We all remember Kuch Kuch Hota Hai right? The popular late nineties film was an iconic release. The movie was deemed cool and framed pop culture at the time. But was it realistic? I mean, did colleges like that exist? Did Indian kids ever wear those kinds of clothes? How many girls would have been found dressed like Tina?
In this interesting Reddit thread we stumbled across, a user is questioning how Tina from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was even allowed to be wearing short skirts in college? Well, take a look for yourself and see how the conversation went.
Here’s the post that started the conversation:
In Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Tina wears a miniskirt and a sleeveless crop top to college. I always thought that was unrealistic especially for India?
She seems to be wearing nude, nylon stockings but how much difference do they really make? No one, even in the west, wears a miniskirt and a sleeveless crop top with heels to school. But I imagine in India schools are a lot more conservative and have uniforms. I know the character is supposed to be rebellious and modern but she’s not that rebellious; she’s traditional and homely with just enough education and rebellion to not seem too old fashioned next to tomboy Anjali. Anjali is just a tomboy because she’s a failure and doesn’t know who she is even though she was perfectly happy throughout the movie until she fell in love with the main character and suddenly “realized” how unhappy she was. The inappropriate miniskirt to show Tina as more in touch with her femininity just seems misogynistic though even (or especially) from a conservative perspective. The Indian society is also more conservative and I question how the character of Tina could have gotten away with walking around wearing what she was wearing without being harassed even if she wasn’t walking around alone in the streets. But Bollywood in general dresses the female characters in far more skimpy outfits than what would normally be seen in Indian society in reality, is that because they’re trying to be progressive?
Here are the answers the question received.
1. I thought they were going for this faux American-college look, or what they assumed college students in America wore in that period — I mean, look at what Rahul is wearing. But also, the male gaze, I guess? Because how on earth is Rahul supposed to be attracted to a person who isn’t visually coded as “attractive” (i.e. sexually attractive) AND “female” if not for the make-up, midriff-baring crop-top, and mini skirt? The lesson to be learned here is- Tina is supposed to be the cool, Westernized girl (while being totally sanskari – girl sang Om Jai Jagdish Hare to prove that she knows her hymns, no?). That’s why she’s the dead one and totally a secondary character (and plot device). The tomboyish Anjali who glows-up into traditional sari-wearing, bhajan-singing wife-material. And, that’s why she gets the guy (actually, two guys) and a happily-ever-after. (UGH I can’t believe this still annoys me.)
2. Karan Johar himself has said realism/plausibility was never a factor and KKHH was meant to be a wish-fulfilment/escapist fantasy for the average Indian young person of the time. It’s supposed to be, “I wish my grandma was like that” or “I wish my college was like that.” I am also certain it was supposed to be a residential college, away from the city and the characters didn’t have to be dressed like that commuting via the Mumbai local train. So that could make it a bit more plausible I guess.
3. I don’t think there was a ton of thought put into this by Karan Johar, in terms of making well thought out, 3D characters, especially for the non-leads. He probably just wanted Tina to be sexy and alluring in a way that would knock Rahul out after one glimpse of her. And then personality-wise he had to make her “sanskari” for audiences to feel she is marriage material. If she was too modern and dressed in minis, audiences would think she is a vamp or an unlikeable character as is the usual trope in Bollywood (modern woman with opinions equals a vamp). So sad.
– StunningHippo9 ·
4. It’s a Kjo movie and an early one at that, so not supposed to be a realistic depiction of college life.
5. So I’m not sure about India, but I’ve seen people wear miniskirts and sleeveless crop tops to college in the US (and I live in Texas, not even someplace like New York- and more than 30% of my college is Asian). High heels perhaps not- but crop tops with short skirts or shorts paired with converse, those white sneakers everyone has- yep. And not just now, this was common before as well. And as for the clothes showing certain things, I agree on showing her as being more in touch with her femininity with those clothes being faulty, but you know- male gaze. And lmao no they’re not trying to be progressive with showing more skin- the audience likes it so they do it. And the same thing is pretty obvious in his other college/school movies- just take one look at SOTY and you’ll know what they’re going for. This whole trend of NRIs from western countries wearing revealing clothes is also pretty flawed because I’ve seen a lot of variety out here. But that just shows Bollywood being out of touch with NRI culture (idk if I can blame them for that though) and for KJO movies like that you gotta ignore realism to a large extent.
A film to escape to or an unrelatable plotine?