Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ; the hero’s world
The 1990’s blockbuster Indian rom-com has certain apparent and underlying problematic notions that perpetuate the audience to think in a biased manner. It centralizes on three friends and their university life followed by a love triangle that ends with Anjali leaving town as Rahul chooses Tina over her. The latter half of the film focuses on the reuniting of Anjali and Rahul through Rahul’s eight-year-old daughter who is also named Anjali after his best friend.
First and foremost, the movie allows for the notion of gendered dressing standards and the fact that Anjali is considered an outcast as she doesn’t conform to the feminine identities of wearing makeup or dressing skimpy. It also reestablishes the ideology that women dress up to impress their male counterparts. Just because Anjali engages in sports activities like Basketball and actually thrives at it, she is automatically deemed as a tomboy who is unattractive to men just because of her hyperactive nature. It reflects women like Tina as attractive since not only do they have the conventionally beautiful appearances like long straight hair in comparison to Anjali’s short hair but also are more “Sanskaari” or religious to be socially desirable. It reinstates the idea that at the end, despite how educated or experienced you are, like Tina’s Oxford University’s experience, a man like Rahul will make you his wife pertaining to your Sanskaar. It reduces women down to religion, righteousness and society’s perception of a “good woman”.
In the end, you will fall for the conventionally beautiful and attractive women as when Anjali transforms into a more “Hindustani woman”, Rahul falls for her again.
The significance of “sanskaar” in the woman while the male lead, Rahul can do whatever he wants even if the latter relates to him cat-calling his female professors like Miss Barganza, another idea that is extremely inappropriate is normalised in the film. A woman’s right to respect is in how feminine yet modest she is.
Secondly, the principal’s hypocrisy related to the dress code when it comes to the woman he finds attractive is simply astounding. The scene begins with Mr Manholtara’s misogynist remarks in which he threatens a female student to complain to her parents since she “wears short skirts to excite boys”. The conception that women’s dressing “excite” men perpetuates the notion that are women just an object of desire that men find so irresistible. Or that do grown university students have no control over their urges. This scene places the responsibilities again on the women’s shoulders as an instrument for male distraction.
Furthermore, Anjali accepting Rahul’s proposal despite being rejected by him on multiple occasion is pertaining to the concept that despite the passing of decades and finding someone like Aman, it is mandatory for the female protagonist to wait for the one guy who mistreated them greatly. It normalises justification for making women feel worthless until you’re ready for them while subsequently instilling the idea that women should always wait.