Throwback Thursday: Bollywood Movies That Reinforce Stereotypes And Show Women Suffering Through Bad Marriages
I am not married; I have been in relationships but they say marriage is quite different. But I am also in an age group where I have several friends and acquaintances who have a husband. And let’s just say, there are times when I hold myself back from saying things that would either upset my friend or evoke a fight between her and her husband – who knows? I don’t want to be responsible for any of that, so I keep my opinions to myself, carefully taking a mental note of things I should at least aim to not do, after I get married.
They say, once you tie the knot, your husband should be your priority. Of course, the same is expected out of the man as well. No, he’s not supposed to make himself a priority, although several desi men end up doing that. He is supposed to prioritise his wife, which means he should be interested in her well-being and happiness. And marrying a man doesn’t mean that you let go of your individuality. Yet, here I am, really upset about the fact that my best friend – who is apparently more married than the women who are still living their lives – hasn’t gone on a single vacation with me since she got herself a husband.
Meanwhile, I have first-hand witnessed an acquaintance dying to get home because she must serve her husband cereal. So she has to cut short her time with her friends because her husband is too challenged to pour milk over a bowl of cereal? And that’s how she is being a “good wife”. Apparently, her husband doesn’t “allow” her to go on holidays and I am just like bro, what does that even mean?
Oh boy, this is still the privileged club of Indian wives. Why is it that women give in to assuming a lesser role or serving their husbands? Why do smart, young women give in to acting like their husbands are the boss of them and give up on their autonomy? Of course, it’s the way we’ve grown up. It’s how conditioned we have been socially. And Bollywood has barely done much to break that, even though it holds much power.
Bollywood has shown some really oppressive and toxic marriages in the movies and I’ve picked some that have been especially cringe-worthy.
Biwi no 1
Fuckboi husband enjoys a life of chill because his saree-clad wife smells of gajra, serves him gajar ka halwa, and takes care of his two kids and mother. But Mr. Perv gets attracted to a model and abandons his family but when she doesn’t mother him, runs back to his wife, awaiting his return. Life is really easy for some people! Meanwhile, Karisma who plays his wife takes him back without much ado because you don’t want to make your husband go through more emotionally when he’s already been dumped by his sexy mistress. This movie literally propagates every single stereotype that’s inane and nonsensical. We’re not here for it.
Naïve girl marries a rich, authoritative man because he got stumped with her beauty. She takes her brother as dahej because separation anxiety and all that shit, who eventually gets treated like the servant of the house. Meanwhile, who knew this man has no control over his dick and will fall for the first woman who hits on him? And the wife takes him back because hota hai, right?
In this movie, not one woman character has a voice or a spine or a say. Needless to mention, it’s crap and if your marriage is like this, you’re better off without it.
Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam
Another film with the ‘men will be men’ theme is this one. This man (played by Shahrukh Khan) has no manners, respect, or empathy. But the worse is that he has no trust in his wife, hates her friendship with her best friend, and enjoys controlling her. Also, since she is his wife , he must have access to her sexually without bothering to even indulge in any romance. And the woman must accept it because hello, she a wifey now.
While a little jealousy is good and maybe even cute, Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam some messed up writing where everyone is shaken by the woman having feelings for anyone other than the husband. It was one of the movies where it feels like the woman is a bystander in her own marriage, and that can’t ever be a good thing.
This movie revolves around a husband with a fragile ego who has a problem with his wife’s pre-marital high status. He treats her like shit, throws her out of the house, and then when he finds out she delivered a baby, steals her child. And voila, that’s how she gets back to him. Such love, much wow. How hard is it to not be an emotional wreck and a manchild? Is it just the wife’s job to understand?
Why do we allow so much leeway for men’s egos? We shall never know. But yes, this one stinks of nonsense and was deeply problematic in its portrayal of a marriage- one that like the other ones on the list, is based on the theory that marriages revolve around men and their needs only.
Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya
This movie promotes a twisted propaganda: you must stay married no matter what. It doesn’t matter if your husband abuses you, beats the shit of you, treats you like trash, and gets home a mistress. It revolves around three men and how their penis pride doesn’t let them see their wives become financially independent. This despite the fact that they cannot run a household by themselves.
ALSO READ: This Guy Asked His Bride To Not Wear A White Gown Because She Isn’t A Virgin. Why Is She Even Marrying This Idiot?
Our society believes in upholding the age-old ideologies of marriage, which often come as a tool of furthering the imbalance in gender roles. Decade after decade, a major chunk of our society shows great resistance because some of us have been indoctrinated to perceive man-woman relationship a certain way. And for others, it’s about convenience and vested interests that let them behold their power. It’s time to hold men accountable for making a marriage work and grow the fuck up. A manchild husband is not what we want. It’s easier to raise an actual child single-handedly, I feel. Maybe, it’s time we shatter the gender-roles associated with marriage.