How Bollywood Normalised Rape Culture | BuzzFeed India

How Bollywood Normalised Rape Culture | BuzzFeed India

That’s… not what sex looks like, right? Well, for a long time, Bollywood has shied away from showing any real, candid representations of sex. Instead, it has a long history of passing off violence, assault, and rape as “romantic entertainment.” So how does that shape our understanding of sex,
or rape, or even consent? Sex is still taboo across most of Indian society,
even if it wasn’t always this way. Early Indian culture was actually pretty sexually progressive. But then colonisation happened. Mixed with religion and nationalism, sex slowly became something dishonourable or wrong. You couldn’t talk about it in public, so you couldn’t talk about it on the big screen either. And the aggressive censor board made sure of that. It was impossible for Bollywood movies to show any explicit nudity, or sex scenes, or even a kissing scene. But sex sells, and the industry knew that. So Bollywood filmmakers got creative with it. They began to allude to sex without showing anything explicitly, using visual metaphors or subtle song lyrics. Item numbers actually became a thing as early as the 1930s. Before they were this hugely popular trend appearing in almost every movie, they were actually a form of escapist cinema for presumably mostly male audiences. Movies were the only openly available source for anything sexual. There was no Internet or porn back then. But in the ’80s, the Indian film industry experienced a decline because the market for home videos was booming. Filmmakers had to find a way to revive it, and just alluding to sex wasn’t going to cut it. So according to film scholar Kush Varia, the industry started serving these male audiences with scenes and plotlines meant to satisfy their “perverse pleasures.” Sex couldn’t technically be shown as a positive thing – because, honour – so it had to be shown in a negative context. And one really easy way to show sex as bad was through rape or sexual assault, which is probably why such scenes were so popular in movies from the ’70s to the ’90s. Historial S.M.M. Ausaja agreed. He said rape scenes were used more for their item value than a necessity of the script. So, unsurprisingly, they were pretty formulaic. Evil villain rapes helpless damsel who is saved
by the self-righteous hero. The honour of the family has been protected! Who cares about the woman, right? Take this scene in Mulzim for instance. The moment Ranjeet starts to rape the woman, the hero dramatically jumps in to save her. What follows is a long fight sequence between the two actors, and the rape is forgotten entirely. The woman is considered the man’s property, so her rape is really a question of his honour, and not much else. Like in Bhagyawaan, which really exemplifies how insignificant the woman and her experience are. Marry her off to the rapist! Problem solved! Not only were these tropes constantly depicted onscreen, but actors like Shakti Kapoor and Ranjeet became
famous for their roles as rapists – having appeared in countless rape scenes throughout their careers. They were hailed as “cool” and “macho” and idolized by their fans, as is the case with most celebrities in India,
according to filmmaker Farrukh Dhondy. And if the audience revered the man glorifying rape onscreen, that’s a pretty big problem. In some cases, rape scenes were entirely about the audience getting pleasure from the domination of women, especially if the actress was also famous. Like in Zakhmi Aurat, which had a really disturbing rape scene with Dimple that lasted over 7 minutes. The more she resisted, the more effort he had
to put in to overpower her. And the greater was his prize. And honestly, also the greater his appeal as an actor. More violence, even if it was exaggerated, tended to make the rape scene more “exciting.” Given the influence that Bollywood has, that’s a dangerous precedent to be setting. Other times, the woman being raped was shown as teasing the man, showing the scene in a very casual, almost comedic light. Like in this scene from Tohfa. Or this song, where Madhuri Dixit is basically describing how she was raped in a field… But it’s fine because she was singing and dancing..? This study actually shows that almost 70% of sexual violence in movies in the late ’90s was shown as “fun,” which showed a very flawed idea of consent. After the 90s, these kinds of rape scenes gradually went away from mainstream Bollywood because other mediums became popular. But they were replaced by subtler forms of rape culture, including careless jokes about rape, and a lot of the same ambiguity around consent. So it makes sense that so many Indians think stalking and eve-teasing is completely acceptable, both in movies and in real life. In fact, this new man-doesn’t-take-no-for-an-answer became the next big Bollywood formula. And it continues to normalize sexist behaviour every day. While historian S.M.M. Ausaja said that Samir Parikh, the director of Mental Health and
Behavioural Sciences at Fortis said This is not a new debate. Let’s take the example of Grand Masti. When it released, it got a lot of criticism for its problematic and sexist tropes. But it was still a huge hit. Actor Vivek Oberoi said: That’s a convenient way to avoid taking responsibilty. Because the truth is that is a big issue. The National Crime Records Bureau reported that four women are raped every hour in India. That is a staggering number. And while many of the movies we’ve discussed do have loose, overarching morals where the rapists
are supposed to be bad, they are quite forgiving of men who violate, stalk, and harrass women. Journalist and author Deepanjana Pal said it perfectly: After the internationally shocking Nirbhaya rape case of 2012, some movies, like Maatr, Pink, and Mom, did do it right. Rape was not trivialized and sexual violence
was treated sensitively. But these films never became nearly as successful as the ones that capitalized on sexist tropes. Not to mention that many of the rape scenes we’ve discussed still have thousands, if not millions, of views on YouTube as of October 2019. Offscreen, actors outed for sexual harrassment
and assault are still revered. Many of the problematic things they’ve said are simply shrugged off as meaningless. Most bear no consequences for their real-life actions because of the respect they gain onscreen. Even if these facts don’t automatically
and directly impact behaviour, they do shape the culture that we live in. They lead to the persistent misogyny in the industry and beyond. Even in 2019, when these issues and movements like #MeToo are more widely talked about than ever before, Pop culture and the Bollywood industry
still have a very long way to go.

