An open letter to SRK!!!
I am yet to meet a girl/woman who isn’t in awe of you. Entire female sorority considers you the ultimate, penultimate and everlasting love. It is as if you have charmed the entire other side of gender divide.
But let me tell you a secret. Feeling isn’t the same on this side of gender divide. Men, lot of if not many, just hate you. They just do.
No, it isn’t the jealousy of your success where you have transformed yourself into an industry itself. It isn’t the success of your movies in terms of numbers. It isn’t your wealth.
It is something else. It is the way you have changed how Indian women look at us poor men. Yes, it is because of that.
Bollywood industry was totally different before you attained stardom. By the time you arrived, last superstar Amitabh Bacchan aka Big B was fighting tooth and nail to save his career which was plagued by old age, lack of good movies, overall quality of commercial cinema which was on a constant decline, his political stint, his alleged involvement with certain scams and his own brand equity which had quite become a hurdle for himself.
While Bollywood cinema, as 80s progressed, was falling into an abyss of mediocrity – Big B couldn’t afford to be part of it since lot more was expected of him. He was too big a star to act in a typical run of the mill – hero, heroine, love songs, hero’s dead father, hero’s widowed mother, villain, hero’s to-be-raped-sister, revenge and happy ending. Yet, those were the kind of movies normally came out of Bollywood those days.
He did have his fair share of Indrajeet and Akayla and Ajooba and the rest. Some of his better movies like Hum and Khuda Gawah failed to recreate the success of 70s and early 80s. Then ABCL happened.
Bollywood was looking for a star. You happened. You started with commercial cinema which broke many myths of typical hero – you were a villain in Darr, a villainous hero in Bazigar, a non-heroic villain and a non-villainous hero in Anjam. While you were either here or there, you were still neither here nor there.
Then it all changed.
Till now the idea of love/romance/whatever was either very idealistic (Silsila, Maine Pyar Kiya, QSQT) or very roadside like rest of the crap Bollywood produced.
DDLJ changed it. You changed it in DDLJ.
Maybe this was the first time a love story was presented to Indian audience as a carnival. Remember the tagline – Come, fall in love?
Maybe the first time Indian audience were told that it isn’t always a baharon phool barsao moment when hero and heroine meet. Remember how Raj and Simran miss each other thrice before they finally meet – oh the epic hold-my-hand-although-you-can-still-board-the-train-from-other-door scene?
Maybe the first time Indian audience learnt that the concept of love at first sight, they had so often been told till date, was flawed. Remember every love story before that in which hero spots the heroine and immediately declares he had found the love of his life – be it Silsila’s ladki hai ya shola song or Chadani’s mere hathon mein nau nau choodiyan hain song.
We learned that love isn’t the optics which happens based on looks but it takes time to develop based on chemistry between two people. We learned that love isn’t simple mathematics where two plus two is always four but quite like physics where things happen under lot of conditions. Even newton’s laws are restricted by the friction and all that. We learned that love isn’t just sociology but psychology. We learned that love looks lot better when hero & heroine are roaming around in beautiful Switzerland rather than dancing in Juhu Aerodrome.
More importantly, we learned that not every affair may end up in love and hence forth marriage – remember how Raj boasts about his Casanova image. I cannot recall the same in any other love story before DDLJ. DDLJ came at a time when my generation had started to get a glimpse of outside world and secretly dreamt of breaking the tradition passed on by our previous generation – men married women, they had kids, maybe they fell in love too 10 years after having kids.
The movie also changed the way women looked at things. They learned that it was men’s job to make them feel special and in a movie, not always two people had to elope to get married. They learned that a man’s love can be so strong that it could melt even Amrish Puri
DDLJ broke many preconceived notions.
