Vijay Deverakonda-starrer Arjun Reddy and the Hindi, Tamil versions of the film too were slammed for glorifying misogyny. Then came RX 100 and the recently
released Ismart Shankar, are classic examples of glorifying toxic masculinity.
Despite the uproar, filmmakers continue to make such films. Now comes Pati Patni Aur Woh ... Where there’s a crude, controversial dialogue on marital rape after receiving flak, the director tries to clarify.
The troublesome dialogue, which many saw as an endorsement of marital rape, had actor Kartik Aryan saying, “Biwi se sex maang lein toh hum bikhaari. Biwi
ko sex na de toh hum atyachaari. Aur kisi tarah jugaad laga ke usse sex haasil kar lena toh balaatkari bhi hum hai. (If we ask our wives for sex then we’re called
beggars, if we deny them sex then we’re called torturers, and if we coerce them into having sex with us, we’re called rapists).”
Narrating an incident from his childhood, Mudassar sets about clearing the air for the first time since the trailer launch.
“My father was a huge fan of Subhash Ghai’s cinema. In fact, watching Subhashji’s films was an event for our entire family. But when Subhashji’s Khalnaayak was being released, my father saw the trailer and heard Sanjay Dutt saying a dialogue that sounded as though the villain’s character was being glorified. This shattered my father’s faith in Subhash Ghai’s cinema, and he went to see Khalnayak without us. But when he saw the film, he realised that Sanjay Dutt’s character had not been glorified at all. In fact, the villain comes to an awful sticky end,” narrates Mudassar, who believes that the offensive dialogue from Pati Patni Aur Woh has been similarly judged out of context.
“And who are these people judging you? I’ve heard young RJs asking actors questions that they have no business asking. Most people who are judging us today are not qualified to do so. That dialogue — which a few wrenched out of context — is meant to show the narrow-mindedness of the small-town Kanpuri
protagonist who has grown up in a patriarchal environment and doesn’t think it is wrong to think that way. Unless we spell out societal prejudices, how do we
tackle them?” he asks.
The director insists that disrespect to women is not a part of his DNA. “I’ve grown up in a household where my mother and sister had the final say on every issue.
My films, whether it is Dulha Mil Gaya or Happy Bhaag Jayegi, I have always had women at the forefront. I’d never disrespect women in my cinema,” he asserts.
Interestingly, contrary to reports, the allegedly offensive dialogue has not been removed from the film.
“We’ve removed a word that was apparently making people uncomfortable. But removing the filth from gender-biased minds is a process that can only be
initiated after that filth is addressed. Soch ko badalne ke liye pehle uss soch ko awaaz deni hogi,” he states.
Tollywood no different
Most of the Telugu movies had glamorous scenes but the leading actors and directors were not involved in delivering vulgar and crude dialogues. Young actors’ films like Arjun Reddy and RX 100 are one of the few films, directed by new-age filmmakers. For Instance, the movie Bus Stop was not appreciated by a large group of students because of its double meaning dialogues and misleading scenes. Protests were held in Hyderabad at Sandhya Theater by student organizations. They burnt down the movie’s flex boards and created a ruckus to ban the movie. Powerful slogans were aimed at the censor board as the film was certified even before it was appropriately censored.
With inputs from Ezekiel Majello G