Although Indian films are trying to break stereotypes and opting for innovative characters, the process has largely been slow. Despite a spate of several prominent female-oriented films offering meaty roles to heroines and several promising women filmmakers creating an offbeat cinema in recent times, our films have rarely got rid of stereotypes. Here we are listing 5 stereotypes Bollywood seriously needs to get rid of…
The Good Girl or Sanskari Ladki sings bhajans
The Indian audience has secretly fantasised the one and only ideal women – the traditional girl. In the films of the ’60s and the ’70s, she was often typified as a girl who would wake up early, sing bhajans, worship her husband and cook for the family. If she ever worked (which was rare; necessary only if she came from a very poor family), she would walk to the office. The era of the ’80s saw a spate of family films that had almost every heroine from Hema Malini and Rekha to Moushumi Chatterjee and Vidya Sinha try out the formula, either as bahu, bhabhi or single mother. The good girl is the one whom the hero ultimately picks to take home. A foreign-educated Salman Khan in Maine Pyar Kiya or Hum Saath Saath Hain prefers the coy conservatively dressed girl over the one with a modern mindset (invariably projected as a vamp). In Vivah, Shahid Kapoor repeats the template while wooing the very traditional Amrita Rao (in pic). In Cocktail, Saif Ali Khan picks the super-sanskari Meera, played by Diana Penty, after gallivanting with Deepika Padukone’s free-spirited Veronica all along. Worse, when Veronica decides to try wooing the hero one final time, in the end, she turns demure in salwar kameez, giving up her micro mini image in an instant.
The Fallen Woman
The bad girl in Bollywood is one who defies the rules of society. Just as Indian society has set rules to define a fallen woman, our films too follow set rules for that stereotype. Asha Parekh as the girl who elopes with her lover in Kati Patang was a prominent example of an on-screen fallen woman in the Rajesh Khanna era. Lately, though, the bad girl is not necessarily a fallen woman. Bipasha Basu in Jism, Deepika Padukone in Cocktail or a Priyanka Chopra in Saat Khoon Maaf have been prominent examples of this.
Akeli ladki khuli Tijori
A girl can’t go anywhere alone in the night because it’s not safe. And even if she goes, and something gruesome happens to her, then it’s her own mistake because she knew all along that, “Akeli ladki khuli tijori ki tarah hoti hai.” Didn’t you see Jab We Met?
Stalkers make the best boyfriends
This has been in the news a lot lately, especially when the trailer of Badrinath Ki Dulhania trailer was released. And there have been umpteen number of films where stalking has been justified. One of the biggest success of 2013 was woven around this very thing. Yes, we are talking about Raanjhanaa. So Sonam Kapoor’s character is stalked by Dhanush’s in the film and she agrees to entertain him because, of all the things, he is ‘consistent.’ What’s with this dialogue, “Tumhari consistency ki wajah se mil rahe hain, pyar ke liye nahin.”