Throwback Thursday: In Biwi No 1, Prem Is A Chauvinistic Pig Who Should’ve Been Kicked Out By Both Pooja And Rupali
I am a 90s child and I hold everything from my growing up years very close to my heart. The Tom & Jerry kids show I used to watch every morning before school, the Disney cartoons I used to watch in the evening – so so special. Then there is Small Wonder, The Lizzie McGuire Show, That’s So Raven and so on.
I remember renting DVDs from the local store and watching The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the entire Saw franchise. Yes, it was all great content for children. I was also very heavy on Bollywood and watched every movie possible. Hum Saath Saath Hai, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge and so on. Now I loved all these films until I grew up and realised that most movies in the 90s were good on humour, but at the core all they did was promote misogyny, gender stereotypes, stalking and a skewed sense of sanskaar.
For the past few Thursdays, I have been picking songs that should be revisited just to understand that they weren’t cool after all. Today, I decided to pick a movie – Biwi No. 1. I loved it as a child and if I watch it again, I may find the jokes in it hilarious but let’s not forget that this movie’s core is dark and disturbing.
Infidelity and abandonment
Biwi No 1 revolves around an asshole husband Prem (Salman Khan), who has a gorgeous and wonderful wife, Pooja (Karisma Kapoor). But Prem doesn’t find Pooja attractive anymore, while she is taking care of him, his mother and their children. Of course, to further make the point that Pooja is a susheel bahu, she’s always clad in heavy sarees with sanskaari blouses and paavan gajras in her hair.
So when a modern younger woman, Rupali (Sushmita Sen) walks into Prem’s office for a modelling interview, he is smitten by her and they begin dating. Allow me to reiterate that Rupali because she is “forward” is always in western clothing and flaunting her beauty. When Rupali finds out he is married, he makes up a story that his wife is kinda cuckoo. On Karva Chauth while Pooja is fasting for this undeserving man’s long life, he is at Rupali’s house, canoodling and Karisma’s character catches him red-handed! He chooses Rupali over her, defending his shameless infidelity.
A lot of people try to justify cheating by saying they were drunk or it was like a one-off thing when they erred. But this man here pulled off a full-on affair (it wasn’t even like his marriage was going through a rough phase or anything like that!) just for kicks! Okay, so we established that this guy is a cheater but what about his mother and children? He left them too! He gave up on his entire family just to fuck around with a younger, pretty femme fatale!
Blame’s on the mistress
I may not be best at adulting but I know what being an adult means. Prem voluntarily indulged in an extra-marital affair. He was the one who left his family behind by choice. At the end, I don’t understand how the entire blame can be put on Rupali, who wasn’t even aware that Pooja was not a crazy wife. They made it sound as if he was five and someone kidnapped by enticing him with candy. Honestly, I don’t understand why did Pooja put all that effort in manipulating him to get back to her? Like seriously, what is this man who gets manipulated so easily? Clearly, the movie is all about placing the responsibility of faithfulness of a man on the women. The wife apparently should know how to keep him.
At one point, Salman’s mother suggests to Karisma that she don her sexy avatar because sometimes the ‘wife needs to be a girlfriend’. We can’t even. We can’t…
Do you remember how Pooja starts modelling to prove her worth and show that she can be modern too? Prem gets mad at her for wearing revealing clothes because a wife and a mother of two kids shouldn’t do that. Wait, what? So wives are supposed to saree-clad and mistresses are supposed to be mini-dresses. Wow, with that mindset I wonder how he got two gorgeous women to like him in the first place. Ironically, Prem leaves his saree-clad wife (which apparently means she is sanskaari) for a mini-skirt model (which apparently means she is “modern”.)
What’s funnier is that Prem begins to expect Rupali to be the nurturer of the house and even ends up slapping her in anger. So this guy is clearly confused and a chauvinist and that’s really the worse combination ever! Clearly, Salman’s real life persona seeped into his characters also.
ALSO READ: Throwback Thursday: This Song From Govinda And Karisma Kapoor’s Raja Babu Is All About Harassment And Obscene Pelvic Thrusts
Prem didn’t deserve anyone
Rupali was an independent woman, maybe a bit materialistic but I respect the fact that she didn’t entertain Prem the manchild’s stupid tantrums. Pooja, on the other hand, took an asshole husband who cheated on her and didn’t give a fuck about the entire fam, back. He couldn’t deal with a domestic wife. He couldn’t deal with an independent girlfriend. And then he realised that he was a man child and need a wife who will double up as a mother so let’s go running back to her. The jokes were funny, but none of the things Prem did was.