For the longest time, Aamir Khan's 3 Idiots has been hailed for his progressive coming of age drama. But while we were all laughing at the Rancho's antics, the movie got away with passing of a bunch of rape jokes as humour.
Yes, it was a different time and all that but even then the jokes were out of line. Rape jokes have never been funny.
It's been a while. So let me recap a bit.
Rote learner Chatur Ramalingam is Tamil, so he doesn't speak Hindi. But in order to impress the Principal, he hires a ghostwriter to write a speech for him. Our protagonist finds this out and in order to teach his friend a lesson messes with the speech, which leads to Chatur repeatedly accusing the Principal and the chief guest of committing gang rapes, much to everyone's amusement.
This is a scene that was very well received by most of the audience, so much so, that even if you haven't seen the movie, you have seen the clip float around on social media, in whatever form it may be.
I mean, FFS, seriously?
But despite the general acceptance it has received, this is a very misogynistic and sexist monologue. And make no mistake, this isn't entirely fictional either. Any woman who's ever stepped into an engineering college or any college for that matter in this country has been confronted with such lingo, often passed as jokes.
As a matter of fact, not just colleges, people make these jokes on every social media platform imaginable. And why wouldn't they? Movies as popular as this only validate them. And mind you, this is a film parents want their kids to watch. It's supposed to be inspirational.
Imagine, an entire generation of children has grown up watching this movie, has loved it and most likely thinks rape jokes are funny. These kids, most of whom want to be edgelords, grow up making these jokes, sometimes to people who have been victims, regardless of their intentions.
Rape is not a joke. And rape jokes aren't funny. It doesn't matter what your favourite stand up comedian says in the name of free speech, it's just not funny...
... Especially in a country where a woman is raped every 15 minutes. These are just the cases that are reported by the way.
There are very real people; men, women, trans people, hell children who suffer through this. The physical abuse alone would scar a person for life, not to mention psychological damages, coupled with stigma from society. Their pain and suffering should not be, as a matter of fact, cannot be used as a punchline.
It's not okay. It's not funny. It's not necessary to the film either. There are a million ways to tell people that rote learning is shite without making rape jokes. And actors like Aamir Khan, who have previously taken a stand for social causes need to address it.