In a post #MeToo era, one would think that filmmakers would treat the issues like rape, sexual assault and molestation with sensitivity. However, if the trailer of Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Panday starrer Pati, Patni Aur Woh is anything to go by, then it seems that Bollywood can reduce subjects like marital rape to a punchline and get away with it. The film which is a remake of a 1978 Sanjeev Kumar film by the same name, tries to showcase infidelity (male of course) in a comic way. The similar kind which was used to showcase women as man-eaters, manipulators etc, in films like Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, both of which played a big role in propelling Mr Aaryan into the major league (we’ll get to that later). But it is one thing to go on a woman bashing rant, and another to reduce marital rape to jugaad. A line has been crossed here and Bollywood needs to watch where it is going.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The trailer of Pati, Patni Aur Woh starring Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Pandey is out.
  • It is, however, being criticized for a monologue by Aaryan which trivialises marital rape.
  • It is 2019, do we need films which reduce sensitive issues like marital rape to a joke?
  • It is also certain, however, that the audience will lap up Aaryan’s rant in the film. Thus what needs to change is our mindset.

Kartik Aaryan has become the poster boy of angry young part alpha-part beta male brigade in India who see themselves as victims of reverse sexism at hands of the feminist brigade. Men can do no wrong and women can do no right.

Misogynist scripts with a breathless monologue and sexist punchlines tend to find their way to Kartik Aaryan. He is a decent actor, who grabbed everyone’s attention with that (in) famous one take meltdown in Pyaar Ka Punchnama. Perhaps the actor is now paying the price of the popularity that one scene got him. As a result of which he has become the poster boy of angry young part alpha-part beta male brigade in India, who see themselves as victims of reverse sexism hurled their way by the feminist brigade. Men can do no wrong and women can do no right. Aaryan embarks on a similar rant in his latest film’s trailer, where his character mouths lines like, “Biwi se sex maang lein toh hum bikhaari. Biwi ko sex na de toh hum atyachaari. Aur kisi tarah jugaad laga ke usse sex haasil kar le na, toh balaatkari bhi hum hai.” (If we ask for sex from wife then we are beggars. If we deny sex to wife then we are cruel. And if we somehow manage to “arrange” sex from them, then we are rapists.)

ALSO READ: Women Are Prone To Trivialising Sexual Crimes Just Like Men

Use of words like jugaad only add to the irony here, where a man feels victimised for acquiring sex from his wife. There is no dialogue on consent, as if the word is yet to enter Bollywood’s dictionary. This is peak male entitlement at display, and I can bet my last rupee that this scene will earn applause and hoots in theatres from people who still believe that a married woman has no agency over her body and it “belongs” to her husband. There is a reason why marital rape has still not been criminalised in our country. Former CJI Dipak Misra even said that marital rape cannot be regarded as an offence in India, “because it will create absolute anarchy in families and our country is sustaining itself because of the family platform which upholds family values.”

Use of words like jugaad only add to the irony here, where a man feels victimised for acquiring sex from his wife. There is no dialogue on consent, as if the word is yet to enter Bollywood’s dictionary.

Our patriarchal society has bestowed this sexual entitlement among Indian men, as a result of which women end up internalising the thinking that their sexuality or sexual desires of little or no importance in front of their matrimonial duty to fulfil their husband’s carnal needs. This is why it is not entirely a filmmaker or actor’s fault here, if they think they can get away with such monologues. They just know their audience too well and are interested in only minting money. Women’s welfare is not exactly a priority in the industry and the aftermath of #MeToo is the cruel proof of that.

My only question to makers and the actors who participated in this scene is, how did this dialogue not bother you? With so much conversation around agency and consent, did it not feel inappropriate to trivialise an issue which affects millions of married women in our society? Or was their dilemma not worthy enough of consideration at all? Kartik is a big star now, he could have said no to reciting this line if he wanted to. He could have requested the filmmakers to change the dialogue. But he didn’t. And that actually our own stance on marital rape as a society. We know it bothers so many women. We know we can take measures to safeguard their agency. But we don’t. Why don’t we?

Image Credit: Indian Express

ALSO READ: Dear Bollywood, Why Is Your Focus On Men In Women’s Stories?

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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