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Throwback Thursday: 5 Bollywood Movies That Romanticise Stalking And Harassment

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When I was younger, I had never heard any conversation on how stalking a woman and harassing her into paying attention to you was not romantic. I mean sure, I know how protective my parents have been of my eldest sister who was in college in an era when this was even more prevalent. But Bollywood? It always portrayed stalking in such good light that men who did it thought they were being some sort of romantic hero. They probably had no idea the amount of distress they are causing the women they claim to love. During those days, I have had a guy tell me at the bus stop that he had been crushing on me for months and he was worried when I stopped coming there. He was a complete stranger and it freaked me out. A so-called friend gave my number to a random dude who’d call me and harass me, something he called flirting. Eventually, I investigated and when I confronted him, he blurted out the truth and even felt guilty for having done this. Maybe he did have a conscience and he didn’t intend to trouble me. Maybe he thought if Salman Khan can follow a girl around in Tere Naam, he can at least call her up several times.

At least, way back during Darr and Jeet era, the stalkers were shown as villains or grey characters. I don’t know when they stalked their way into being the romantic heroes. When did it become, “Aww, he is chasing her, stalking her and passionately forcing himself on her. So romantic!” Are you okay in the head? Stalk-holm Syndrome is not love, honey.

It doesn’t matter if the guy is a goon or a good guy. He could be terrible or wonderful. Point is, if his advances are not welcome, stalking a woman and harassing her into talking to him is pathetic. Every stalker thinks he is the ultimate romantic hero and that he is entitled to get the girl. Some men just take the rejection nicely and some throw acid. So romanticizing the behaviour that could lead to a gruesome crime and threat to security is shameful!

Kabir Singh, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Toilet Ek Prem Katha – these movies are not that old and it shows we are still stuck in this stalker-stalkee sub-plot!

Today on Thursday, let’s take a look at five movies that romanticised stalkers in Bollywood way in the past.

Tere Naam

Before Kabir Singh, it was this movie that made the leading character a nationwide sensation. How? The guy (ambitionless, goon-type!) falls in love with a pujari ki beti and stalks her even though she is clearly uncomfortable. When she doesn’t give in, he kidnaps her and scares her into falling in love with him. But because he was obsessed with her till the end, aww, cute. No?

Raanjhanaa

Based in a small city, he has been stalking her since they were kids. When he first started, he got a nice slap from her. Then they grew up and he got a metaphoric slap. Yet, he continued to meddle with her life and have issues with the fact that she was going marry someone else with her consent.

Saawariya

It’s so cute. The main lead is stalking the hell out of this cute, innocent girl while frequently visiting brothels. What a hero, na? Don’t get distracted by his towel-drop and his attractive looks. A stalker is a stalker, even if he is cute!

Haseena Maan Jaayegi

The brother duo in this film is so shady. One of them kisses a woman without her consent, another one stalks a woman and even pretends to be blind for a bit to get with her. And then in a song, they threaten the woman with a knife to say yes, all in good spirit you know!

ALSO READ: Chivalry Or Benevolent Sexism? We Need Manners, Not Misogyny

Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein

Apparently, it’s cute to fake an identity just to start a conversation with a woman you like. Make her believe you are the guy her parents arranged to meet, spend time at her home, get intimate with her and when the real guy arrives, keep making violent threats. The woman is his property after all, even if he lied through the entire time he was with her.

ALSO READ: “You Can’t Do This Because You’re A Girl”: Women Reveal The First Time They Faced Gender Bias

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