In the bustling world of Bollywood, the lives of celebrity couples often take centre stage, with their public displays of affection, mutual encouragement, promotions in their professional pursuits, and setting relationship goals attracting the attention of their fans.
However, the spotlight on Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor isn't always positive. Kapoor has found himself mired in controversy multiple times due to his attempts at humour, which have occasionally veered into sexist and misogynistic statements.
On the other side of the coin, Bhatt's statements about her relationship with Kapoor have occasionally shed light on complex and even problematic dynamics between the two.
Alia Bhatt's Viral Lipstick Statement
In her recent revelation during the Heart Of Stone promotional activities, Alia Bhatt revealed that her husband (Kapoor) used to ask her to wipe off her lipstick, as he preferred her natural lip colour, during their outings when they were dating.
She said, “Because one thing my husband
says when we used to go out at night, he used to say 'Wipe that off. Wipe that off'. Because he loves the natural colour of my lip.”
The video has been widely shared online ever since it was posted. Later, Bhatt added another thought: "He's my happy place because I can be my truest, most authentic self with him." Still, many people online are not fully convinced. They point out that he was the one who asked her to wipe off the lipstick; he described her as having a loud personality; and she even agrees that he doesn't like her voice getting too loud.
I wasted no time and zoomed off to have a chat with my gal pals. I popped them the question: If they ever went through something similar, what was their move then? Because the Ralia duo (that's Kapoor and Bhatt) surely aren't sailing this ship alone, right? Plenty of us have sailed in similar waters, faced comparable waves, and aced the art of steering such situations with our own partners, husbands, or boyfriends.
Stepping Into Alia Bhatt's Shoes
Ragini Daliya shares a heartfelt perspective, reflecting on her own journey from a toxic relationship where she faced gaslighting due to her quiet nature. She explains, "I've been there. Bhatt's video hit close because I was made to feel wrong for being quiet when that's just me."
She adds that her current partner, now her husband, stands as an unwavering pillar of support. She reveals, "Now, I'm with someone who lifts me unconditionally. Looking back, I was unaware, enduring the hurtful remarks silently. But today, having grown wiser, I would have stood up against a 'wipe it off' comment."
My partner does sometimes get surprised by my clothing choices. But his 'you will wear this' is soon recovered with 'if you are comfortable, I have no problem'.
Daliya's insight carries a message that I believe many of us could benefit from. She states, "I genuinely believe it boils down to growing together. We can't in any way dictate our choices or our aspirations to our partner; we must learn and grow as individuals but as a team."
Nikita Gupta's story resonates with a similar experience, where her boyfriend expressed his preference for her natural skin and disapproved of makeup. However, Gupta chose a different path from Bhatt's response. She recalls, "I remember wearing makeup despite his disapproval, which led to a major argument between us."
Gupta underscores that the days of partners sacrificing their desires or passively accepting situations are behind us. Today, a genuine relationship thrives on mutual boundaries and open discussions. She asserts, "By the end of it, we both realised the importance of setting healthy boundaries. While it's wonderful to do things for each other occasionally, we don't hold authority over one another."
Sakshi Jha believes conversation is the key. She chimes in, "Allowing this behaviour to continue could lead to problems later on. I want my partner to honour my decisions and embrace me as I am, without any need for modifications or adjustments."
Harnur Watta emphasises she wouldn't erase her lipstick for a man's approval, as her self-identity is closely linked to her presentation. Watta's perspective is clear: Setting healthy boundaries that respect both partners' expressions would be her immediate action. She asserts that changing oneself for a partner's approval reflects an unhealthy power dynamic and patriarchal ideals. For her, a relationship should value equality and individuality.
I've personally experienced a relationship where everything from how I ate, laughed, and dressed to the shades of lipstick I chose was discussed (not questioned) with humour. My response mechanism was to counterbalance by playfully teasing him back onto his things, and it felt like a balanced exchange. Because of the "approach", it never felt disrespectful, overpowering, or dominating because we had many open conversations, made our intentions clear, fostered transparency, and set clear boundaries.
If I were in Bhatt's position, I'd suggest that he first "wipe off" his authoritative approach, and only then would we continue with our dinner, brunch, lunch, or any casual outing.
Views expressed by the author are their own.
Suggested Reading: Does Cancelling Ranbir Kapoor Help Women Fight Sexism?