Skip To Content

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

    Let me explain.

    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.

    Personally, it's been a source of immense confusion. Who's going around teaching dudes that any of this works? WHO?

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

    Whether it's Bollywood's king of romance, Shah Rukh Khan's unnecessarily violent ways of showing love...

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

    We reeeeally need to examine the lessons Bollywood is teaching our men.

    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.)

    Moral of the story: If your flirting strategy doesn't work, resort to violent threats and when you do, haseena maan jaayegi.

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

    Moral of the story: Consent means nothing. (And continues to be irrelevant across several lifetimes.)

    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.

    Moral of the story: As long as the tune is catchy, you can say whatever you want and you'll get the girl.

    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.

    Moral of the story: If a girl is unconscious, it's absolutely appropriate to have your way with her.

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

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

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

    So, ladies, the next time a man completely disregards your consent and stares, catcalls, follows, or sings at you, you know who to blame.

    And Bollywood, we women are part of your audience, too. We pay for tickets, too. We idolise and worship and sustain you, too.

    And while it's fuckin' AWESOME to see strong women represented on screen more and more with every NH10 and Queen...

    How about you take a wee bit more responsibility for the ways you're teaching men to behave with us?

    And if you can't make a movie without endangering and marginalising half of your audience, maybe find a different career? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Follow BuzzFeed India on Facebook.