Before 'Kabir Singh', 5 Toxic Men Bollywood Fooled Us Into Believing Were Sexy

With Shahid Kapoor as Kabir Singh, Bollywood is (again!) sexing up 'volatile masculinity and entitlement'.

In the trailer of Kabir Singh, Shahid Kapoor gulps his whiskey in one go. He snorts a line of coke, and then lets out some cigarette smoke. He walks like he has just got to know that his Wifi password has been changed by his neighbour and beats people to pulp with his bare hands. Yes, Bollywood is (again!) sexing up ‘volatile masculinity and entitlement’. And no, a redemption montage in the film’s third act doesn’t undo the damage of a character like this. Bollywood has time and again celebrated toxic masculinity in the name of doomed lovers. And Kabir Singh seems to be just another example of it.

Here are 5 films where Bollywood glorified the entitled man-child.

1. Raj — DDLJ
Not quite the chest-beating ‘man’ like Sunny Deol, Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj was the manifestation of the ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ belief. An entire generation grew up thinking that it was totally fine to disrespect someone else’s personal space and repeatedly annoy them, in order to make them fall in love with you. He also propelled the belief that all your sins/pranks/annoyances can be ignored as long as you’re well-versed about the importance of a Hindustani ladki ki izzat.

2. Karan — Jeet
For someone who built his high profile primarily through a string of ‘manly’ roles, Sunny Deol’s Jeet was a logical progression. He uses his overwhelming physicality to intimidate his lover (played by Karisma Kapoor) and verbally threatens her father. The redemption for this character, where he goes around protecting his love-interest and her husband, only makes the character more problematic. Because that’s the only way a man can apologise to a woman for being an absolute prick to her. By protecting her husband.

3. Maddy — RHTDM
Starring in the Hindi remake of his Tamil hit, Minnale, R Madhavan instantly charmed Bollywood with his sad, puppy dog eyes. His role as Madhav Shastri a.k.a Maddy was that of a witty, urban young man on a good day. However, even Maddy couldn’t escape the trappings of male entitlement. When he’s called out for lying, Maddy makes a compelling case for his ‘good behaviour’ that should be rewarded with the girl falling head over heels in love with him. Nope. That’s not how it works, Maddy.

4. Radhe — Tere Naam
The bible of all spurned Romeos, Tere Naam birthed a generation of men who believed that they can bully girls into falling for them. The resident jerk of the college, Radhe (Salman Khan), becomes smitten by a girl. Eventually, he kidnaps her, physically harasses/threatens her, and even picks a fight with the local goons… all because he loves her.

5. Badri — Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya
Borrowing a page from the book of 90s Bollywood movies + Tere Naam, Varun Dhawan’s Badrinath forces his love-interest (played by Alia Bhatt) into the trunk of his car and drives off into a secluded place in the middle of the night. It’s bad enough that the screenwriters make Dhawan do this, but they go one step ahead and make Alia Bhatt ‘forgive’ him almost immediately, and make peace with the buddhu man-child she seems to be falling for.