Directed by Kunal Kohli and produced by Yash Chopra, Mujhse Dosti Karoge released in 2002. The film stars Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherji and is about three childhood friends who end up in a romantic entanglement.
The plotline gives us Raj (Hrithik Roshan), who moves away from his friend group with his parents at an early age. It also gives us extroverted and popular girl Tina (Kareena Kapoor) and wise-beyond-her-years and down-to-earth Pooja (Rani Mukherji).
The story shows us how Raj grows up keeping in touch with Tina over emails. But little does he know, he is actually talking to Pooja! Pooja started writing to Raj to help her BFF Tina, but ultimately, she ends up becoming the only person writing to him. Yep, It's already gotten messy!
When I first watched the film, I was barely a teenager. And I remember feeling an undercurrent of annoyance towards Tina. I felt angry about Raj taking notice of her before Pooja. I felt like she was coming "in between," Raj and Pooja and that she was selfish for not telling Raj that she wasn't the one writing to him all these years.
But after a couple of years, when I revisited the film, I realized how Raj's toxicity had gone largely unnoticed. Most first-time watchers would in fact see Tina as the most annoying and even problematic character, but very few would see how aggressive and unreasonable Raj was!
Yes, his feelings were valid because he was, in a sense, deceived. And it must've felt terrible to have feelings for someone you've been talking to for years, only to find out you were talking to a whole other person!
Not just aggressive, but he was a little abusive as well, because the whole situation was least of all Pooja's fault, in fact she probably suffered the most at the hands of all the confusion.
Raj felt it was okay to constantly pressure her by guilt tripping her for trying to move on from the relationship. I mean, if he wanted everyone to know about their relationship, there were far healthier, more stable ways to do it.
Because seriously, what was with all that man-handling and passive aggressive and aggressive behavior? Come to think of it, he could have also had a conversation with his fiancé Tina, about how he was actually in love with Pooja. He thought he had the right to act on his unpleasant feelings and subject Pooja to his abrasiveness. Which was not okay.
Maybe we didn't notice Raj's toxicity because we were more focused on criticizing Tina, maybe it was because women are easier to accuse and call problematic than men are. Or maybe sometimes, we don't know how to differentiate between passion and abuse? Whatever it was, Raj's possessiveness and control issues weren't the healthiest!