Toxic relationships and films

By Paridhi Rathore

2010: Thappad se darr nahi lagta sahab, pyaar se lagta hai.

2020: Pyaar ke saath Respect bhi zaruri hai Sahab, ek Thappad bhi nahi sahenge.

A decade of Bollywood Cinema and we could see other narrative as well.

Director Anubhav Sinha's film released in February 2020 casting Tapsee Pannu gets right what Sandeep Reddy Vanga's Kabir Singh got wrong.

Would it be precise to say that 'Thappad' is the answer to 'Kabir Singh'? Pardon me. Let's reframe the question. Would it be precise to say that 'Thappad' is the answer to nearly all bollywood movies where a person hits their partner as a sign of true love?

Whilst Kabir singh was a toxic love story where both the lead actors were brutal with each other in someway, Thappad is all about Tapsee fighting for justice as she was slapped by her husband.

After watching the trailer of Thappad, audience were irked to compare the said movies. After watching the blockbuster film Kabir Singh, netizens were disturbed by both the lead actors slapping each other in two different scenes.

This created alot of controversy to which the director, Sandeep Reddy Vanga answered, 'If you can’t slap, touch your woman wherever you want, I don’t see emotion’ which didn't really go down as he expected. And Tapsee Pannu in the movie Thappad says "Haan ek thappad, par nahi maar sakta" when her husband slaps her out of rage and she is headed for a divorce.

Contrasting much? Can say.

The slap became the highlight of Kabir singh and people linked it to domestic violence which Thappad revolves around.

But the important question is, is violence a form of love? Let me make it easier for you.

No, it is NOT.

To solve a problem the first step is to identify it and the fact that thappad is not half as successful as Kabir singh is a scary reflection of our society.

You can't hit anyone; be It humans or animals as an expression of love. Violence is never the answer.

Whilst everyone is romanticising 'Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Thappad', Tapsee Pannu's character gave us a reality check saying "Nahi maar sakte."

So dear bollywood, no matter how many Arijit Singh and Badshah songs you stuff us with, toxicity will not be prompted.

If respect is not on your little dictionary of "love", might as well throw the whole dictionary out because I can't stress. Enough when I say LOVE IS BACKED BY RESPECT!! If there is no respect, you will find yourself in an abusive and toxic relationship.

Society normalises unhealthy behaviour so people may not understand that their relationship is abusive. It is hard to identify your relationship as abusive and therefore there's no reason to speak up.

Before getting angry at your partner and hitting them, please question your own decency since you are physically assaulting a person. Which is a crime, by the way. Question your decency because you're committing a crime as well as sin. Which is normalised!!!

You know all this starts when you're young. Hearing "He is pulling your pigtails because he has a crush on you" as a little child leads them to believe that it's okay to be hit by your partner, when in love. And that's even more dangerous. Nobody is born as an abuser and nobody becomes one overnight.

It is so heartbreaking and painful to hear abusive behaviour be reduced to something normal and accepting by labelling it "naive". No. If your mental state is capable of hitting someone then you're not "naive", it's sceptical.

I'm sure I'm not being dramatic when I say, all the people who say "but they're just films, don't mix reel and real lives", whenever someone points out the problematic movies are somehow little responsible for perpetuating this kind of behaviour.

Yes, cinema is not real life. But cinema has a considerable effect on us; especially on teenagers: the future of our country.

I was really devasted when I heard people howling and cheering when Kabir singh slapped preeti. Talk about the audacity. These are the same people who think that their parents abusing each other is just another "fight" that will be over by tomorrow with some pizzas and drinks which gradually becomes a toxic trait.

And if even as a child you did such things, that does not justify the reason to do it as adults because you were raised like that. Unlearn it, even if you are a teen.

If you notice that your peers are indulging in such kind of behaviour, be a human and call them out for such toxic behaviour.

We can see that in Kabir Singh, Kabir's friend Shiva tries to take Preeti out of her marriage and go with Kabir even though he knows how toxic Kabir is; whereas in Thappad we can see how Swati helps her sister in law Amrita through out her court journey emotionally and standing beside her. The character of Swati should also be applauded for her stand against her fiance Vikram for supporting Amrita's husband.

These two characters aren't different from each other for supporting their friends but what differs them is their choice of different cause. One chose to fight against what's wrong, risking her relationship while one chose friendship over abuse.

That being said, I also would like to say that not ALL of them are affected by the screwed up mentality of Indian cinema. Here's the deal.

We all are humans and we all have toxicity inside us. We are all toxic but some of us choose to educate ourselves while the others just ignore answerability. Thappad received hate even after being the most socially correct film, because you don't want to step outside your thick bubble of delusion.

Identify the problem. Act upon it.

Paridhi Rathore is an Intern with The Colourboard.

She is persuing her Bachelors of Mass Media from Mumbai.


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