Time and again, women in Bollywood movies are portrayed in the negative light simply because it was convenient for the plot. Even though they did nothing wrong, these female characters were painted villains to take the male lead’s story forward.
Here are some fine examples:
1. Rupali, Biwi No 1
A fine example of the classic “independent modern woman who can’t be family oriented” trope that we were force-fed by Bollywood in the 90s and early 2000s. Even though Prem was the one who cheated on his wife, led on a young woman he met and took her on trips etc, Rupali was blamed for his mistakes. Not to mention the entire second half of the film that constantly tried to prove that a gharelu Pooja was the ideal wife and Rupali was a ‘home-wrecker’.
2. Sweety, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety
The only time you knew Sweety was ‘bad’ was when she called herself a gold digger. Because there is nothing else in this film that clarifies why she is ‘horrible’ for Titu. She merely organises poojas and expects her fiancé to behave like an adult. If anything, it’s the friendship between Titu and Sonu that is a tad bit co-dependant and unhealthy.
3. Natasha, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Natasha was definitely served the wrong hand in this film. She was painted as a jealous, insecure and obsessive woman, when in fact, her fiancé was the one who wasn’t ready for a commitment and projected his issues onto her.
4. Jazz, Namastey London
Throughout the movie, Jazz is portrayed as a spoilt, selfish ‘brat’ (as she is quoted in the posters of the movie), who can’t accept her husband from India. But to be honest, it wasn’t her fault. Her parents took her to India under the pretext of a vacation and forcefully got her married to a man she’s never met before. And don’t even get us started on the emotional blackmail and character assassination that Jazz faces just because she won’t let her parents control her life. She does fall in love with Arjun and maybe that would have happened if she wasn’t forced into the marriage and given time to get to know him.
5. Priya, Dil Chahta Hai
Priya is Sameer’s ex-girlfriend in the film and she asks him to grow up and stop hanging out with friends who are pulling him down. In hindsight, she did nothing wrong. But to progress the story of a man-child like Sameer, she was painted as the ‘controlling girlfriend’ who wanted power over his life.
6. Tina, Mujhse Dosti Karoge!
This naive girl was merely the victim of two people who were trying to one-up each other with their feelings. And yet, she was made to seem like the vindictive one who tried to constantly pull them apart. Of course, this movie is absolutely ridiculous but Tina’s character has to be one of the most badly written ones.
7. Veronica, Cocktail
Veronica was labelled the ‘bad influence’ in this movie, when in fact, she was just played by a manipulative fuckboy who didn’t have the guts to love a strong independent woman. She was good enough to party with and have sex with, but in his entitlement, he pitched her against her very own best friend, who she had saved. Gautam was the real villain in this movie.
8. Isha, Heyy Babyy
There are so many things wrong with this movie. But on top of the list is Isha’s character. Isha is constantly blamed for her hard-ass way, when in fact, she is just sheltering her daughter from her clearly toxic sperm-donor who she is magically expected to forgive.
Which character did you think was wronged?