Salman Khan Films: One does not view a masala, box-office blockbuster films with a critical feminist lens. Next time someone tells you this, ask them if they too like their heroes have internalised the sexism and call it ‘mindless entertainment’. Cinema reflects a society in an exaggerated tone but it also influences the way people talk about certain things and definitely normalises usage of dialogues like paati parmeshwar hota hai (husband is god) etc.
In the 1990s, the hero saving his heroine in style was seen as an indomitable trend or a hero lecturing a woman on her moral boundaries was seen as hooting entertainment. The era has given us a lot of films to remember but at the same time cult films of actors like Salman Khan, which makes a grown-up feminist heart cringe and wriggle.
In his career till date in Bollywood, Salman Khan has given some major box office hits and after a point in time, since he became the mega superstar or the bhai, his films relied more on his screen presence than the film script or plot. Women were mostly a prop or an accessory in the film, example Wanted which starred Ayesha Takia as the female lead opposite Khan.
Here is a list of sexist dialogues from Salman Khan films that we pray to never hear in reality or cinema again:
1. “Tu ladki ke peeche bhagega, ladki paise ke peeche bhagegi. Tu paise ke piche bhagega, ladki tere peeche bhagegi (If you run after the girl, she will run after money. If you run after money, then the girl will run after you)”: Wanted, 2009
The dialogue reflects the wrong psychological assessment that men have had for generations about women and their eternal love for money or material sukh. Dear writers, think of better and creative dialogues than hinging on to the same old gold digger ones.
Suggested Reading: How Bollywood 2021 Put Sexist Dialogues On The Headlines. Yet Again.
2. “Pyar se de rahe hain, rakh lo warna thappar maar ke bhi de sakte hai (Giving this to you with love, take it or else I can slap and give it to you)”: Dabangg, 2010
So, violence is okay? The film is set in India where cases of domestic violence and violence against women in relationships are already high, this line just reinforces it. The idea that in love, a slap is okay, is wrong. No, it is not okay to slap and force a woman to do something that you want or wish to be done.
3. “Meri na mein hai haan (My no means yes)”: Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, 1998
No, brother. Na is na, no means no. If one tries to follow you after saying no, then it is called stalking, which is a crime in India. If a woman says no to anything, accept it and keep your misogyny silent.
4. “Beti toh hoti hi hain patang ki tarah…shaadi ke pehle apne chatt par udti hai…aur shaadi ke baad dor kisi aur ke haathe mein (Daughters are like kites… before marriage, they fly in our (parents) terrace… after marriage, the thread of the kite is in someone else’s hand): Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, 1999
This entire idea of a woman being a kite or property or wealth is simply frustrating. People need to open their eyes and see women as people, living and breathing human beings with a mind and a heart of their own. There is a thin line between calling a system bad and glorifying it, cinema needs to keep that in mind.
5. “Ladkiwale hain toh jhukna toh padega (Girl’s side so they will have to bend)”: Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!
This age-old belief of women’s family in a wedding is lower in power hierarchy than men’s family has been systematically happening in reality and relentlessly being reenacted in cinema. This needs to stop now.