Does Bollywood normalise stalking?

A defence lawyer in Australia successfully claimed that his client’s aggressive pursuit of women was ‘quite normal behaviour’ for Bollywood fans. Sadly, it’s all too easy to concur

An inspirational tale … Darr: A Violent Love Story
An inspirational tale … Darr: A Violent Love Story, starring Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan. Photograph: PR

In Australia, a 32-year-old Indian security guard has escaped a jail term after his attorney argued his harassment of women with unwanted texts, messages and personal advances was a by-product of his film fanaticism. What for some might be seen as stalking was, for Bollywood aficionados it was argued, “quite normal behaviour” as the movies encourage the idea that a woman will eventually fall in love with a man if he pursues her hard enough.

Quite a contention, yet it holds cultural weight. Rachel Dwyer, a professor in Indian cinema at SOAS, University of London, points out that the “often relentless” nature of the Bollywood leading man’s pursuit can be tracked through decades of examples, which she examines in her book Bollywood’s India. In the 60s, for example, screen heroes such as Shammi Kapoor, a pretty-boy famous for his cheeky on-screen persona, “would flirt and dance in front of the heroine, who initially rejected him but was won over when she found out his real worth”.

Pinterest

Yet this peacocking has recently morphed into something sinister – and, moreover, still in the mainstream. In Yash Chopra’s Darr: A Violent Love Story (1993), Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) is obsessed with Kiran (Juhi Chawla), who is engaged to Sunil, a navy officer. Rahul carves her name on his chest with a knife,…

https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2015/jan/29/does-bollywood-normalise-stalking

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s