Looking For Dating Advice? Bollywood Has The Worst To Offer
Arre, hear me out. I still think Poo and Rohan look great together, I’m not delusional. It’s obvious Bollywood works where lehengas, sangeets and NRI nostalgia are involved. However, Bollywood dating advice glorifies the abject mistreatment and objectification of women and seems to have led guys all over the country to attempt courtship rituals practiced only by animals in heat.
Let’s jump right into it. You know how in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Raj (SRK) pursues Simran (Kajol) in a train, attempting various ‘romantic’ tactics? Yeah, when he dangles her bra in her face and constantly invades her personal space, creeping her out multiple times. Cute, na? Not even slightly. The film is a borderline cult classic, and yet I can confirm on behalf of every woman who has ever lived that if a boy dangles my lingerie near my nose he will not survive the hour, or at the very least, get my number. Somehow, this behaviour becomes the foundation of saccha pyaar, and Raj and Simran end up on a train and into the sunset.
Okay, enough with the flashback- let’s jump forward to Student of the Year. Naturally, we’re talking about the first one, because I’m still scarred from the sequel. While SOTY is one of my favourite films to binge at every sleepover, it always bothers me how the gorgeous and kind Shanaya (Alia Bhatt) remains in a toxic relationship with her cheating, inattentive boyfriend, Rohan (Varun Dhawan). She tries to justify her actions with the infamous words, “Mujhe rishte todna acha nahi lagta” and constantly takes digs at Tanya, her rival, instead of holding Rohan responsible for his actions, even using his best friend, Abhi (Siddharth Malhotra) to make him jealous in a desperate bid to be treated with a little more respect. If you do this in real life, you will not be getting a version of Gulaabi Aankhein written for you if you treat your girl with such disrespect, you will only feel terrible that you took Bollywood dating advice.
Moving on from the era of sparkly red headbands that were apparently socially acceptable, let’s consider Kabir Singh. Arguably a film with amazing music, the dynamic between Kabir (Shahid Kapoor) and Preeti(Kiara Advani) is less than fabulous. His overbearing attitude and controlling behaviour (like declaring that she is exclusive to him before an entire class) are indulged by Preeti to a significant extent- she even chooses him before her forced marriage despite his self-destructive, addiction-spurred actions.
The message that their relationship appears to convey, especially through the romantic music and their ultimate reconciliation after his temporary epiphany, is that ‘love’ is a palpable excuse for dangerous behaviour, which it is not, by the way.
Another trope that Bollywood seems to be fond of is women ending up dating their stalkers. Be it Toilet: Ek Prem Katha or Raanjhanaa, Bollywood thinks that creeping out women by constantly following them around, taking their pictures, or stealing their belongings such as a handkerchief, a hairpin or a watch etc, is cute, because clearly these skills do impress women. Imagine having to explain to your mom why you have been misplacing more handkerchiefs as a grown-up than you did as a toddler. A sure shot way to piss off a girl, and ofcourse her mother.
I’d be the happiest person in the world the day anyone sings You Are My Soniya to me, but it’s not going to work even a little bit if they attempt to erase my identity or freedom. That disclaimer at the beginning of films that announces that the events of Bollywood movies are not based on anyone in real life should probably include a few words of caution about Bollywood dating advice because that’s not normal either.
The views expressed are the author’s own.