100 thoughts on “How Bollywood Normalised Rape Culture | BuzzFeed India

  1. You've only talked about the villains here – let's talk about the heroes. Shahrukh Khan in DDLJ, Josh ; where stalking & sexual harassment is shown to be romantic.
    Govinda in most of his films. Varun Dhawan, Housefull etc. Ishqzaade(He rapes her & she falls for him.) Kangana's ex in Queen – there's a dialogue where she says, aise hi thode na maani thi, 2 saal tak peecha karaya tha.
    Women saying stuff like that is just as problematic. Men are only half the equation. That women still love DDLJ & tropes like stalking & construe them as romantic is just as awful.

  2. Yes i agree cinema shape our minds but, Ask the heroines why are they willing to do such roles ?
    They can go to any level for money and then justify it also. So problem start from there. First women have to start respecting themselves.

  3. Proves how many perverted men still exist in this god forsaken country for movies like grand Masti and Arjun Reddy to be box office hits.

  4. The religion you showed is the one whose followers wrote Kamasutra. It’s not about going against it, it’s all about understanding how liberal it is.

  5. That judwaa 2 and that preeti wali movie..

    Was most irritating and disturbing movie to watch!

    Varun dhavan was constantly touching her butt kissing her

    And she said nothing..

    Fhir pyaar ho gya bancho.

  6. Y can't put a video how Bollywood obsessed with Hollywood movies like hangover and sex and city while complaining other films as shit for their business using the in Bollywood never hearing any women oriented subjects for sell their projects because father for grantmasti,pyarka series and the ladies version veera di wedding y they can't actually do good films about our urban village girls who struggling for studies and other duty now days also still concentrating on only city based women life struggle not our urban area

  7. Feminist assholes r barking utmost shit, I'm worried abt bollywood is not showing how girls n women cheat their lovers n boyfriends for money n other issues. These bloody women who gives shitty speeches here will booze at night sleeps with whomever they want without having any morals sick of those bitches

  8. What’s the difference between a hooker and a drug dealer?

    A hooker can wash her crack and resell it.😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  9. And still movies like Kabir Singh are being made and watched. But what's worse is people who come and defend such movies.

  10. I feel what's far worse than the item numbers are those scenes in 90s and early 2000s where the show 'innocent ' and naive heroines taking dips in lakes and jumping around in half sarees with an intentional scenes of flying duppattas just play on the audience fantasies of the heriones virginity…this was a usual scenario in every Tamil movie ever made in the 90s…or even the pushing away hair to reveal heriones backless blouse during a song sequence …

  11. I think this video and this topic in particular needs to be so famous and viral on youtube that the news channels are forced to address this publically, which in turn will make the government and rule setters of bollywood address this as a real issue instead of just "a video on youtube"

  12. I could not have said this better myself. We've had so many discussions around this topic but nothing has been done to address it. Till today, we're seeing the worst of women portrayals on-screen. Take Nora Fatehi's song Ek Toh Kum Zindagani for instance, she behaves lewdly, all to get a man's attention. It's almost as though Bollywood is a rite of passage for men to behave and act the way they do. Efforts to educate and correct mindsets are in vain when behavior is almost validated through movie scenes and song lyrics that consumed by the masses on a daily basis. My question is, how can we change this?

  13. Bollywood is singlehandedly the worst thing to happen to India, right after British colonialism……two evils that go hand in hand, that completely degrade the morals of a nation

  14. Wow. When I was a kid living in saudi arabia the Indian/Pakistani workers used to stare at me and sometimes make passes at me. I was less than 9 years old. I am half Pakistani and my mother said when she went to Pakistan at age 12 (she was born and brought up in the UK) she was groped on public transport several times, when she complained about it she was told it was normal. Growing up I realised it is the culture that is so perverse. And this video does an excellent job of highlighting that the media is what makes it worse. I feel so sad that my people are like this. I am not saying it is just the Indians, because I am sure other cultures have this problem too. I am saying from my experience it has mostly been the Indians/Pakistanis who have done these things. It made me feel disgusting and like there was something wrong with me, like I was dirty, when I was 8 years old.

