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Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani: the waxes and wanes

Before I was introduced to this course on gender representations in media, I was a diehard fan of the feel-good movie, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani Hai Deewani. Not to say that I do not like it anymore; but this one course that I took, was an eye-opener for me. Now when I watch it, I'm aware of what I'm feeding my brain and I have a better understanding of what are some problematic aspects of it.


The film revolves around the lives of four friends: Bunny, Naina, Avi, and Aditi. The film explores their journey of self-discovery, love, and friendship. Bunny, a free-spirited young man, aspires to travel the world and is reluctant to commit to a serious relationship. Naina, a studious and introverted girl, starts developing feelings for Bunny during a trekking trip with their friends. However, their paths diverge as Bunny follows his dreams, leaving Naina heartbroken. Years later, they reunite at Aditi's wedding, where unresolved emotions resurface. Naina realizes her love for Bunny, but he is torn between his ambitions and his feelings for her. The film beautifully portrays their emotional conflicts, growth, and the importance of cherishing relationships.

To begin with, Naina is seen as an ambitious woman who wishes to become a doctor, and Bunny who was rather careless, is seen as more ambitious towards the end. Whereas Naina waits for Bunny for 8 years, without any signs of the clinic that she was so passionate about (toxic getaway: men are always more successful and more ambitious than women)


Throughout Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Bunny jokes about his casual relationships and condemns marriage but gets immensely jealous and insecure when Naina is meeting Vikram, implicating that what is acceptable for a man is not acceptable for a woman. While men can fool around and “have fun”, women are supposed to be coy. While men can afford to have huge ambitions, women can only be subjugated.

Moreover, dissecting some dialogues, reveals how problematic mindsets are fed. When Naina vents to her mother for never enjoying her life properly, her mother bluntly says “Jawan larkiyaan zyada enjoy karlain to pregnant hou jati hain”, revealing the twisted mindset of society. Victim blaming, double standards, shaming, and shaming are at their peak. It reinforces a problematic narrative regarding women's sexuality and reproductive choices.


There are several instances where sexism and objectification are layered into the plot of Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani. However, it is important to be aware of the narratives we consume and the impact they leave on our daily lives.






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8 Comments


Rafay Abdul Razzaq
Rafay Abdul Razzaq
Jun 30, 2023

Excellent blog Areeba!

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Rania Bakhtiari
Rania Bakhtiari
Jun 22, 2023

Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani was always one of my favourite films of Hollywood. Just as you mentioned in your blog before taking this course i merely saw the plot revolving around love, friendship and adventure however when i rewatched it i had an entirely different perspective. Towards the end you mentioned that it has several instances of sexism and objectification and that is rather true! The portrayal of female characters such as Naina and Aditi was reduced to their love interests and Naina is been seen to be constantly dependent on Bunny for happiness and validation despite her being extremely intelligent. Furthermore, on various instances they pass casual sexist jokes that perpetuates gender stereotypes and normalises them.

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he discrepancy in ambition and success between the male and female characters, with Bunny's ambitions being prioritized and Naina's dreams being sidelined, perpetuates the notion that men are expected to be more successful and ambitious than women. This creates an imbalance and reinforces harmful gender stereotypes. Also, The dialogue you mentioned between Naina and her mother reflects victim-blaming and perpetuates the idea that women who enjoy their lives are somehow deserving of negative consequences, such as unplanned pregnancy. This reinforces harmful societal norms and places the burden on women for their choices and actions, rather than challenging the underlying patriarchal structures that perpetuate these norms. We have seen this pattern in so many movies and shows and can even see…

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yes you're right! the word "izzat" has become more like a weapon, that a woman is in charge of ..and somehow anything she does of her own liking is an attack on her family's izzat

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I completely agree with you, Areeba! YJHD used to be my favourite too and I've seen it so many times, I could probably tell you the colour of every actors shirt in every scene. However, what really disappointed me was when the point was raised in class about how the movie failed to show even one scene where Naina is shown pursuing her career etc. I like how your blog post also focuses on this matter because it's high time we show that no matter how cult classic any media product becomes, they too can tend to have problems, and its important to address them. Something familiar that I noticed was in Jab We Met, when Shahid Kapoor and Kareena…

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☺️

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Really enjoyed reading this. Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani is my favourite film of all times but yes one cannot ignore all the problematic content that it contains. The stark that you have drawn between the depiction of Bunny's career and that of Naina's is very important to consider. While a huge chunk of the film focused on Bunny, his travels, what he wanted to do. There was not even a single scene where naina was seen in her clinic. This clearly points to the fact that a man's career always takes precedence over that of a woman and is more important. Also Bunny's entitlement peaks when he starts reading Naina's messages in one of the scenes that she gets from…

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IKR!!

Bunny's character was problematic on so many ends, especially how in the end he gets away with everything he does, out of his own will, which the women in the film are shown to be incapable of

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