Throwback Thursday: Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam Has Men Telling Women How To Dress And Zero Likeable Characters
Very rarely we find a movie that has zero characters worth liking and Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam is one of them. The characters are so unlikeable that I feel like irrespective of how terrible they are, they kinda deserve each other. It’s a movie made with characters who have mastered the art of living as dysfunctional human beings and getting trapped in the toxic environment they created themselves.
The film stars Madhuri Dixit (Radha), Shah Rukh Khan (Gopal) and Salman Khan (Suraj) as leads. It’s not exactly a love triangle though Gopal thought for the longest time that it is. Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam aims to deal with insecurities and jealousy in marriage while also establishing a need for defining what is acceptable. But the writers weren’t satisfied with just that. They made sure to add every bit of blood boiling, cringe-worthy toxic bits that will make you hate every human in every frame of the film.
So Radha, her brother Prashant (Atul Agnihotri) used to play with Gopal and his sister Nita (Suman Ranganathan), as their grandfather was taking care of his friend’s children after he passed away. Years pass by and they have never spoken to each other. Meanwhile, when they were kids, Radha and Prashant’s mom welcomed in an orphan and named him Suraj, who grows up to become a singing sensation.
Right from the start, it is established that Radha has a knack for making unhealthy attachments with the men in her life and acts like a mother to them. She goes on to spoil her younger brother, never encouraging him to stand on his feet and even intends to take him with her after marriage. Meanwhile, she goes on to spoil Suraj too, by not just cooking for him but also serving food on his plate because what are women for?
Radha’s character is shown to fit into the idealistic, sexist boxes that our society has created to restrict women. She is sanskaari, takes it as a life purpose to take care of everyone, and treat men like children, making them rely heavily on her to do all the domestic duties. She is saree-clad and refuses to get out of her sarees even while sleeping at night.
Gopal makes a kickass entry as a misogynistic, offensive guy. He thinks he can call out his personal secretary for apparently wearing indecent clothes. He asks her, “Jism kyu dikhaati reheti ho?” and tells her to wear high neck blouses. All this when not even an inch of her cleavage was visible. Even if it was, he had no right to say that to a woman. If he was a real person in today’s world, he would get punched.
Now at some point, Radha’s mother meets with an accident and dies. And OMG, nobody gave a fuck in this movie! They were as indifferent as they feel while taking the trash out of their house. So their grandfather takes the sibling duo home and Prashant is rather excited to be living in a big house. Radha too has forgotten about her mother and is seen chirping around. Her mother’s own father was heard saying that happiness has returned to the house. What is happening here? Who are these cold-blooded people?
What happens next is probably the only time you feel there is gender equality in the film. The grandfather decides for both Gopal and Radha that they are to get married. No questions asked. Yes, that’s what our parents will be happiest doing because marriage is not supposed to be our choice, right?
Anyway, so they do get married and Gopal is all into getting some action. He feels so entitled to have sex with his wife. Gopal is like a little kid who suddenly got a bag full of candies. They are never shown having real conversations. The only time he is interested in spending time with her is when he wants sex.
While Gopal is so sexually charged, Radha’s libido seems to be lost somewhere between her maternal instincts, Suraj’s diarrhoea distress calls, and her bro’s utter uselessness. She is so engrossed in serving these domestically challenged men and seeks validation out of being needed by them. Or that women have always been expected to pretend they don’t have sexual desires. Suddenly, we can’t expect women to just switch roles, right? In several scenes, she is shown as utterly sexidiot, a word that I just coined for someone who doesn’t understand sex and sexual cues. She runs away whenever Gopal tries to build physical intimacy or wants to invite the entire fam jam on their Swiss honeymoon. God bless Gopal’s libido.
Now in an unfortunate turn of events, Suraj reveals that he too is going to Switzerland, and Radha, stupid Radha asks him to join in. On their honeymoon. Of course, since men have not learnt to actually communicate, Gopal gets mad but instead of talking it out with his wife, he goes to the travel agent. There he acts like a total jackass when they say they cannot cancel his swiss ticket. But then a well-intending woman tells him that Switzerland is a wonderful place. However, it pisses him off so much that a woman schooled him, he tells her to first wear decent clothes and then talk. Wow, this man really likes to decide what women must wear. And clearly, he has no respect for those in anything but a saree.
Now they want to show how cute Radha is because she doesn’t even know the name of the place where they went instead of Switzerland. But that’s just dumb and I wish they just stopped making women look like that.
Meanwhile, Gopal has been insulting Prashant left, right, and center. First, he accuses him of theft and then of being a perv with his sister. So Radha sends him away and later that night calls Suraj and cries her heart out. That makes Gopal even more jealous as he is certain by now that Radha has a thing for Suraj.
But here’s the thing Gopal, maybe their closeness is slightly too much but you have not been much of a connection. All Gopal wants is sex and then complains that his wife prefers to talk to Suraj more than with him. Maybe if you weren’t so self-centered, you would have thought about understanding your wife or finding her worthy of a real conversation.
Gopal also promotes domestic violence in the film. First, he slaps his sister, who apparently has no issues with getting beaten up if done in private. Second, he goes on to tell his secretary who gets physically abused by her husband to just suck it up. He tells her it’s not a big deal and she should know to handle her husband, and if she can’t then too bad because husbands are God. My ears! What did I subject them to? He is generally aggressive, be it almost strangling Radha with a tie after he gets mad at her or breaking glasses in anger.
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He finally gets too jealous and throws Radha out and later sends her divorce papers. Things get sorted eventually when Suraj and Radha claim to share a brother-sister like relationship and Suraj’s girlfriend Suman schools Gopal for being a prick. They both accept their mistakes and you feel like wth they deserve each other. One who doesn’t respect and one who has no self-respect – just perfect!