Don't we all love a meet-cute or romantic comedies where boy meets girl, they fight the world and end up happily ever after? But, it isn't all nice. We also have to deal with the toxicity that comes with it. Not all romantic gestures are perfect. Mostly, they are red flags that Bollywood films choose to glorify or label romantic.
1. Kal Ho Naa Ho
We love the film, and we're not denying that it hasn't stayed with us even after all this time. But, we also cannot deny the fact that it had a lot of problematic moments. The entire 6 din ladki in scene and the the gestures that revolved around it, showed women as commodities who can be achieved or won. Guys, that's not how it's done.
2. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
The idea of romance can be many things, but it can never be childish or toxic. While the film has some really nice moments, it also has instances where we question the idea of romance. Bunny was confused about his feelings and instead of sorting it out for himself, he went on and picked up a fight with Naina's friend just because he wanted to 'hang out' with her. Ask her first, Bunny.
3. Badrinath Ki Dulhania
When we say - no means no, it's literally just as simple as it sounds. Badrinath Ki Dulhania clearly didn't get the memo. We constantly see Badri, the character played by Varun Dhawan in the film, forcing Vaidehi to marry him. And like this wasn't enough, he boards a moving bus for his romantic gesture and tells her that he will keep trying.
4. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui
The film started the conversation in mainstream hindi cinema and for that, we are thankful. But, we also need to focus on everything that went the wrong way. While I'm all for romance and filmy gestures, they do need to be thoughtful. And when Mannu visited Manvi to talk to her and sort things out, forcefully - that just wasn't it. She was clearly not in a space to deal with it and clearly, it could wait.
5. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Yes, unrequited love stories have always been the favourite topic for films. But, forcing someone to love you back - that just shouldn't be normalized. Ayan makes sure to be there for Alizeh. While it's something that a good friend would do and we appreciate him for that but expecting her to fall in love with him in response to his 'care and friendship', is plain wrong. On top of it, throwing a tantrum and leaving, cheapens the gesture.
6. Kabir Singh
An epitome of problematic behavior, this film screams toxicity. There are way less moments in the film that would pass as non-problematic than there are those which will not. Kabir Singh didn't have the right idea of romance and the holi scene is just one example. Creating a scene to 'protect' a woman is not romantic. For starters, women can protect themselves. And if you still want to help, maybe behave?
Love letters and flirty texts are fine (as long as they are consensual), but threatening someone to be with you isn't. Raanjhanaa had it all wrong when it came to the idea of romance. In the film, Kundan threatens Zoya with suicide just so she loves him back and we chose to move past it very easily. How's that okay or romantic?
8. Love Aaj Kal (2020)
Imtiaz Ali tries to write and direct strong female characters and stories that have a deeper meaning. The 2020 film however had some romantic moments that didn't sit well. Veer was a guy next door and we are not denying the fact that the character was actually well-written. But, waiting outside the cafe for Zoe, everyday - that's less romantic, more stalkerish.
9. Toilet Ek Prem Katha
The film has a social message but in but in showcasing that message, it clearly missed focusing on the other wrong messages that it sent out. The entire scenario - following the girl you like, stalking her and taking her pictures isn't something that should be associated with romance, not even if it is in a song with flying dupattas and colours. Not anymore, at least.
10. Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Love doesn't have to be dramatic. Even if we tend to portray it, there are definitely better ways than crashing a wedding and threatening someone into being with you. The film was quirky and had its nice moments. But the romantic scenes, especially this gesture, wasn't nice or quirky. It was just problematic.
We are all for romance and love. It's the red flags wrapped in romance, that we have problem with.