Throwback Thursday: Chal Mere Bhai Is About Sexist, Privileged Men Who Want Women To Dance To Their Tunes
I used to really enjoy watching Mad Men because it really intrigued me to watch how advertising worked back then. In fact, not just that, I enjoyed watching how gender dynamics were in the 60s. Of course, they were far from equal. The women got secretarial jobs while the boys club occupied the top seats. These men roamed in packs and acted totally douchebag-y since they could, essentially because the women in their office were their assistants. The show is a period drama and shows exactly the kind of disgusting misogyny that existed back then. It wasn’t rare or uncommon, it was the norm. It was before the women even realized that it’s not supposed to be that way.
But to have a plot based on the same brand of sexism in a Bollywood movie released in the year 2000 and which is not a period drama, what is the excuse here? Chal Mere Bhai starring Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan, and Karisma Kapoor isn’t a love story; it’s a story about a boys club bullying a woman because they could.
Sapna (Karisma Kapoor) is a young girl from Pune who moved to Mumbai in search of a job. Pune is, in my knowledge a city, but Sapna has a small town appeal in the way that she has trouble doing basic urban things like commuting and being short with strangers. She heads for an interview at Oberoi & Sons for the position of a secretary and has high hopes even though she can’t type to save her life. See that’s the kind of confidence I need in my life.
She makes a terrible first impression on Vicky (Sanjay Dutt), the MD of the company and who is interviewing her. When they reject her because nobody wants a gazelle as a secretary, she gets mad and starts crying because how dare someone rejected her for the right reasons? She manages to get the job by throwing tantrums like a 5-year-old princess (she’s poor but thank God she’s pretty!). What a bargain though! I’d definitely take her street shopping with me.
On her first day of the job, she ends up hijacking Prem’s (Salman Khan) car because she is getting late to work. She forces him to take her to work. For someone who isn’t rich, how does she have such princess tendencies? He is a total stranger but he does it anyway. And she has the audacity to order him around while at it and say things like “please drive fast” in a mean tone. This is not cute, this is shitty narcissist behavior. Btw, on her first day at work, she tells her boss that she’s there to work and not to look at his face. “Kaam karne aayi hoon, aapka chehra dekhne nahi,” she said. Tell me, how is this woman even remotely professional?
Anyway, so the brothers think she is a dingus and she kinda is. She has the IQ of a goldfish and struggles to do the most basic tasks in life like stapling papers, not forgetting her bag at work, etc. But that doesn’t give these manchildren a free pass to bully her. They treat her like a slave, making her do anything and everything and apologising constantly on things she’s not responsible for.
But you kinda blame it on their grandmother’s typical Indian maternal instincts that put sons on a pedestal. She makes sure Prem is spoilt and happily unemployed. He pretends to be passionate about acting when the only time he actually acted was in the opening song, which was actually shitty too. At that point, you feel Tiger Shroff has more scope than he does. On the other hand, he continues to enjoy all the financial benefits of being born with a golden spoon. He has servants around taking care of his every need and he is living a royal life without having done anything to earn it.
Vicky isn’t quite a sweetheart either. He is impatient and loves women who can dance on his tunes. His ex-gf died in a car accident with him because he kept speeding up until she agrees to marry him at the earliest. Guess that didn’t happen.
So at some point, all the characters in the movie are having a little vacation in their farmhouse. The bullying continues because the penis pride boys want to feel better about the lack of their own personality by pulling a woman down. Why? Because she is their employee and they are her source of livelihood.
But there is a twist of events when Prem saves Sapna from drowning in the pool (reluctantly though) and she holds on to him in the water. His boner gets activated and manipulates his mind into thinking that he actually likes her. From that point, he stops looking at her like she’s scum of the society but more like a pair of tits. He suddenly has fallen in love with her and this is the same woman he was dissing all this while before all that touching and feeling happened.
After returning from their lil vacay, the family wants Sapna as wife for Vicky. But Prem and Sapna are secretly dating. Vicky ends up falling for her too because both these bros just want a woman who’d be their PA for life and serve them while they continue to be assholes. Vicky tells his family he wants to marry Sapna and Prem decides to sacrifice his love. Prem pretends to be cheating on her so she kinda goes along with the Vicky thing. None of these guys actually ask Sapna what she wants. Vicky hasn’t even confessed his feelings to Sapna because who says I love you to his future wife? He has his family to set things up for him and give him on a platter.
ALSO READ: Throwback Thursday: Mohabbatein Is Full Of Egoistic, Dumb And Sexist Men Who Keep Wanting The Women To Change
At the end, Vicky passes Sapna back to Prem and she laughs it off. This woman here is every sexist man’s dream! She doesn’t get offended, forgives easily and serves them with pleasure.