‘Heroine Should Be Pure’ & Other Reasons The Film Love Today Is Problematic!

Love Today is full of blatant sexism promoted and glorified, and I can just imagine its effect on impressionable minds of youngsters.

Everywhere I looked were posts about Love Today. I was excited to watch the movie in Tamil since it was trending. I definitely liked the concept. While everyone is so busy with their phones, we forget real connections. It gave me an understanding of how we have meaningful information on our phones, in this case, things even partners don’t know.

*Spoilers Alert

The story of Love Today is mainly about a couple, Uthaman Pradeep (played by Pradeep Ranganathan) and Nikitha (Ivana), and their lives after they swap phones. The takeaway from the movie was, ‘Trust the people around you.’ I liked the visualization showing the younger version of Pradeep planting a seed and digging it every once in a while to check if it grew. But when he lets it settle and trusts the process, the seed grows into a tree.

I have some questions about Love Today

The movie is about Gen Z and how youngsters don’t trust their lovers. And to basically believe in each other. Towards the end, Pradeep says, “We just need to have some faith.” While I get the message the filmmakers are trying to convey, I’m not convinced.

I feel like the young generation, even though we might be hasty at times, have the guts to leave when we know something is wrong in a relationship. For those saying that marriages used to last for fifty or more years, there could be many reasons. In our society, there is pressure to uphold marriage, even if it makes you miserable. 

But now, after a lot of awareness and talk about putting ourselves first, things are slowly changing. I feel youngsters now tolerate much less nonsense, which is actually good. Women are much more independent and can leave when they want to instead of depending on their ‘God-like’ husbands throughout their lives.

By this, I don’t mean to criticize happily married couples.

A good foundation for a relationship is openness and honesty. I get that we would never be able to share everything with a partner, but no one would be able to blindly believe their lover after they lie to go for a long drive with an ex or hide the fact that they text women posing to be a film director asking for tribal pictures. 

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But is it right to justify lying, cheating, stalking, and pervert behavior? To ask viewers to trust each other in a relationship? It seems to me that I will have trust issues if I cannot have an honest conversation with my partner.

Why should a movie promote toxic masculinity?

There was an emphasis in Love Today on “Men will be men,” be it their vulgar chats or the way they sexualize a woman without her knowledge.

It reminds me of the toxic dialogue from Kavan where Thilak played by Vijay Sethupathy says at one point, “Scorpions sting, serpents bite, and men will be men. It’s a biological urge.”

In this way, movies have started justifying men behaving poorly. Why? Because ‘men will be men’. 

For a moment, I got carried away thinking Pradeep didn’t do anything bad. As he says, “I’m indeed a bad guy but not very bad.”

Nikitha secretly stayed in contact with her ex, went on a long drive with him, and hid the fact that her boy bestie proposed to her.

And our innocent hero Pradeep, without Nikitha’s knowledge:

  • says he is single
  • tries to get into contact with his ex
  • flirts with women from customer care
  • asks random women for their ‘sexy’ pictures by tricking them
  • says he deleted all of Nikitha’s intimate photos but stores them
  • stalks his ex through a fake Instagram account
  • condones disgusting activities by his friends punishable by law (cyberbullying, scamming to name a few)

One more baffling incident is when Pradeep watches porn before he meets Nikitha. When she confronts him, he justifies by saying I watch it to not misbehave with you. How sweet and considerate! He did a huge favour for her, yeah?

I don’t justify cheating both ways. But, the way they portray Pradeep cooly and casually getting away with it irks me. She hid things, and he hid things. Both of which is the same, yeah? But no, Nikitha “sinfully wronged her boyfriend”, and Pradeep is a saint because “Boys will be boys”.

Why should the heroine always be ‘pure’?

Pradeep doesn’t have a problem talking vulgarly about other women without their consent. But he has a problem when he assumes Nikitha has a sexual life. I don’t know what he would have done if it was her video. What if she was intimate with her ex? The focus is on Nikitha, but no one asks Pradeep about his past.

The most alarming thing is Nikitha keeps trying to convince her that she hasn’t had a sexual relationship. She should have blocked Pradeep for presuming and asking such a disgusting question. 

Blatant sexism promoted and glorified

It’s what the movie and all the buzz around it made me believe. It convinced me that men will act this way, and probably me, as a woman, should ‘nag’ less and ‘trust’ a man. But, I watched the movie a second time when I realized all the sexism was right there staring at me.

The film had such an effect on me; I can’t imagine its impact on young, impressionable minds, the target audience.

Tacky climax of Love Today supports victim blaming

The tacky and unnecessary climax brings up more issues.

Nikitha’s co-worker posts a morphed video of her online. Pradeep trusts her and asks his friends for help. Eventually, they find out his co-worker’s location and report him to the police. But in the process, they reveal the actual lady in the video. What about her life and privacy? And what if it was Nikitha actually in the video?

Nikitha’s father hits her when he gets the news. It’s shocking how many movies nowadays show victim blaming. He supposedly supports inter-caste marriage but doesn’t pause a moment to have a mature adult conversation with his own daughter when she was clearly a victim.

Pradeep says, “I am sincerely sorry IF I hurt you,” after all the emotional damage he caused. I expected a genuine apology at the minimum. How does Nikitha end up with him?

Trust but how much? Is blind trust the best?

Why did Pradeep and Nikitha hide so much from each other?

I believe that openness and trust are most important in a relationship. But trust does not mean blindly trusting someone. It does not mean turning a blind eye when a man or woman cheats.

I’ve read so many posts on Reddit where a spouse believes their partner so much, only to suddenly discover that their other half is cheating on them. It definitely hurts. Let’s not give it all away to trust. A couple also needs to be able, to be honest with each other. If they are not, there is definitely something wrong with the relationship. The movie could have suggested reasonable solutions like couples counseling and boundaries.

I don’t mean that Love Today is all bad. I liked the part where it talks about body image issues and love that is not all about looks. The portion with Dr. Yogi and Divya was sweet. It emphasized boundaries when Yogi stepped away when Divya got a call. And even though Yogi is insecure, he reveals why he doesn’t give phone access to Divya because of body shaming and bullying. Although they should have spoken about it way before the day of the marriage, it was cute.

But the problematic parts are not Ok.

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About the Author

Mirali Borde

Mirali Borde is an aspiring writer trying to make it in this world. read more...

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