Have you also imagined yourself in the music video of “Meri aashiqui tum hi ho?” while raindrops pelt the window? Who hasn’t thought of themselves in the heart-crunching video of “Pal Bhar Theher Jao, Dil Ye Sambhal Jaye, Kaise Tumhe Roka Karun?” Is there any teenager who hasn’t tried the- “Dil Pe Patthar Rakh Ke Muh Pe Makeup Kar liya” post a teary eyed breakup.
1. How does Bollywood portray breakups and relationships?
Toni Morrison wasn’t wrong when she quoted romantic love to be one of the most dangerous ideas in the history of human thought. It is beyond sad to see how we have let a whole industry navigate our way through romantic relationships. The ideas of “tere liye hum hai jiye, harr aansu piye” shown in Veer-Zara or the “ek tarfa pyaar ki taaqat hi kuch aur hoti hai” story in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil are deeply flawed . Sure, they get dopamine and norepinephrine pumping in your brain. But let’s not forget that they are movies and are three hour plots meant to make you feel that there is something larger than life. But realistically, there is nothing larger than your life. And there is no reason love or romantic relationships should replace the entirety of your selfhood.
Watching Rani go for a solo honeymoon trip to Paris because “Mera toh itna life kharab hogaya hai” or listening to Veronica drown in Honey Singh Music along with nicotine since “Test drive mere saath aur ghar le jaao mere bestfriend ko?” can definitely make our hearts lurch. Life hasn’t been kind to a lot of us. Things don’t work out. You fall in love. You fall out of love. Someone loves you. Often, someone stops loving you. Maybe someone never loved you. Feelings are complicated and are subject to change, just like weather. That doesn’t mean you start singing “Tujhe Bhula Diya” for crispy winters or lust for summer winds on “Ye Dooriyaan”.
2. Healthy plots would have been like.
It feels wonderful to imagine that you are Geet from Jab We Met and your Aditya will show up after Anshuman breaks your heart. But there is no bright wonderful “Mauja hi Mauja” at the end of these relationships. Some end peacefully. A lot of them leave us disoriented. Quite a few of them can leave us emotionally disturbed. That, however, is no excuse to subscribe to inebriation and pursue risky decisions.
Kabir Singh married Preeti because that was a part of the script. Else he would have gotten a series of court notices. Stings hard but Geet should have been more responsible for her life. We all know Anjali shouldn’t have dumped Aman. Rohit shouldn’t have settled for Naina, if she did not love him equally. Shanaya should not have cheated on Rohan Nanda. Naina shouldn’t have asked a man named Bunny to teach her self-love. Manu shouldn’t have to put up with Tanu’s bad-mouthedness just because he loves her.
3. What can we do instead?
Unlike pop culture, there are healthy ways of processing feelings. In all honesty, they do not include “Jag Soona Soona Laage”. Trust us, “Teri Meri Meri Teri Prem Kahani” is not what you need to listen to after a breakup. Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha are just blinded by capitalism when they slow dance on “Harr kisi ko nahi milta yahan pyaar zindagi mei”. There is no manual to living life. There are endless experiences in this bittersweet journey and we pick what we live. A healthy direction towards processing our emotions is what we need.
Dwijal Mehta, a counselling psychologist says, “Writing letters to your ex-partner but not posting them helps you get out feelings that you may not have accepted. It is very important to talk to people you trust about your emotions, that supports you in processing what you have been through. Pop culture dramatises grieving and often encourages substance abuse. Feelings shall not disappear because of substance abuse and shall definitely be felt at some point. Bollywood never shows people going to psychologists or therapists for their grief which is sad because we don’t only treat disorders. People are easily influenced by these things and do not see how real people should be dealing with relationships and breakups.”
Views expressed are the author’s own