Starting A New Business? 7 Key Points To Keep In Mind.

Ek Villain Returns Is The Kind Of Garbage That Bollywood Must Stop Creating

It's unbelievable that in our society today, a man can openly talk about being violent to an ex-partner, but a woman is trolled for speaking of domestic or sexual abuse.

Trigger Warning: This deals with murder and other kinds of graphic physical violence against women and may be triggering to survivors.

Spoiler alert*

Ek Villain Returns (2022) is one of those films that didn’t need to exist because it causes more harm than good to society, especially one as patriarchal as ours. It normalises gender based violence and promotes murderous views against women. It also furthers the notion that violent men, especially the ones who are financially well off, don’t deserve to face any consequences for their actions.

Here are a few reasons why all four characters of the film are hazardous for the mindsets of the Indian audiences: 

Gautam Mehra: the rich spoiled brat

Gautam Mehra is our hero (or villain, not too sure) who is introduced in a scene where he crashes his ex-girlfriend’s wedding in order to publicly humiliate her. His reasoning is very simple: a woman can not leave him and if she does so, he must insult her and show her her place. It is, after all, a man’s birthright to be the one who gets to dump women. 

His misbehaviour is then, very conveniently, covered up because of his father’s influence. However, a struggling singer somehow manages to create a song about him (who even has the time to do something like that?) and that is when he decides to take revenge from that singer, as well. Less than fifteen minutes into the film and he is already after the lives of two women. 

Aarvi Malhotra: the damsel in distress with a tragic past

Then comes Aarvi – the struggling singer whom Gautam wishes to treat the same way as his ex-partner. Her character is so insignificant and ridiculously shaped that she can make Tamanna Bhatia’s role in Baahubali 2 (2017) seem important. That’s not the most problematic part, of course. 

In order to impress her, Gautam physically threatens a popular singer alongside pretending to be in love with her just so that Aarvi wouldn’t have any competitors left. While doing so, he almost sabotages that singer’s career, makes her develop symptoms of PTSD and mentally harasses her by showing her the signs and symbols associated with her assault.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

Aarvi enjoys all of this and falls in love with him because of the same (what?) How can any sane 21st century woman fall in love with a man over his act of destroying another woman just to impress her? 

You can guess what happens after that… Gautam, very obviously, uses the information that Aarvi shared with him in confidence to publicly shame her and the entire world gets to know about her tragic past. What an usual storyline!

Sadly, things don’t end there. Gautam, being the embodiment of toxic masculinity, misbehaves with his ex-girlfriend and her husband at a nightclub once again and gets beaten up for disrespecting a woman. Aarvi, who is coincidentally at the same place ends up saving him and taking him to the hospital and boom! He is in love with her. 

The dialogue exchange between these two characters that follows Gautam’s confession of ‘love’ is too pathetic to be described because it makes one wonder how anyone in 2022 can create a female character that weak. But, the cherry on the cake is the fact that even though Gautam is an extremely problematic character, the audience is suddenly expected to sympathise with him.

Director Mohit Suri wanting the viewers to feel bad for Gautam for getting dumped by his partner for publicly degrading her is more ambitious than Sandeep Reddy Vanga wanting us to feel sorry for Kabir Singh and Arjun Reddy. 

Bhairav Purohit: the serial murderer of flawed women

Since this is a Bollywood movie and Gautam needs to be glorified (we love hero worship!), a worse male character enters the picture.

Bhairav Purohit is a serial killer who murders women who have ended their romantic relations with men or have committed immoral acts outside their relationships. He considers himself to be a hero because all the men whose ex-partners he has murdered pedestalise him.

It is genuinely upsetting to see that in our society today, a man can openly talk about wanting his ex-partner to get brutally killed for things like cheating. But, a woman can’t openly talk about domestic and sexual abuse without being called vindictive. That being said, the existence of characters like Bhairav in the Indian media shows how sexist we still are as a nation.

Of course, the viewers need to understand his plight, as well. He made the effort to stalk a woman, befriend her and buy an expensive diamond ring for her. The woman is the one who is wrong for not reciprocating his love and for turning him into a killer as a result of the same. A man’s violence can always be justified, at the end of the day.  

To make things better (or worse), we are also told that Bhairav is schizophrenic and that the woman who was motivating him to carry out all these murders is actually a figment of his imagination(!!!).

Rasika Mapuskar: the ‘wicked gold-digger’ created by and for women-bashers

Rasika’s character has been created by a woman-hater (in both – reality and the fictional universe of Ek Villain) who knows nothing about women.

As mentioned earlier, most of her actions are imagined by Bhairav. Thus, she is all in one – a seductress cum nagging woman cum gold-digger cum an immoral woman who cheats on her partner. She gets turned on whenever Bhairav kills someone and offers him sex in return for dead bodies. Additionally, he hears her loud and evil laugh every time he is about to commit a murder. Since she is someone who once existed, but does not physically exist in Bhairav’s present life, it is quite difficult to tell which parts of her personality are real and which ones are created by his mind. That becomes another loophole in the film because one doesn’t understand how horrible she truly is or isn’t. 

The film shouldn’t be called ‘Ek Villan’ because, very clearly, all the four characters in it seem to be deeply flawed and dangerous. Neither of the two male characters get penalised for their acts of gendered violence and are celebrated instead. All of this simply gives away the message that women who don’t behave the way men expect them to need to be butchered. 

Liked this post?

Register at Women's Web to get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads - you can also start sharing your own ideas and experiences with thousands of other women here!


About the Author

Upasana Dandona

A dysgraphic writer who spends most of their time watching (and thinking about) Bollywood films. read more...

39 Posts | 165,211 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

Women Leaders in Communications Discuss The Responsible 5G Revolution We Need

All Categories