On International Kissing Day, Let’s Discuss The Lack Of Consent In Desi Films

Set off warning: sexual harassment

The Indian sense of morality is oddly skewed on the subject of intercourse. On one hand, society has a callous perspective in direction of consent, and on the opposite, consensual bodily relationships are stigmatised. That is fairly evident within the movies made right here as properly the place one thing as elementary as a kiss could make a movie too steamy to get a U/A certificates, however the depiction of compelled bodily contact doesn’t.

For a very long time, love tales have tried to indicate that kissing a girl who just isn’t responsive—Hi there Snow White and Sleeping Magnificence!—or is offended and disinterested, is a “hero’s” prerogative. Giving males the worst concepts about consent, Hindi movies additionally present {that a} girl’s willingness for bodily contact just isn’t crucial for love, propagating unusual concepts about intimacy.

So on Worldwide Kiss Day, let’s have a look at how the best way desi films method kissing and consent, and the way the glorification of non-consensual kissing within the Indian cinema-scape has been damaging.

Rekha’s assertion about being kissed with out her consent on display is without doubt one of the most well-known examples of this lack of consent

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Picture credit score: Venus Films

In gentle of #MeToo allegations in Bollywood, individuals are positively extra cautious about pulling stunts like “shocking” their co-stars with undesirable advances, even on display. But it surely wasn’t at all times like that.

In a biography about megastar Rekha titled Rekha:The Untold Story, Yaseer Usman wrote about how Raja Nawathe, the director of Anjana Safar (later renamed Do Shikaari) wished actor Biswajeet to shock Rekha with a kiss in a single scene, when she was mere 15 years of age. In line with the ebook, Rekha left in tears, whereas the forged and crew whistled and hooted.

If this isn’t sickening, what’s?

Most of Bollywood’s A-listers have contributed to the issue by romanticising non-consensual kissing

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Picture credit score: Eros Leisure, Nadiadwala Grandson Leisure

Keep in mind the horrid “opposites appeal to” depiction of “romance” in Kambakkht Ishq starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Akshay Kumar? That additionally concerned a scene the place the actor simply forces himself on the feminine lead in the midst of a combat.

In Hum Tum, which was so critically-acclaimed and profitable financially, Saif Ali Khan kisses Rani Mukerji on the finish of the music ‘Ladki Kyon’ simply to “shut her up.”

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Picture credit score: Yash Raj Movies

How is this sort of behaviour idealised and regarded worthy of being included in what is meant to be a love story? The place is the respect for bodily autonomy?

Even in movies launched as late as 2021, we see actors like Varun Dhawan enact “shock” kisses on display

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Picture credit score: Pooja Leisure

Filmmakers assume that exhibiting the invasion of a girl’s area and the violation of her bodily autonomy by the male lead is meant to be cute. That’s why there proceed to be scenes the place the person “surprises” a girl by kissing her. We’re made to assume that is okay and what the lady desires, as a result of the narrative doesn’t punish the person for doing it. In reality, ultimately, he “will get the woman.”

In actual life, if a random dude walked as much as you and planted his mouth on yours, your response could be to puke on him after which file a police grievance, not fall in love with him. So how is it that in 2021, Indian filmmakers are nonetheless making an attempt to painting the drained, regressive, problematic idea of the non-consensual kiss as romantic? The place is the sense of social accountability of actors? And because the theatre-going public, why aren’t we extra vital of this as an alternative of slamming consensual intimate scenes? The place are our sanskaars now?

Lead picture credit score: Pooja Leisure

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