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Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 might have had a box office collection of 260 crores INR and entertained Indian audiences, but it's full of problematic stereotypes.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 starts with a scene in which the protagonist, Ruhaan (played by Kartik Aaryan) finds an abandoned pink suitcase in a moving cable car and thinks there is a bomb inside it.
Just then, he sees an unknown person (Kiara Advani) wave and gesture at him to convey that the suitcase is theirs. Ruhaan, with the widest possible smile, says, “Bag main bomb nahi hai, bomb ka bag hai,” (There isn’t a bomb in the bag, the bag belongs to a bomb).
Who even writes such dialogues in 2022?
The film might have had a box office collection of 260 crores INR and might have managed to entertain the Indian audiences, but something that we all need to understand is that it still propagated a lot of problematic stereotypes that we, as a community need to do away with.
Here are my (very personal) views on what the film got wrong:
Be it Bollywood films or Indian TV serials with supernatural elements in them, every female witch who knows black magic is either shown to be a Bengali woman or played by a Bengali woman.
I had been hoping that things would change after we all witnessed a Bengali Bollywood actor being witch-hunted and accused of knowing black magic after her partner’s death. However, two years after all the shaming, we have another film that promotes the same concept.
If Bengali girls genuinely knew (or could learn) black magic, they wouldn’t be using their powers to mess with their partners and in-laws. There are many other things that we would want to achieve with all the magic – things that are bigger than petty domestic battles.
…Bonus points if the two are sisters…even better if they are twins.
Despite all the criticism that this recurring sibling rivalry trope has received in recent years, it continues to exist and resurface in every other Bollywood film.
Whether it is Gehraiyaan (2022) or Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2022), we witness a woman falling in love with her sister’s fiance or love interest and then, out of nowhere, turning into her sibling’s worst nightmare. Such films always end with the man suffering. While in Gehraiyaan, the man dies, in Bhool Bhulaiyaa, he gets paralysed for life.
Such tropes do need to stop existing because they make it appear as if women are nothing but jealous beings who are incapable of maintaining sisterhood. Furthermore, they also make it appear as if a woman is the main cause behind a man’s misery.
….as if powerful female ghosts with supernatural powers would need men to receive justice…
In the film, Anjulika (played by Tabu) is a ghost who can easily expose her nemesis and twin sister, Manjulika if she wants to. However, it is Ruhaan who defeats the antagonist and becomes a hero. In fact, Anjulika even has a dialogue in which she says that he did for her something she couldn’t do for herself.
No matter how strong a woman is, why does she need a man to receive justice in Bollywood films?
In reality, that is definitely not how things work.
A literature student who spends most of her time watching (and thinking about) Bollywood films. read more...
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
At one point, she confesses to her mother that the beatings are no longer physical, they have started affecting her mentally as well, and she wants to break free of this cycle of abuse.
Trigger Warning: This deals with domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors.
I recently watched Darlings on Netflix. It’s a quirky, dark satire featuring the dynamite duo of Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah. The movie depicts domestic violence and the psychology of abuse.
Even though the subject matter is dark, there are light moments and humour, which make it immensely watchable. It stands out for its powerhouse performances and unique storyline.