Updated: Nov 7
I read an article recently that talks about how masculinity has evolved throughout the years. It first talks about how, during the 90’s, men were shown as aggressive. Actors like Amitabh Bachchan in Sholay defined masculinity by showing how heroes like Amitabh show aggressive behavior all the time. Dharmendra, during this time, was also known for his aggression in movies. These movies and characters showed how masculinity was seen during the early years of Bollywood, where actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra were seen showing aggression. They were also seen as tough and rough.
However, the article goes on and says that masculinity has evolved now in Bollywood. In this decade, movies like Hindi Medium, Jane Tu Ya Jane Na, and Tanu Weds Manu show that men are not always seen showing aggression; in fact, they are seen as polite and calm. These movies showed a changing and challenging notion of masculinity, with men not showing aggressive behavior all the time.
However, I am going to disagree with this article that portrayal of masculinities has evolved in Bollywood. Yes, the article does give us examples of movies from this decade showing changing masculine behaviors. But the question is has masculinity completely evolved? Because, I have seen many movies recently in Bollywood that still show men as aggressive and toxic. One such big example is the movie Kabir Singh, which glorifies toxic masculine behavior. Kabir, played by Shahid Kapoor, slaps his girlfriend, shows extreme anger towards her, and many times shows typical masculine behaviors, one major being aggression. So the question arises: can we say that masculine behavior has evolved in Bollywood because this is a recent film, showing typical, aggressive masculine behavior.
Another example that I would like to give is of, a recent Bollywood movie called Darlings, starring Alia Bhatt and Vijay Varma. In the film, Vijay shows toxic masculine behavior, showing anger and hitting his wife many times, showing the typical toxic masculine behaviors. No way in this film masculinity is seen evolving in any manner.
Another example is of a movie called Secret Superstar, starring Raj Arjun in which he is always hitting his wife brutally, and shows aggression all the time. In one incident in the movie when his wife provides him with food and it is a little salty and not heated up, he throws the food on his wife and shouts at her. Another incident in the movie that shows toxic masculine behavior is when the wife sells her jewelry to buy her daughter's laptop, her husband hits her brutally again and again. The movie shows many incidents of toxic masculine behavior and the portrayal of typical aggression that men have. So, can we say that masculine behavior is evolving in Bollywood? I don’t think so, because still such movies are being made in this decade that show toxic masculine behavior and tell us that masculinities in Bollywood haven’t really evolved in any way.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you guys think masculinity has evolved in Bollywood? Or do you guys agree with me?
The article I was talking about:
Mehra, M. (2019, October 15). The many masculinities in Bollywood: 1960s to the present. Feminism in India. https://feminisminindia.com/2019/10/16/many-masculinities-bollywood-60s-present/