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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.




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The idea that women should dress up a certain way should have been shown in a negative light. In my opinion, the producers had a very good opportunity to address this issue of how society has created certain beauty standards, expects women to conform to them hence objectifying them. In the end, Anjali should not have changed her fashion style and she should have not married Rahul who had previously rejected her for her looks. Had he been in love, he would have married her in college and not after she had transformed into typical indian girl who seemed to be perfect for raising Rahul's daughter. Rahul's comeback in Anjali's life should not have been romanticized.

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This is a very well written blog! I agree to what you said, and I personally found it so troubling that the movie ruined the way Anjali was shown to be during the first half of the film. I still fail to understand why having short hair, wearing a cap, and also being good at a certain sport not only earned her the title of being a tomboy, but also led to the idea that men find such women unattractive. It was sad to see how the movie simply boiled down Anjali's character to the conventional/ideal south Asian girl whose only purpose in life was to somehow reunite with Rahul as his romantic partner.

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Unpopular opinion but there were a lot of things wrong with Shahrukh khan's movies at that time. All of them portraying him as that one man that everyone desires and each and every movie had the factor of attacking females on the way they dress up or behave. Loved your point on how the female lead was seen as undesirable if she had short hair or didn't dress up in typical 'girly' clothes. Setting these examples in movies means that you are setting a precedent in the society as well. This clearly shows how one's dressing and appearance is used to judge somebody's characters. If the girl is seen as wearing sarees or even cooking, they are shown as sanskari…

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I recently watched Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and identified other problematic scenes for example the Neelam show which promoted cheating on national television, or the leaking of confidential student information by Principle Malhotra since Rahul wanted Anjali's contact to stop him from marrying, or also the fact that Anjali accept's Rahul's proposal on her wedding day with Aman and Aman being a chivalrous male escorting Anjali to the wedding stage to wed her to Rahul. All these scenes are immoral and borderline illegal (leaking student confidentiality)

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Mujeeb.khan
Mujeeb.khan
Dec 10, 2022

Anjali was mocked for her attire not just by Rahul, but also by other characters such as Rifat Bi. She humiliated the girls in her hostel who were generally enjoying a day of self-care. On the other side, she was upset by Anjali's refusal to join the girl-gang and her alienation; she even humiliated her for not 'attracting' boys. This utterly demolished the idea that women support women, and it also implies that women's lives should revolve on boys, and that they are just toys who should fascinate men.


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