Nope, it’s not cool. Irrespective of gender, harassment isn’t cool. While female harassment still gets noticed to some extent, we are far away in paying any heed to what men experience. Hollywood actors and former couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s case is one such example which speaks volumes of how male harassment is often ignored by the society.
Speaking of which, let’s dig deep into how not just female harassment, male abuse is also normalised in Bollywood films.
So much so that it is presented along with comic plot backed with funny dialogues in a bid to make it look normal. Such practice is often gulped with a pinch of laughter by the audience. Cos we have always been taught that mard ko dard nahin hota.
1: When Badri’s vulnerability was treated like a joke in Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, Badrinath Ki Dulhania made male harassment look normal to an extent that the makers so cleverly made it a reason to laugh about. Remember a scene in which Varun as Badri follows Alia’s character Vaidehi to Singapore and is attacked by local goons on the street at night? Badri has his clothes torn as he stands looking quite vulnerable. When Vaidehi comes to rescue him along with a group of friends, all of them burst into laughter probably cos he couldn’t defend himself. Not cool!
2: When Anmol in Awara Paagal Deewana was tortured for not washing clothes
Awara Paagal Deewana featured a scene in which Amrita Arora as Mona literally assaults her husband Anmol (Aftab Shivdasani) by holding his collar and threatening him for not washing clothes at night. In fact, there were many scenes of the 2002 film in which Aftab’s character was tortured by Mona for household chores. Domestic violence, not okay.
3: When Rohit in Kal Ho Naa Ho was treated as an eye-candy
While there are many articles online that talk about 6-din-ladki-in sequence in Kal Ho Naa Ho, we have ignored a scene in which Saif Ali Khan as Rohit gets physically assaulted by Lillette Dubey’s character Jazz. Rohit, who is invited by Preity Zinta’s character Naina for dinner at her house, accidentally visits “galat ghar” in which Jazz and her sister Sweetu live. Jazz chases Rohit around the house and forces herself onto him. Male abuse in disguise of comic relief, really? So, uncomfortable.
4: When Viraj in Kambakkht Ishq was seduced for being medically treated
Kambakkht Ishq had a scene in which Kareena Kapoor as Simrita Rai, a nurse seduces Akshay Kumar’s character Viraj, a stuntman, after dropping pills in his drink to make him unconscious. So that she can operate him to take out watch from his stomach. The makers translated the scene into a romantic dance sequence, Bebo. Cos the script demanded their characters to fall in love. Ahm, excuse me?
5: When Manoj in Tanu Weds Manu Returns was called adrak
Adrak ho gaya hai ye aadmi, kahin se bhi badh raha hai! Remember this scene from Tanu Weds Manu Returns when Kangana Ranaut as Pratibha body-shames her husband Manoj (R Madhavan) while attending a therapy session and making sure that he goes in a mental asylum. The makers made body-shaming look so normal (ah, no funny) that the scene is often looked as a comic one. Mental harassment is not cool either.
6: When Ram in Main Hoon Na was felt up by a middle-aged woman
Shah Rukh Khan as Ram goes undercover as a college student in Farah Khan’s Main Hoon Na. As soon as Ram enters the college, he is approached by Bindu’s character Mrs. Kakkar, Hindi teacher. In a scene, Mrs. Kakkar physically assaults Ram as she feels his arm muscles and say, “Tohre muskles, kitne satrong hain ji.” Mrs. Kakkar also holds his hand and keeps it on her chest saying, “kaleje which thandak pae gayi.” Ram, on the other hand, looks visibly uncomfortable.
7: When Amar in Masti was abused by his wife because she wanted a muscular man
Remember a scene from Masti when Genelia D’Souza as Bindiya physically assaults her husband Amar (Riteish Deshmukh) while he is forced to perform push-ups? Amar looks visibly tired but Bindiya literally smacks him with a stick to do more cos uski mother-in-law ko undertaker jaisi body chahiye. Male abuse or comedy, you decide.
8: When a group of men were stripped publicly in Shiddat
In Shiddat, Radhika Madan as Kartika along with her friend enters men’s locker room and strips all of them while removing their towels. Both of them also record videos in their mobile phones. This is done in order to take revenge from Sunny Kaushal’s character, Jaggi, who clicks Kartika’s photo without her consent and even post it on social media. I agree even that wasn’t cool, but what was the fault of other men who got stripped in public?
While most of these films were problematic for normalising female harassment as well, male harassment in the aforementioned scenes can’t go unnoticed too. Cos mard ko dard hota hai!