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Hey Bollywood, Here's Why I Blame You Every Time I Get Catcalled

Let me explain.

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Ladies, if you live in India and you've ever been in public, you know what it's like to be leered, followed, whistled at, catcalled, and sang to by strange dudes.

Well. Let's take a closer look at the largest film industry in the country, shall we?

Frame Her Right

We already know that cinema plays an essential part in shaping the perceptions of the public. Bollywood is responsible for shaping the minds of billions.

... Or the rest advocating all the wrong things...

Let's begin with the '90s. I remember enjoying Haseena Maan Jaayegi as a child and recently rewatched it as an adult. (The name should have been enough warning of the kind of nonsense that would follow.)

Rahul Productions

This GIF from the title song demonstrates just one of several things tragically wrong with this movie.

Context: The woman has been harassed by the man in the yellow overalls (ew) throughout the movie with everything from prank calls to kidnapping. The man in the blue is his brother. The song starts with the men convincing her to say, "I love you," insisting that if she doesn't, she will suffer and die alone. The woman aggressively tells him to leave her alone until his brother pulls out a knife. She then falls in love. Eventually, they're married.

Here's another popular '90s jam, "Neela Dupatta Peela Suit" from the movie Hamesha.

Eros Labs

Translation: In your heart, it's a yes. What's on your lips is a lie.

Context: Boy falls in love with girl and harasses and catcalls her with the help of the whole male population of the college. She falls for him before they tragically die in their current lifetime. They are, however, reincarnated and end up together.

And it's not just old-school Bollywood that we have to blame. Filmmakers, even today, are unashamedly releasing rapey lyrics packaged in really catchy songs.

Translation: Don't stop me for no reason. Don't stop me from following you. I have a right over you. You are my delight.

Context: The woman is uninterested, so the boy chases her around the market "serenading" her with these thoughtful words. Eventually, you know what happens.

And these glorious nuggets are even in movies that are widely lauded as being progressive.

This scene is from the 2011 blockbuster Tanu Weds Manu. Lead actress Kangana Ranaut is known to star in powerful women-oriented movies and has proved, time and again, to be one of the best things that ever happened to Bollywood.

Context: Not wanting to meet an arranged marriage prospect, she gets drunk. Her friends and relatives bring her to meet the man in private and she promptly passes out. He then takes a picture and even kisses her ON THE LIPS. No prizes for guessing what happens next: they fall in love, get married, and remain destined to be together even in a hugely successful sequel.

And don't even get me started on the what we like to call "sex comedies".

T-Series

The above GIF is from a 2013 Bollywood blockbuster named Grand Masti. This “adult comedy,” was obviously well received and made about ₹100 Crore within three weeks of its release, an uncommon feat in Bollywood. The movie had enough “vulgar dialogue and obscene content” to be banned from cinemas in certain other countries, but attracted hoards of moviegoers in India.

Yet no one wants to take responsibility. Because come on, no one takes movies seriously, right?

Suhaimi Abdullah / Via Getty Images

The above quote was made in response to criticism that the movie Grand Masti condones behaviour that is detrimental to Indian society, by cast member and Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi.

Except they do. One Indian was acquitted of stalking women in Australia because he blamed it on Bollywood.

Eros Now

No joke. His lawyer argued that, thanks to Bollywood, it is quite normal behaviour for Indian men to obsessively target women without obvious sign of their affections being returned.

The judge seriously thought this was a good enough reason to let him avoid jail.

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