For far too long, Indian movies have glorified and normalised stalking and showed that following a girl was the only way to woo her. Slamming this inherent culture, an IPS officer from Telangana Rema Rajeshwari said filmmakers need to act responsibly. She said it was high time to understand stalking is not equal to love.
Speaking to a leading daily, Rajeshwari said,
We must outrightly denounce the popular culture promoted by Indian movies where the overly-persistent pursuit of a female lead is acceptable and she ends up falling for the male lead. Such narratives make stalking seem like a normal part of romance. Our filmmakers must learn to use art responsibly. Stalking is not love and assertive courtship is not courtship at all. Period. In every Telugu films, the hero is seen chasing the heroine, playing pranks on her, stalking her and building pressure on her to make her fall for him. It’s the same routine.”
Jaya Prakash Reddy, a doctor also agreed with Rejeshwari. He said:
Producers argue that films are meant only for entertainment and the audience should forget it as soon as they leave the theatre. However, they don’t realise the ills of stalking as their motive is just to earn money. Even senior producers and directors fail to understand the seriousness of the issue. It is a never ending issue. Even Telugu serials project stories that influence women to break their families.”
It is hard to disagree with them. A number of Telugu movies revolve around the same idea. A cheerful woman is stalked by a man, and she eventually falls in love with him. Stars like Ram Charan, Ravi Teja, Pawan Kalyan, Allu Arjun, Prabhas have been a part of such scenes. In Telugu movie Ism, the lead actor Kalyan Ram chased actress Aditi Arya.
In Sarrainodu, Allu Arjun pursued an MLA and despite her commanding a lot of power, she didn’t do anything.
In yet another movie Srirastu Subhamastu, Allu Sirish makes the heroine Lavanya Tripathi realise he lost his purse because of her. After sending her on a guilt trip, he stalks her and she falls for him eventually.
So, why has stalking been normalised in Telugu film industry? Speaking of this trend, Taapsee Pannu had once said,
Firstly they refuse to evolve with the new evolving times because that’s not how I see myself or any other girl I know getting impressed with stalking. Secondly, they just keep repeating the same formula for a hit. If stalking was a hit in one movie, you will see ten other movies instantly pick up the same idea. No one wants to do an extra effort to come up something new and interesting.”
Producer KV Rao felt the onus of bringing the change should not lie only with films. He said:
Television also has some social responsibility and the entire media has responsibility to bring about change.”
Considering the enormous influence movies have, it would be the right time to introspect and put a full stop to promoting stalking and harassment.
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