Shiddat…Yet Another Bollywood Film That Encourages Stalking & Toxic Masculinity In The Name Of ‘Passionate Love’!

Shiddat is yet another Bollywood film glorifying toxic masculinity & stalking in the name of love. Bollywood please grow up and get out of the '90s era! Please?

Shiddat is yet another Bollywood film glorifying toxic masculinity & stalking in the name of love. Bollywood please grow up and get out of the ’90s era! Please?

Shiddat, a movie about how ‘passionate love’ can make anything happen, is an absolute cringe-fest that glorifies toxicity and man-child behaviour. I am starting the post with this very line so that the point of this post is cleared in the starting itself.

The movie  is like a problematic ’90s film that is just being played in 2021.

In an early example of toxic masculinity, the hero attends a sports event to watch women in short clothes

The main lead, Jaggi (played by Sunny Kaushal) sees Kartika (played by Radhika Madan) in a sports fest and falls head over heels in love with her. The story then follows his journey to show his passion to get the love of his life. This journey is sadly full of toxic masculinity, obsessiveness, red flags and bad writing.

The movie also has Diana Penty as Ira an activist and Mohit Raina as Gautam (Ira’s husband) as an Indian immigration lawyer.

In the first half, Jaggi with his friends attends a national sports meet. He and his friends then go to the swimming pool. This is done to see, I quote, “Jalpari in nikke nikke kapde” (mermaids in short clothes). 

This is cyberbullying not love!

He then sees Kartika (a swimmer) and he is mesmerized; he takes her picture without her permission and posts it on his social media profile. In response to this, Kartika with her friends goes to the boys locker room and pulls their towels and takes their objectionable pictures.

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Jaggi sorta naked poses for her and and then like any typical Bollywood love saga the anger melts down and love blooms. I mean seriously?

What all just happened is cyberbullying! It’s a serious criminal offence and it’s for sure not a way to impress girls or even take revenge.

Then the hero turns to physical stalking in the name of passionate love!

The movie, directed by Kunal Deshmukh and written by Shridhar Raghavan, Dheeraj Rattan, is filled with such instances of problematic behaviour.

We see Jaggi and Kartika have fun, party and dance and have sex and Jaggi falls passionately for Kartika. But Kartika is about to get married so she informs Jaggi that all they had was all for fun and she is going to get married. 

But do you think this stops Jaggi? If he stopped persuading Kartika at this point then how will his love be considered passionate and true, right?

So the whole second half goes in our hero doing illogical things, stalking Kartika, travelling continents illegally just to convince her to not marry that guy and give him a chance. In the end, she gives him a chance because you know he loves her… with Shiddat! At this point in the movie, I thought it should have been titled ‘Obsession’ rather than ‘Shiddat’.

The movie also has objectionable dialogue about women. When Jaggi is in London a friend called Gautam (Mohit Raina tries to convince Jaggi to forget Kartika by saying, “Variety ko samajh sar chakra jaega tera” (understand the variety and you’ll feel bewildered). After this, he gives him some money and asks him to buy a smiling French girl some drinks. Mind you they are not talking about commodities here, they are talking about women!

Many women have to face men stalking & cyberbullying them…films like these encourage this toxic masculinity

One thing that Shiddat tries to point out, again and again, is that doing unimaginable things and going to extremes is passionate love. It is what can make you win the love of your life. This is so not true!

I mean if that is true love then Kundan in Raanjhanaa cutting his wrist is love and Kabir in Kabir Singh slapping Preeti is also love.

In Shiddat we see Jaggi’s obsessiveness with Kartika, cyberbullying, stalking, criminal offences like being an illegal immigrant and all his red flags are celebrated and glorified. 

We need to understand that men like Jaggi are a sad reality of our society. Men going to extreme lengths to convince a girl to be with them is what many women face, and their consent does not count.

This is something that is problematic and should not be glorified in the name of love. There is a reason why we despise many movies from the 90’s– because of their problematic nature.

It’s 2021 and we don’t need a revival of those problematic movies with a superficial touch of modernism.

Image source: Still from Shiddat

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About the Author

Nishtha Pandey

I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life. Being a student of mass communication with literature and political science I love writing about things that bother me. Follow read more...

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