It’s a hard world as a Cine-going feminist because of Bollywood’s reputation for ridiculing and objectifying women. Sexism in Bollywood is quite prevalent and Rape Jokes in Bollywood movies are not a rare sight. Filmmakers end up trivialising rape. But are rape jokes in Bollywood movies really funny? Is it very hard to stay from bawdy humour?
Bollywood has a huge influence on young audiences. Therefore, casualising a grave crime like rape says a lot about the underlying sexist and misogynistic attitude of Bollywood.
Rape Jokes In Bollywood Movies: Let’s Stop reducing a gruesome crime to a joke
‘Chamatkaar or Balaatkar?’
Remember the very famous 3-Idiots, the character of Chatur while making a speech uses the word ‘Balaatkaar’ instead of ‘Chamatkaar’ and the audience applauds and laughs. The comment passes off as something normal as if it’s not a serious matter. The fact that the word was used in such a hysterical way kind of normalises its existence as a commonly used word and loses its meaning.
‘Male Rape Jokes Are Still ‘Rape jokes’
In the movie Badrinath ki Dulhania, Varun Dhawan is kidnapped and molested in Singapore. When his friends discover him they burst into laughter. Dhawan is shown in a poor state where his clothes are torn. So no matter if it’s a woman or man, Bollywood will have a rape joke in store for all. No matter what gender, rape is rape and male rape jokes are equally offensive and unfunny.
‘Balaatkar Se Yaad Aaya Meri Biwi Kaha Hai?’
In the movie, Grand Masti 2, a character says ‘Balaatkar Se Yaad Aaya Meri Biwi Kaha Hai?‘ that is, the word ‘rape’, reminds me of where is my wife? Giggles and laughter all around as if the linking of rape to his wife is funny! Most of us didn’t get the joke here. Remembering a woman especially your wife when you hear the word ‘rape’ reinforces the very idea of commodifying a woman.
‘Bikhari, Atyachaari, Balatkaari?’
In the trailer of the movie Pati, Patni Or Woh, Kartik Aaryan said, “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 lena toh balaatkari bhi hum hai.” The fact that marital rape is not even recognised as a crime in India is problematic in itself. The dialogue gave marital rape legitimacy. The dialogue was however rectified after the trailer received severe backlash.
‘Mai Kuch Bhi Karne Ko Taiyaar Hu Rape Bhi’
In the movie Shootout at Wadala, the character of Munir says ‘Main kuch bhi karne ke liya taiyyar hoon. Rape bhi, agar item achhi hai toh.‘ The character says that he’s ready to do anything, even rape a woman (if he likes her) to get a job. An offence as serious as rape is made to slip off as such an ordinary act.
‘Felt Like A Raped Woman’
Even outside movies, while shooting the movie Sultan, Salman Khan said that when he was filming the wrestling shots for Sultan he used to feel like a raped woman afterwards. Khan said “like the most difficult thing… When I used to walk out of that ring, it used to be actually like a raped woman walking out. ”
One woman is raped every 60 seconds in India. Rape is not a joke! Embedding and promoting rape culture needs to stop.
Suggested Reading: Rape Culture In India: Inferences of Justice Leila Seth & Leslee Udwin
The views expressed are the author’s own.