|On-screen King & Queen of 'tragedy'|
I would imagine that laughter clubs achieve only as much as the comedy shows, providing no more than momentary balm to an aching soul. It doesn't go any further, as people continue to carry huge weight of worries on their shoulders. Failure to offload it has led the society feel the unprecedented accumulation of frustration, depression, anxiety, and anger. It is a fuse that can and does trigger massive explosions every now and then. Won't you agree that not forced laughter but spontaneous tears can ease peoples lives?
It did work however, and in not too distant a past. Middle-aged movie buffs would reminiscent with me the time when emotional family dramas on screen would have hundred of viewers sobbing in the darkness of a cinema hall. Not anymore, as wholesome movies have been replaced with wholesale products with first-week box office collection being the only indicator of a success. A market economy has little room for sob stories!
It goes without saying that for the better part of the last hundred years, ever since Indian cinema came to life in 1912, the Bollywood movies have helped millions of viewers drain excess tears to remain psychologically healthy. It is an act of emotional incontinence that provides a variety of emotions find an easy escape. Once you are done with it, you are ready again to face the vagaries of life again. No wonder, sobbing stories have been the biggest hits of commercial cinema.
Hundred years of Indian cinema produced tragedy kings and queens, irresistible Dilip Kumar and quintessential Meena Kumari (see picture) portrayed grief-stricken tragic roles pulled out from real life, which helped millions of viewers fulfill their biological and psychological obligation of shedding tears. At an immense personal cost, the actors proved that far from being a sign of weakness shedding tears was indeed an act of strength. There is nothing quite as cathartic as a good cry!
Time has come to give 'cry' a public image of strengthening vulnerable souls, much like in Japan where adults gather together to watch tear-jerking movies, and cry in public as a way of releasing stress. Dubbed 'rui-katsu' meaning tear-seeking, this new social phenomenon is spreading across the country as most people have come to realize that only through a good old cry can one get the feeling of having a huge weight removed from their shoulders. Any takers!