After DDLJ, Dil to Pagal hai (DTPH) happened. DTPH – it gave a formula to Bollywood which has been used so many times since then that it has become not only obsolete but also awfully stale. The formula is called – is it love or is it friendship? I think this movie was more detrimental to traditional woman’s thinking than the first one – you can throw yourself in a totally sloshed state yet he can be moral enough to not sleep with you. Compare it with “Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra” or “Tumhe bhagwan ke liye chhod doonga to main kya karoonga” we had seen in yesteryears. To feel for someone who didn’t feel the same way for you was shown as completely okay. Letting that person know the same was even better. On the other hand, it was fine for woman to fight for the bone of contention. See, women were gaining power over men – no longer two bearded men fighting over the same lass or sacrificing secretly. Even DTPH had a tagline – Someone somewhere is made for you. It clearly meant, if you fail once, just move one. You will get someone else. Gone were the days of killing self if love wasn’t a successful one.
Next was K2H2 – using the same formula defined in DTPH but to a much more gigantic proportion. Is it friendship or is it love formula was used in K2H2 with such heaviness that it started getting stale with this movie itself. But K2H2 did has something different from previous two movies.
In DDLJ, Raj’s wit, attitude, simplicity, romance makes Simran fall in love with him. Referring to the euro trip.
It was Rahul’s search for a woman with strong character paralleling his own strong character makes the love story in DDLJ. Referring to the Pooja’s dance at interval.
In K2H2, a spoilt brat’s purity of heart and putting his women above even god wins Anjali’s heart. Referring to scene where Rahul bows down his head to Anjali in the temple.
See, women were discovering that it wasn’t just the traditional qualities which were needed to win their hearts over but men also needed to see them beyond traditional beauty and give something previous generation hadn’t given – respect.
Women had seen the change which they might expect. They had realized they deserved more. They, I dare say, had smelt blood.
You, SRK, on the other hand were busy selling this mushy romance without even given a thought to what future generation of your own gender was going to face.
Every time you followed Simran inside a church even after confessing your atheism, every girl outside imagined her man would be as good as Raj and follow her to trial rooms whenever she went shopping and wait outside the trial rooms for hours. You have turned us in to a hanger holding cloths in shopping malls. Only if you had informed them that we would rather burn our lungs outside the church than go inside, things would have been much better for us. After all there is a phrase called “please go and let me have my peace”.
Every time, a hot girl expressed her love for you in a totally inebriated state, she expected us every Rahul out there to put her to bed and never expect slightest of returns on the investments. You have turned us into an NGO from an investor who honestly expects returns from his investments. Only if you had informed them that it is impossible to be-just-friends-although-we-hold-hands-kiss-hug-eachother-half-the-time with a hot girl, things would’ve been lot better for us. After all there is a phrase called “friends with benefits”.
Every time you bowed your head in front of Anjali, every girl out their believed it to be a permanent state of her man. You, yes you, have forced us all to look down upon women. Now we are expected to bow our heads all the time. 24X7. Only if you had informed them that you were joking. After all respect doesn’t come from bowing down, it comes from looking at equals.
See, you had changed women’s expectations from men. Men were expected to make women feel special based on the parameters you had set. Guess what, you yourself mightn’t have needed to face the consequences because you were married much before and were better positioned to adapt this cultural change.
Then came Mohabbatein. Love was everywhere. So much so that it felt like giving diabetes. Kabhi Alvida na Kahna was the worst of its kind where, for no apparent reasons, people keep looking out for reasons for happiness. They were looking outside the traditional confinement. But I couldn’t get the reason why.
Well, it was SRK. You were bathing in a bathtub with multiple Bollywood divas gracing the occasion with their presence. Yet, you made it look like they felt special with your sheer presence.
You, with your close to ideal portrayals of roles of a lover boy, gave an exit to every girl out there. Nobody is happy. You utilized this secret. Every girl seeing imperfection in her partner started seeing the items which would’ve made her partner perfect in you. She started waiting her partner to be exactly like you and every time she couldn’t, onus fell on us to be like you. Why? Because we had to make her special. Because we were supposed to bow down to her. Because we were supposed to look beyond the confines of traditional qualities. Because we were expected to stay in friend zone without any kinds of expectations.
You had changed the expectations completely. Totally. Whole heartedly.
Who did we men have? Who could we idolize? Our idols, all your female peers, were busy helping you setting the expectations from men to the heights you had scaled in your career.
We were dwarfed in front the catalyst you provided to the wave called feminism.
And that, my friend SRK, is the reason we men hate you.
Wishing you many more Ra.Ones in future,