What Is The Public’s Problem With Jaya Bachchan, Malaika Arora And Alia Bhatt?

Social media went into a tizzy after Malaika Arora put up an intriguing Insta post today. Reminds us of all the times they have trolled these outspoken women for their actions or choices.

A coy Malaika Arora Khan posts ‘Finally, I said ‘Yes’ in her Instagram post, and people have turned into Sherlock Holmes overnight. How does it matter if it’s a “Yes” to a personal commitment or a professional project? Finally, it turned out it was a ‘Yes’ to her new show Moving Malaika on Hotstar?

Just because women like Malaika Arora are celebrities gives us no right to intrude into their personal lives or their business.

And this is just not the case with Malaika Arora. It’s a disturbing trend for all women that’s equivalent to digital stalking, gaslighting, bullying, and abuse. Particularly magnified if they are celebrities.

Here are a few recent case examples.

Her Crime: She’s sexy, and she knows it and flaunts it too

Malaika Arora

I find it distasteful when I see comments on Malaika’s dressing or her walk. Even more problematic are comments referring to her as “Buddhi” and to dress and act her age. How come we don’t get to see similar comments for the likes of Salman Khan and Jackie Shroff? When these men can be flamboyant in their dressing, and the public wholly accepts them, why these double standards for Malaika Arora?

It’s almost like a blanket warning to Malaika, “Tumhara koi haq nahi banta ki tum itni desirable lago is umar mein. Not fair.” (You don’t have a right to look desirable at this age!)

It’s 2022. We have the likes of Neena Gupta wearing whatever they feel like wearing in their sixties, and feeling desirable at that age. And before anyone jumps at me, Malaika doesn’t have to dress like Neena Gupta. They’re different women, different tastes.

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What has age to do with having fun with your clothing or in your life? What has desirability have anything to do with age or body?

What irks some even more is that Malaika Arora walked out of a marriage to be in a relationship with a younger man. Anyway, I don’t think marriage is always necessary. Malaika and Arjun can still continue to be in a loving, long-term relationship for as long as they want it. Why should marriage always be the culmination of love? However, even if it’s a yes for marriage, best wishes to Malaika always.

Her Crime: Nasty Bangaalan Woman

Jaya Bachchan

Then, there’s the curious case of Jaya Bachchan, who’s conservatively dressed but doesn’t act as per societal expectations. She speaks her mind with no filter, doesn’t mask her anger and displeasure, and often trolled for being a ‘nasty’ woman.

Imagine the public uproar when an unlikeable woman like her assured Navya Naveli, her granddaughter, that she’d be cool if she were to have a baby out of wedlock. Out came all the gyaan from the so-called protectionists and pandits of Indian culture. How shameful it is for a woman of Jaya Bachchan’s stature to have scant disrespect for the family unit and Indian tradition.

There are endless video snippets of Jaya Bachchan’s ‘nasty’ behaviour. The recent one being where she ignored Kangana Ranaut’s greeting at the special screening of Uunchai.

If you notice closely, with Jaya Bachchan, there are clear double standards at play. Her outspokenness and straightforward ways are too much to handle for a misogynistic society. How is it that a random Twitter influencer as crass as KRK is hailed for being honest and fearless, but not someone credible like Jaya Bachchan?

Also, Jaya Bachchan’s ethnic roots and political affiliation make her a soft target. If there are equally outspoken women on the right side of the trolls loved for being nasty, why is Jaya Bachchan or someone like Mahua Moitra mocked and trolled for having a similar attitude but different outlook?

Her Crime: Nepo kid who had a baby ‘out of wedlock’

Alia Bhatt

You’d think people have a problem with older women. But we do not spare young women like Alia Bhatt either. To begin with, she gets hate for her father Mahesh Bhatt’s misdoings. Then, there’s the whole debate on nepotism and privilege (which holds some truth) and how she’s at the center of it all, and receives undue advantage because of it.

Alia Bhatt is an interesting case because while people praise her for her on-screen histrionics, she has a public image of being dumb offscreen. She has owned up to her lack of a certain kind of intellect, but credits herself as being someone who’s highly emotionally intelligent.

Unfortunately, she saw the heights of trolling after her marriage and pregnancy announcement. There were accusations that her love story, marriage and baby were mere marketing tools for “Brahmastra”. Then, there was an interview snippet during Brahmastra promotions where she adjusts her mike under her lap and brings her hand to her nose instinctively which went viral, and people started mocking her for sniffing her butt.

Another viral video of hers during Brahmastra promotions where she says don’t watch her movies if you don’t like her, was picked up by the #BoycottBollywood gang to run their smear campaign against her and the movie.

And now that she has delivered her baby girl, people are busy passing snide remarks about why it all makes sense now that they had their ‘simple’ wedding planned in less than ten days. Like seriously, does Alia Bhatt need a character certificate from any of us?

Pregnancy is not a comfortable state to be in, and neither is motherhood. You could already see the signs of fatigue on Alia’s face during their Diwali celebrations, and in the paparazzi pictures of her as she left the hospital for her home with her baby tucked cozily in Ranbir’s arms.

So, what is the public’s problem with Jaya Bachchan, Malaika Arora or Alia Bhatt?

We are never ever good enough because we are women. There is a bias against women that gets compounded based on our ethnicity, caste, religion, ideology, and belief systems.

We’ve all got similar reactions from people around us.

For being too thin or fat.

For being unmarried or divorced.

For being barren or child-free by choice.

For being a good or bad wife and mother.

For being an immoral woman.

How can we expect these same people to know their boundaries behind a computer screen starring as a keyboard warrior for women celebrities?

Now, it’s up to us if we want to succumb to their expectations, or live up to our own and forge ahead.

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About the Author

Tina Sequeira

Tina Sequeira is an award-winning writer and marketer. Winner of the Rashtriya Gaurav Award in association with the Government of Telangana, Orange Flower Award by Women’s Web, India's leading website for women, read more...

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