The male perception or lingering eye is a common trope in cinema, often to suggest that the lady that is being watched is attractive. This is not just common in Indian cinema; it’s an integral part of most plots.
The hero will meet the love interest on the streets; and for the next half hour to forty-five minutes, the man will stalk the girl all around town by hiding behind poles or in the bushes.
It can become really creepy at times and you start you question why the love interest does end up falling in love with the guy.
In 2015, an Indian man was accused of stalking and harassing two women in Hobart, Tasmania. His lawyer used the defence of the Indian cinema, stating that the accused thought it was natural for a guy to act in this way around women.
This type of behaviour is captured perfectly in All India Bakchod’s video “Harassment Through The Ages”, where they parody instances in Hindi language films, times that the man continues to stalk and harass the love interest.
In the video, we see different times that harassment and stalking is used. Vicky Kaushal plays the male lead in that classic 80s look. Richa Chadha plays the love interest. And Mallika Dua plays the moral compass from an objective stance.
The opening sequence sets up perfectly for the first song, “Khambe Jaisi Khadi Hai” from Dil (1990), starring Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit. From the school setting to the red dress and even the shoe clap. We even get the same opening dancing steps. In the movie, Aamir continuously pranks and pesters Madhuri. She evens rejects him when the parents get involved. But somehow, through acts of heroism, Aamir gets the girl in the end.
This won’t count as harrassment,
Kyunki main yeh gaaunga [Because I am singing it]
The second song parodied in this is “Tumse Accha Kaun Hai” from Janwar (1965), featuring Shammi Kapoor and Rajshree. They continue to point the obvious stalking that takes place through Bollywood movies.
This is following by a song starring Govinda, someone known for these types of roles. “O Laal Dupatte Wali” from Aankhen (1993). The lyrics refer to Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, which states:
The fact that this is part of the Criminal code, of which laws must be upheld, you’d think that filmmakers would understand that it’s not okay. But we see it time and time again.
Face on breasts,
For no good reason.
The final song in the first sequence is “Apun Bola” from Josh (2000). It stars Shah Rukh Khan. This is when they start to show the love interest take a stand. The story of the parody deviates from the original to show Mallika take a physical stand against Vicky.
Then the following two songs shows that this type of material is still prevalent in cinema in the 21st century. The first is Varun Dhawan in “Palat Tera Hero Idar Hai” from Main Tera Hero (2014). In the original song, you can see the direct harassment that takes place, and the amount of times that Varun is rejected by Ileana D’Cruz. Yet by the end of the movie, they are somehow together.
Poore gaane mein, [In the whole song]
Reject tujhe kiya re, [I rejected you]
Lekin end mein, [But in the end]
Accept tujhe kiya re. [I accepted you]