Indian cinema needs to re-think what it portrays as romance because it could very easily be considered “eve-teasing”. The Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, at a recent event, criticised how the film industry promotes harmful and possibly abusive notions about romance and love.
Speaking at the Goa Fest 2017, Gandhi said that the plot of a lot of movies generally end up prominently featuring harassment of women under the guise of courtship.
— Goafest 2017 (@livegoafest) April 7, 2017
She has been quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying, “If you look at the films…in last 50 years, the only way to communicate messages… I am talking about the feature films in every language in India. The romance almost always starts with eve-teasing. The man and his friends will surround a woman, trip her up…abuse her, touch her inappropriately and slowly, slowly she will fall in love with him, and then rest of it is, he fights with somebody or other and gets her.”
And these characterizations have in turn played a rule in normalising the violence against women in society, argued the minister. She encouraged introspection of the medium and wondered if it should continue promoting such values to millions across the country.
Gandhi joins the list of number of prominent personalities to have criticised the portrayal of romantic relationships in Indian cinema. Most recently, South Indian actor Prithviraj vowed that he will no longer act in movies that peddle sexist and misogynistic ideals.