Throwback Thursday: Bandhan Is About Treating Women Like Disposable Objects While Salman Khan Throws Several Insults Around
For the past couple of months, I have been on an amusing journey of going through Bollywood films we grew up with, again . We watched these movies when we were too young to understand how terrible they were. Which is why I revisit them so we can understand just how deeply horrifying these movies really were. Filled to the brim with all things shady – from sexism to shaming – these gems of our Bollywood are proper A-list movies or so they claim to be.
This week, I decided to revisit Salman Khan’s Bandhan which released in 1998 but with values of biblical times. Honestly, till date I have watched so many bad movies but none of them in the recent past made me cringe so much. So brace yourself for this is gonna make you want to throw up a little.
Raju (Salman Khan) and Pooja (Ashwini Bhave) are a brother sister duo who are each other’s life. Pooja has treated Raju like her own kid and he too loves her selflessly. Now their parents are barely interested in them because Pooja roams around in torn blouses and Raju is a guy so he doesn’t need a shirt or so his mom thinks. Their parents on the other hand are dressed in proper clothes.
Pooja is beautiful, sings like Goddess Saraswati and is the poster child of sanskaar. When Thakur Suraj Pratap (Jackie Shroff) lays eyes on her, he decides to marry her and he does. And then she feels terrible that her parents cannot afford to give the Thakur dowry he didn’t even ask for. You know because the dowry system is such a noble thing to hold on to even though it’s been criminalised. So she decides to take his little brother in dowry because you know servants are expensive and shit. He grows up to be their full-time servant but he doesn’t know that and nobody tells him, except at a later point in the film.
Suraj Pratap has a sister Jyoti (Rambha) who grew up playing with Raju and is returning after completing her studies in the city. Raju goes to pick her up and randomly calls other girls (who are not Jyoti) moti and khoti as if that was supposed to be funny. But this is the same guy who thinks chanting “Jo jija ji kahenge main karunga” a thousand times is adorable so…he also tells Jyoti that she is inappropriately dressed because of her outfit’s short hemline. Later he also goes on to body shame Jyoti and suggests she go on a no-carb diet to lose weight.
But you shouldn’t feel so bad for her because she’s a bird of the same flock. Jyoti goes on to call a girl kaali kalluti, basically shaming her for her dark skin. At some point in the movie she also pretends to have night blindness to manipulate Raju into marrying her out of sympathy. This is when Jyoti says several offensive things about people who are differently-abled.
While you’re trying hard to digest all the body-shaming, colour-shaming, and humiliating handicap people, Raju goes on to be a complete asshole. He thinks that it’s okay to beat women up and slaps Jyoti when she confesses that she lied to him to gain his love. Earlier in the past, he also spoke about dowry that if Jyoti marries a zamindaar they will pay him 2 crores and if it’s a doctor then 1.5 crores. You would think a man like that would make your blood but none of these things offend Jyoti. In fact, she is all over him and falls head over heels in love.
All this while, Thakur Suraj Pratap is acting like he is the most chaste and honourable man ever. But bring the neighbourhood hoe in a low-cut blouse throwing herself at him and his morals leave the country. He meets with a tiny accident and she takes him home to nurse him. She sits at his feet, pretending to apply medicine on his wound and he is nicely staring at her breasts. She catches him doing that and then says a few really cringy lines implying that his eyes have been poking at her breasts and whether his dick is still functional and all that shit. Then they kiss because come on, he’s a man and it’s impolite to reject a woman’s advances. Why should a man ever be held responsible for this?
Very casually, the hoe and the hoe in disguise start dating and he is not one bit guilty or concerned about his wife. In fact, he feels he is entitled to have an affair and his family including his wife should be chill about it. Eventually, when the police raids the hoe’s house and finds Thakur there as her customer, he tells them he wants to marry her because his wife is not able to get pregnant.
He marries the hoe and tells the wife, ‘Hey accept her as my co-wife’ and that she should be happy because she will be the senior one with more experience. That shit really happened. In fact, he even gave all his wealth to this woman. But then she has a change of heart and melts because he married her even though she was a prostitute.
ALSO READ: Throwback Thursday: Vivah Is Doused In Sexism, Beauty Stereotypes And Features Two Horny Individuals Who Are Too Shy To Get It On
Of course at the end, the filmmakers killed the prostitute and everything goes back to normal. I don’t know with a husband like that, how is that even possible. He just treated you like trash and now you’re treating him like God. Again, this was made in 1998 and not the 1920s.