  15. now -169K views and look at the videos she talked about …. I wrote a big passage and deleted it in comment section … because I know.. I was the one opening this video and watching it and then checking the comments to know peoples' views on this issue. But trust me I M neither a rapist nor a person who gets entertained by watching grand masti .So I guess U got the point … that the one's giving positive comments below or eve watching this video full ,don't actually need this message, The ones who need to watch the video and its comments are already doing what has been questioned here. They don't give a shit. Like the movie "Padman" was to change people's especially village residents' mentallity but who watched it..? We..! The Ones who never needed that . Those village people still don't understand . Similarly these bloody rapists, the male dominants enjoying such ridiculous movies ,they are never going to watch this video or will never change. I wish there was a way to forcefully tie them on a bench in a classroom all of them together and make them watch all these and all things about whats right and whats wrong . I wish there was something we could do.
    Do You Guys have any ideas or Opinion on how to change those sick mentalities around Us..? please share your ideas and comment below.
    And share this above video and similar videos on your social media … Maybe 1% of those sick minds might watch and change….

  16. and u wonder why india is the rape capital. ive been saying this from day one. its stupid bollywood. esp. from 80s n 90s

  17. What about 3 idiots where Chatur gives a speech about valatkar and the audience laughs out because they finds it comical ? 😕

  18. Bruv can v talk bout flims that promote robbery eg: players its a really good flim but you're literally promoting robbery many of us don't get that there maybe people out there watching these flims thinking they could actually work in real life

  19. A week ago, I was in India. The society I live in is patriarchal as well but my experience in India was entirely different. People would directly stare at our breasts, a lot of people specially inside train and New Delhi area. I saw a lot less women in the streets. Most of the women out there were wrapped in burqas. I grew up watching bollywood but the scenario is much worse in reality according to my experience. I hope situation will be better in future.


  21. It seems like Buzzfeed is trying to monetize on Indian cultural ethics. Should simply rename the channel to Buzzfeed Activist India.
    A student was raped in Bangladesh, everyone was given capital punishment. The problem isn't the media, the problem is the viewers in India. Custom bound women and men.

  22. Item dances are probably the worst thing Bollywood has given to this world.
    I'm glad BuzzFeed took up this topic.
    Never stop talking about this.

  23. That also works from the opposite side- from the very market! And the market is/was more or less comprised of sex starved people. So yeah Bollywood knew its market, and what to sell. That's why she said "but sex sells"

  24. We're more interested in popcorn movies than thoughtful movies. And why won't we be? Look at the poor or unprivileged people. They need to get entertained, just entertained, and nothing else. The people who are poor, who can't afford to THINK while they work hard to make ends meet, they need action, thrill, masalas, escapism through fantasies. Bollywood knows its market.

  25. it is good video truly but can i say a question that whoever is seeing rn all 176 000 people are already knowing these tihings how to reach others who dont know about it becuse they will not click it na probably

  26. And to think 'item songs' are a must in movies these days! It's so clear that the idea it spreads is very negative n dangerous that it's shown so casually!

  27. if movies are meant to be mae responsibly we wouldnt get gems like joker , arjun reddy and so on.just stop your feminist bs.a person doesnt change his behaviour seeing a movie if he really has that rapist in him he will rape
    a stable mind doent get affected by watching these type of scenes so ur saying to be responsible incase some pervert minds get affected and surpress creative content

  28. She explained it so well that I'm never going to watch Bollywood in the same way. and she hit the points exactly, I just hope girls realise being raped or someone trying to rape you doesn't make you weak fight as long as you can you never know where you will get nor who are all looking at you with gusto for becoming their voice

  29. Bollywood is not india
    Just like hollywood is not usa

    U say about women honour
    See mahabharat and ramayana …….those two epics says a lot about women honour in our society

  30. I noticed that in bollywood ''no" means …."worthy girl"to be married,conquered."no" never means "no"

  31. The way modern Bollywood showcases sex also supports rape culture in India. I feel the general analysis given in this video is shallow, and limited within the confinements of Western socio-cultural thinking, which was to be expected, overall.

  32. I've been saying this since long. Movies have huge huge influence. Problem is, liberals also become selective in these things.

  33. Ramadhir Singh quoted perfectly, and that can be modified as, " Sala Jabtak Hindustan mein Sanima hain, Log Chutiye aur Mysoginists bante rahenge"

  34. Why hasn’t this gone viral? Stupid celebrity makeup tutorials have millions of views but something as important as this doesn’t? What is wrong with us.

  35. Well I don't really admire buzzfeed, especially many of their international channels but I do agree with the issues being discussed in this video. It is true that how Bollywood and other forms of media have a hazardous impact on the Indian audience. I really appreciate that Buzzfeed India is speaking on this issue and I feel very thankful for them as they uploaded this video. 👍

  36. this video should be shared as much as possible because bollywood needs to understand that objectifying women in ur movies and item songs is not cool and u need to stop it. jab tak Kabir SIngh jaisi movies ko appreciation milti rahengi tab tak iss society mein badlaav laana mushkil hai. Really appreciate your effort BuzzFeed.

  37. 99℅ of Bollywood = beautiful 20 year old women falling "madly in love" with their fat, ugly seventy-year old uncles. If Bollywood wanted a broader audience, appealing to the 'dirty old man' demographic was NOT the way to go.

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