Friend-zone. It's a much dissed tactic mostly deployed to guilt women for not loving someone back. Of course, a favourite of Bollywood. Because we have a tendency to glaze everything as love and serve it to our audience with five love songs.
But then we thought we'd left it behind. Or at least we hoped that we did. Until Karan Johar LOL-ed all over it and legit made a case for killing Anushka Sharma's character, Alizeh in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, because she didn't reciprocate Ayan's (Ranbir's character) feelings in an interview with Huffington Post.
Brace yourselves with sarcastic wows, because boy does KJo ever stop surprising us with problematic views.
This bit of the interaction starts by KJo's proclamation that he wouldn't change a thing about Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. When the interviewer points out that that is exactly the one with the most problematic gender dynamics so far, Karan Johar (and I need drum rolls for this) says,
"I was like she (Anushka Sharma’s character Alizeh who doesn’t reciprocate Ayan’s feelings) didn’t love him, she has to die. I wrote this character. He loved her so crazily. She could’ve loved him back, why couldn’t she? So she got cancer and she died."
Adding to this, Karan made it clear that this stand comes from a personal space and that the ending was cathartic for him.
"I wanted to make because it’s personal and was cathartic for me. Ranbir (Kapoor) played me. I wanted to deal with the injury caused by a heartbreak."
Sir, I sincerely hope you realise the sarcastic tone of these drumrolls and wows.
We live in a world where women are actually targeted, stalked, harassed, made victims of acid-attacks, raped and murdered for not reciprocating feelings.
We can't. In this century. Have. Any more Romanticisation. Of Problematic Behaviour.
I hope Karan Johar realises the repercussions of statements like these, when a young boy would listen and learn from him (considering Karan is a mainstream Bollywood director) and then internalise that yes, it's okay to treat or more like harm women this way.
And when the interviewer points out that it seems like Karan was actually punishing Alizeh for not having romantic feelings for Ayan, Karan takes the conversation to the loophole of being a creator and pedestalises a filmmaker viz-a-viz himself as God.
"Well, she got punished, I wrote it. See, a filmmaker is a God, you write, you create and you destroy."
Artistic liberty can not be used to justify problematic film making. 'You create, you destroy'. But people learn from you. And this friend-zoning perception is outdated, doesn't belong to this decade and filmmakers need to stop glorifying it as 'love'.
Karan Johar further justifies Ayan's 'love', and discounts the physical aggression his character shows, by saying,
"About the physical aggression, I apologise. That is not something I had thought of earlier and I should have. But I am not going to be apologetic about his relentlessness and his love, because he loved her even after she was gone."
Karan Johar's problematic opinions have drawn a lot of flak on Twitter.
Karan Johar saying he killed off Alizeh in ADHM because she didn’t love Ayan and chalking it off as karma is disgusting because we still live in a day and age where women are constantly attacked or killed for not reciprocating feelings and we are NOT going to romanticize that— sai (@Saisailu97) January 24, 2019
Also, Karan Johar, this isn’t *love*!!!! This is toxicity. This is abusive. You can’t say that you refuse to apologize for a character being abusive and justifying it by saying it was love. Gross. pic.twitter.com/A1ckLe9hlv— sai (@Saisailu97) January 24, 2019
In the movie that guy was abusive and toxic too! And KJ calling it “love” um no— M (@msxMARVELous) January 24, 2019
Karan Johar finds KKHH & K3G silly & idiotic, which were far less problematic & better than most movies in that era but goes on to defend this shitty ADHM where a guy in 2016 fails to understand consent. He is just another guy who can't take a 'no'. https://t.co/yuHMJkthNL— R! (@WeirdlyProbable) January 24, 2019
karan johar really wrote a film about someone who didn't like him in real life and in the film, he killed off the character because he thought they needed to be punished for not loving them back?? pic.twitter.com/w8zWxwo8fD— unapologetic b¡tch (@mayonistan) January 24, 2019
No means no, Bollywood, for the gazillionth time.