A Reddit Thread Discussed How The Misogynistic Characters In 90s Bollywood Movies Encouraged Rape Culture. These Truth Bombs Will Ruin Your Favourite Movies
According to the mainstream Bollywood movies from the 90s, it is humanly impossible for a women to resist a man who stalks her, bullies her and forcibly kisses her. If, in an extremely rare case, she still doesn’t reciprocate your aggressively romantic feeling, abduct her, slap her and your job is done. Before you know it she will be singing with you in the garden and fighting her own loving and protective father for a goon like you. Because you know, in the end, haseena maan jaegi. This has been the pathetic idea of romance in Bollywood that has swayed people to follow the footsteps of iconic roadside romeos like Rahul, Vijay, Ajay, Amar and Raj.
Recently, a Reddit user threw light on the messed up theme Bollywood has been following and influencing the rape culture by showing how misogyny is okay and harassing your crush is an expression of love. The user said, “Right from my childhood, I noticed my parents would watch these weird movies with terrible dialogues, random ass fights (lame AF), dupatta grabbing, nagins and traumatizing CG. Also, every single one of them had the same name(ref: biwi no.1, hero no.1, kuch kuch, dil- something, one man army?, one man tiger???).”
The thread titled Do you think the 90’s Bollywood movies are responsible for the misogynistic behaviour in majority of Indians and even contributed to rape culture? sparked off discussion where desis pitched in with their own traumatic experience with the rape scenes in movies. One user said, “Definitely! Remember ‘Tu ha kar ya na kar tu hai meri kiran‘ song/movie?” Another user pointed out, “Yes and it’s still being peddled mostly in the soap operas people watch on star, zee, sony etc, some hindi dubbed south indian movies i come across usually have immense amount misogynistic tropes in them also.” Growing up, we all have noticed how the hero wins the girl by unnecessarily harassing her and later saving her from the same harassment by a villain. But we were probably too young to understand how problematic that was at that time.
Actually if you think about it, 90s movies are not the only ones to be blamed for this. Bollywood has been feeding this disturbing notion of stalking, harassing and ultimately raping a girl (in cases she still doesn’t give in to his unrequited love) for years and is still continuing to do so. Let’s start with the decade in which movies made tons of money from their rape scenes, the 1980s. This was the era when people were crazy about cinema. However, many flocked to the theatres only to watch a headstrong girl being put in her place by revenge rape by the scorned lover. Put on any movie from the 80s that has Gulshan Grover or Ranjit in it, and you’d see at least one scene where the women is being molested, eve teased if not raped. Some of these scenes are so disgusting and gut-wrenching, it will trigger you to the core.
Again, in the 90s, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla and Karishma Kapoor have all reluctantly or voluntarily starred in rape scene in their movies. In Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaenge, Raj feels that pulling Simran into the train gave him the license to annoy the shit out of her by flirting with her throughout the journey, “accidentally” ripping her dress and joking about him having sex with her when she was unconscious. What part of a girl waking up in a strange bed with changed clothes thinking she’s been raped is funny to this jerk? These movies and their extremely flawed characters not only normalised rape culture but also had the nerve to casually slip it in as humour. Sorry for spoiling it for you, but that’s the truth.
If you think this is a thing of the past and we have evolved since then, think about Raanjhanaa which glorifies stalking and blackmailing a girl by slitting wrist until she agrees and conveniently packages it as (one-sided) ” true love.” Then there’s the latest addition to the club of misogyny, Kabir Singh who goes berserk every time Preeti so much as talk to someone else. If this is love, I am happy to be single.
Also Read: Throwback Thursday: Akele Hum Akele Tum Exposed The Misogyny In Marriages And Talked About Ambitious Women
The problematic theme in Bollywood further perpetuates misogyny and rape culture in India, and this has been talked about a lot in recent years in the media. Not long back, AIB made a parody video that starred Vicky Kaushal and Richa Chaddha in which they show sexual harassment depicted in Bollywood movies through the ages. And when they say ages, they really show how characters have been stalking and harassing their love interest since the 60s and 70s and it is not only acceptable but amusing to the audience. Also, in an episode of Satyamev Jayate, When Masculinity Harms Men: Reel vs Real host Aamir Khan admitted he has also been a part of movies which glorified harassment of women and is ashamed of it.
In India, Bollywood movies and the character influence the public to an unfathomable extent. The actors specially need to understand this and be a little more careful about what they portray on screen. Their fans may not pick up on the good traits of their character but the most definitely pick up on the bad ones. Hell, if stalking a girl or molesting her on the streets can land Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan a pretty girlfriend, why won’t they give it try? Right? Wrong! The actors are literally worshiped in this country and from their style to behaviour, their characters are imitated by the masses so it is not at all shocking to see men behaving like them and believing in acting like jerks with women is justifiable. But it is not okay and the film fraternity should be at least teensy bit concerned and responsible about it.