Over the years, your support has made Women’s Web the leading resource for women in India. Now, it is our turn to ask, how can we make this even more useful for you? Please take our short 5 minute questionnaire – your feedback is important to us!
In Bollywood, stalking is shown as love. But can we get it clear, Shahrukh in Darr or Dhanush in Ranjhanaa were stalking the girls. It's a criminal offense.
In Bollywood, stalking is shown as love. But can we get it clear, Shahrukh in Darr or Dhanush in Ranjhanaa were stalking the girls. It’s a criminal offense.
Raise your hand if you have ever seen a Bollywood movie where the concepts of stalking and romantic love were used interchangeably. If you grew up in the nineties, chances are a lot of the hit movies you saw were based on this insane idea that having a stalker is just fine as long as he claims to love you. Remember the song ‘Tu haan kar ya naa kar, tu hai meri Kiran‘ (whether you say yes or no, you are mine, Kiran) from the movie Darr. The song and Shahrukh Khan’s portrayal of crazed stalker captured more imaginations across the country than set any fear in them.
This spills into real life in several damaging ways. Men all over the country believe it is perfectly acceptable to harass and stalk and threaten women. They see it is a normal path to some sort of romantic relationship. Part of this attitude also comes from a culture that idolizes the idea of ‘modesty’, ‘honor’ and ‘reluctance’ on part of women. Women are never supposed to ‘want it’ and so the men ‘have to force them’. Once again, ideas of what good girls and women are supposed to be like are used as justification. Consensual sex in Bollywood is seen as dirty and contrary to our ideals; forced sex, rape as a tool of revenge, rape as a reason for a woman’s suicide, on the other hand are all seen as absolutely fine.
In a real life case of an Indian man in Australia, who escaped a stalking conviction after claiming his behavior was normal as per Bollywood movies.
If you think this is crazy, read this real life case of an Indian man in Australia, who escaped a stalking conviction after claiming his behavior was normal as per Bollywood movies. It isn’t as if the movies or our real life has left this attitude in the nineties. A recent example is that of the movie Raanjhanaa rather misleadingly and ridiculously described as a romantic drama film and a story of a ‘small-town boy who needs to break through the class divide to gain acceptance from his childhood sweetheart who is in love with big city ideals‘. These descriptions, the normalization of this behavior, the popularity of these movies in a country that pretty much pays scant attention to what women want, is a dangerous combination. Men routinely stalk and harm women – think of all the news articles you read about acid attacks and stabbings by ‘spurned lovers’. Aggressive ‘macho’ men are seen as the ideal – I have lost count of the number of forced kisses I have seen on film (Ishq comes to mind to start with), normalizing the man continuing while the women resists. So here’s my suggestion for all of you: don’t watch these movies without any reservations, call out sexism and rape culture when you see it, men and women and everyone across the gender spectrum remind yourself and each other that consent is good and sexy. Question the friends in movies who act coy and encourage the stalker and tell the woman being flattered to take it as a compliment. Remember men can get stalked as well, but it happens more often to women and has more harmful consequences for them. Stop glamorizing stalking as some sort of romantic ideal and call it out for what it is: a criminal act.
Cover images via Wikipedia
I think of myself as a feminist development practitioner with a strong interest in issues related to gender and education. I enjoy writing about my interests, a happy step forward from the angst laden poetry read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
He said that he needed sometime to himself. I waited for him as any other woman would have done, and I gave him his space, I didn't want to be the clingy one.
Trigger Warning: This deals with mental trauma and depression, and may be triggering for survivors.
I am someone who believes in honesty and trust, I trust people easily and I think most of the times this habit of mine turns into bane.
This is a story of how a matrimonial website service turned into a nightmare for me, already traumatized by the two relationships I’ve had. It’s a story for every woman who lives her life on the principles of honesty and trust.
And when she enters the bedroom, she sees her husband's towel lying on the bed, his underwear thrown about in their bathroom. She rolls her eyes, sighs and picks it up to put in the laundry bag.
Vasudha, age 28 – is an excellent dancer, writer, podcaster and a mandala artist. She is talented young woman, a go getter and wouldn’t bat an eyelid if she had to try anything new. She would go head on with it. Everyone knew Vasudha as this cheerful and pretty young lady.
Except when marriage changed everything she knew. Since she was always outdoors, whether for office or for travelling for her dance shows, Vasudha didn’t know how to cook well.
Going by her in-laws definition of cooking – she had to know how to cook any dishes they mentioned. Till then Vasudha didn’t know that learning to cook was similar to getting an educational qualification. As soon as she entered the household after her engagement, nobody was interested what she excelled at, everybody wanted to know – what dishes she knew how to cook.