Kartik Aaryan's debut film Pyaar Ka Punchnama made him an overnight sensation, thanks to 'that' monologue.
However, as popular as his movies might have been, most of them contained scenes that were outrightly sexist, regressive, and simply put, highly problematic. Scenes like these:
1. Pyaar Ka Punchnama
The speech that launched Kartik Aaryan, and a thousand replicas (some by Aaryan himself), was more than just a rant by a frustrated boyfriend. It was an attack on women, specifically designed to misrepresent them. Of course, considering the entire film lacked nuance when it came to presenting female characters, it's no surprise that the scene was incorporated, or went on to become as popular as it did.
2. Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2
One might think that the 4-year gap between the two movies may have taught director Luv Ranjan better. Instead, Ranjan capitalized on the sexist tropes he popularized in the first film, gave us women even more shallow and manipulative than before, and a speech that completely disregarded women being independent. In Ranjan's world, they are nothing but gold diggers.
3. Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety
It's hard to pick just one scene when Aaryan's character spends the entire film "saving" his childhood best friend from a 'gold digger', even though he never finds any evidence to support his claim. However, right at the start is a scene where he lists all the services women can 'provide' in a marriage (sex, food, and laundry), and talks about ways to replace them to dissuade Titu from marriage. Not only does this reduce women to objects and reinforces flawed gender roles, but it also sets the tone for the film - sexist and regressive, to the point of being illogical. And it only gets worse from there.
4. Pati Patni Aur Woh
The scene from this film which was called out right when the trailer released made a rape joke on the practice of marital rape - a practice that is still not considered illegal in India. Later, the scene was never removed from the film, only altered, because the creators still wanted to cash in on the trend of Kartik Aaryan's characters ranting about women. SMH.
"Biwi se sex maang lein toh hum bikhaari— Shreemi Verma (@shreemiverma) November 4, 2019
Biwi ko sex na de toh hum atyachaari
Aur kisi tarah jugaad laga ke usse sex haasil kar lena toh balaatkari bhi hum hai"
I don't expect anything from a Kartik Aaryan movie but this is dismal https://t.co/q61BFOmD38
5. Love Aaj Kal 2
Sara Ali Khan and Aaryan's flawed acting aside, the biggest issue with the film was how it reiterated the distorted belief that women can't balance career and love. However, while there is a lot to pick apart in the movie, one of the worst offenses is committed right at the start - normalizing stalking. There is also the obvious attempt at putting down casual sex - as something you only do with people you don't consider 'special'.
Looking at this list, it's high time we see Aaryan play different roles and pick better scripts (which his upcoming movies indicate he has done so, already). And directors, across genres, really need to do away with sexist cinema.