that the gender disparity was so magnified were exaggerated. However, like the Kargil Girl said in real life, “The intention of the movie was to inspire people to chase their dreams with hope and positivity, the way I chased mine.”

The movie aimed to inspire and tell the story of a female pilot and it did just that. Hiding behind the creative license the creators of this movie are entitled to do as they please. Since this is a movie and said to entertain they can twist facts as they please even if they give misinformation. Historical movies like Panipat, and Padmaavat also have an exaggerated love story to it so that it intrigues and appeals to the majority of the audience. 

Like many have posed the question, I do so myself and ask, is this moral? Is it right to tell the story of another while twisting the facts? 

The most we as the public can do is to point these mistakes out. After pointing it out and posting about it on social media, the directors, actors, and producers can view your take on their creation. Hopefully, they can make changes accordingly. However legal it is to twist facts due to the creative license it is not right to do so. Narrating the story of a person is a great honour. However when facts are twisted it is not right. Blockbuster movies like Mary Kom and Pad Man have reached great heights and even if they portrayed the story with not much change, it would have had similar viewership. 

The power lies in our hands. At the end of the day, movies are made for audiences like you and me. The only way we will stop getting movies with twisting facts is when we stop watching movies like this. We are left in a world where we are doubting if this is real life or reel life.

Review of Soul

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by Arjun Mehrotra

The newest Pixar movie “Soul” is a really interesting one because it strays away from the popular “Children’s” plot that we find everywhere. You can watch this movie on Disney+

Soul follows the story of Joe Gardener, who teaches music in a middle school and whose passion is jazz music. He wants to become a jazz musician but his mother Libba Gardener, who runs a tailor shop, persuades him to take the band teacher job. He then finds that Dorothea Williams, one of the biggest musicians in the city, wants him in her band! Joe is very excited because this has always been his dream, but when he’s on his way to the gig, he dies…

Joe falls down a manhole and is taken to the “Great beyond” but Joe isn’t ready for death, he wants to get back to that gig because his life hasn’t started yet. So he escapes and is transported to the ethereal “Great Before” where souls are prepped to go to earth. He needs to find a way to escape and get back to earth and on his way, he meets 22. 22 is an interesting character because she’s the pessimist in this story, she doesn’t want to go to earth and says that earth is very dim and dull. Joe however has very differing views and exclaims “I can’t die! My life was about to begin!” and so Joe and 22 fall through the portal that sends souls to earth but during the rush of coming back, 22 is put in Joe’s body and he is turned into a cat. And so begins 22’s discovery of life on earth. In the beginning, she doesn’t understand how human motion works but by the end of their journey she begins to like earth, talking to a barber, and simply walking through the streets of new york. In the end, Joe manages to get his gig and 22 starts her human life. 

This movie is excellent because even though it talks about mature themes like death and the purpose of life, it conveys it all through a style that children will enjoy as well. In the end, it’s all about Joe’s quest to achieve his goal of being a musician, but the small interactions that he and 22 made along the way, is really beautiful. They discover that your “spark” isn’t just your hobby, it’s your way of life. There’s an amazing scene where 22 and Joe sit on a sidewalk and look at the sunlight while leaves float through the air. The look on 22’s face of discovering the warmth and joy of being on earth, really captures the theme of this movie. The moral is that Joe’s goal wasn’t the biggest thing about this movie, it was just about the joy of living. 

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