Why Can’t Salman Khan Get Over Priyanka’s Exit From ‘Bharat’? His Toxic Masculinity?

Posted: May 26, 2019

Salman Khan keeps dragging Priyanka Chopra’s name whenever Bharat comes up, indictaing that he hasn’t taken her rejection lightly. Not surprising, given that he is the poster boy for toxic masculinity.

One of those ‘open secrets’ that everyone knows about Bollywood is that you don’t mess with ‘bhai’. He doesn’t take rejection well, and may try (and succeed) to sabotage your career. Perhaps, it is his inability to ‘get back’ at Priyanka by influencing her career that is prompting Salman Khan to take verbal digs at her constantly for stepping out of his upcoming movie, Bharat.

In the past, he has ‘thanked’ Priyanka for leaving the film, or has commented about how it was “sweet of her to tell us five days before the shoot that she couldn’t do Bharat.” He even interrupted Katrina Kaif, who was responding to a question about how she had prepared for her role in the movie, by mentioning that Priyanka didn’t give them enough time to prepare.

His latest comment seems to question Priyanka’s patriotism and her personal life choices.

“Over Bharat, she chose USA in the ‘nick’ of time. She has worked all her life so hard and when she got the biggest film of her life, she dumped the film and got married. Hats off! Usually people leave the husbands for this,” he said. While he made it seem like he was congratulating her for making a bold choice of choosing love over work, the sarcasm in the comment was unmistakable, and people did notice.

Twitter user @brandonflynn was quick to call out Salman Khan for bringing up Priyanka’s name.

Others chimed in, pointing out that Priyanka is as successful as, if not more than Salman, and that it is debatable if Bharat is the “biggest film of her career.”

Twitter user Priyanka Sharma pointed out that not only was Salman being disrespectful to Priyanka, but also to his Bharat co-star Katrina.

Irrespective of whether Priyanka’s choice to quit Bharat at the last minute was professional or not, what Salman is doing now is undoubtedly unprofessional, and quite familiar to successful women everywhere.

Behind every successful woman is an insecure ‘alpha male’ who feels that she should be submissive to him. Such men usually attack women by passing comments about their character or their personal life, because they cannot handle their professional success. This stems from old and sexist ideas about masculinity, which believe in the superiority of men over women. And Salman Khan has long been the poster boy for such toxic masculinity.

As the writer of that article points out, such behaviour does not evolve in a vacuum and needs the support of men and women who benefit from it. Toxic masculinity exists because it props up patriarchy, thereby ensuring that men retain power. A woman like Priyanka, who has power of her own, is seen as a threat to be ‘shown her place’.

All the more reason why we need to call out toxic masculinity when we see it and cheer for powerful, successful women.

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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a

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