Have you seen Bollywood movies and been like, “WTF! How is this even remotely romantic?”
From lewd lyrics to normalizing toxic masculinity, Bollywood has disappointed us n number of times with content that was problematic on all levels. We’ve heard songs like ‘tu haan kar ya na kar, tu hai meri Kiran,’ and we’ve also seen guys like Kabir Singh who tend to assume proprietary over their partner in the name of passionate love.
And it becomes worse when these flawed characters are exceedingly romanticised. As if one can forsake another person’s respect and boundaries in the name of love. This overtly romanticized blend of love with toxicity is suffocating, yet it’s masked time and again cos TRUE LOVE BISH. (facepalming hard)
Here are 10 toxic guys Bollywood tried to sell as true lovers & we were like, ‘Really?’
1. Ayan from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Ayan was Male Entitlement at its peak. He couldn’t handle his rejection and miserably failed to understand that Alizeh just didn’t love him the way he wanted her to. In his head, he was conditioned to believe he was one real gem; so how could a woman reject him? Ahh! And don’t get me started on ‘Ek Tarfa Pyar and Uski Taqat.’ Ayan was basically a man-child who constantly cribbed about getting his way and could not bare to accept that no one was accountable for entertaining his whims and fancies.
2. Rahul Khanna from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
I’m sorry to burst your bubble, and I love SRK too, but his character of Rahul in KKHH was toxic AF. Let’s begin with the fact he just couldn’t accept Anjali was a better basketball player, and the guy thought that the sport was not meant for girls. Even if you choose to forgo that, he was the first person to mock Anjali’s look when she appeared all decked up in her naivety to woo him. But then, cut to years later, Anjali turns all ‘pretty’ and ‘feminine’ in Rahul’s eyes, and we see him drooling over her in mere seconds.
3. Kabir from Kabir Singh
By now, too much has already been written and spoken of Kabir Singh, screaming how toxic the guy was. This man took ‘everything’s fair in love and war’ way too seriously because he had the guts to assume that he owns Preeti just because he’s attracted to her. He was abusive, spiteful, and misogynistic. I mean, that man literally pulled out a knife to force a woman into having sex with him at the beginning of the movie itself. And yet, the entire film projected him as some sort of unconventional and unabashed lover. Ahh! (cries in disgust)
4. Gautam Mehra from Ek Villain Returns
The entire film was a cringe-fest but let’s talk about Gautam Mehra, the so-called male protagonist of the movie. Gautam’s a guy who doesn’t like to lose, so he chants ‘marna chalega, harna nahi’ incessantly, even to his dad, because…umm, well, it’s his thing. The man creates a ruckus at his former girlfriend’s wedding only to prove that he’s a man with a fragile ego. Then, he obsesses over Aarvi, who doesn’t reciprocate his affections initially. Until she does, and he eventually betrays her because he’s villainous and spiteful to the core. And this is just not even the complete first half of the film.
5. Kundan from Raanjhanaa
While the movie became extremely popular among the masses, it was highly problematic. Kundan was not an embodiment of a pure, selfless lover but one of an obsessive stalker who harassed Zoya throughout the film. He thought just cos he ‘loved’ her, she owed him a date. That guy threatened her with suicide and didn’t give two effs about her ‘NO.’ How was the film even considered a romantic one?
6. Badrinath in Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Meet Badri, another man-child who couldn’t take no for an answer. After his first rejection, the man went crazy and began obsessively stalking Vaidehi until her ‘no’ magically became a ‘yes.’ Typical problematic cliche Bollywood masala at its best. Later in the movie, Badri legit abducted Vaidehi, on the commands of his regressive father, to take revenge for abandoning him at the altar. WTF.
7. Radhe Mohan From Tere Naam
Come to think of it, people began obsessing over this movie, and so many men tried to copy Salman Khan’s atypical hairstyle. But let’s get it straight! Radhe was a toxic narcissist whose distorted idea of love was claiming his partner. He tried to threaten Nirjara, stalk her, and lol, just like that, won her affections with his ‘true love.’ I think, to a great extent, Radhe played a huge role in paving way for toxic male leads in Bollywood movies who’ve time and again failed to understand that ‘A NO MEANS NO.’
8. Sid from Wake Up Sid
Sid was another man-child and a spoilt brat who lived off of his dad’s money. His fragile ego couldn’t accept a reality check when he moved in with Aisha, whom he expected to be his servant. He was a terrible roommate and even more terrible son with the way he constantly snapped at his doting mother in his arrogance. The only relief was to see his coming of age by the end of the film, but we can’t be too sure whether it was a legit change or just a bid to prove himself to Aisha.
9. Chulbul Pandey from Dabangg
The Dabangg series is so popular that I wonder if people ever see how problematic the extremely glorified character of Chulbul Pandey is. He’s a specimen of toxic masculinity at its best. His telling Rajjo not to mourn her father’s demise and celebrate life’s new beginnings with him was a mind-blowing (quite literally) scene that still gets me like, ‘ARE YOU FOR REAL?’ Chulbul inhabits a man’s world and is a reflection of society’s stereotypical idea of masculinity.
10. Gautam Kapoor in Cocktail
Gautam was obnoxious. He falls in love with Meera while dating Veronica and then doesn’t admit that he clearly cheated on her. I mean, really? When Gautam’s mom comes into the picture, the plot goes back centuries because Veronica tries to behave in a ‘traditional sanskaari bahu’ sort of a way when the mother takes a strong affinity for Meera. And guess what? Gautam also falls in love with Meera because, ‘settle down karne ke liye toh sanskaari bahu hi chahiye.’
Which male lead from a Bollywood movie do you despise the most?