Bollywood Romance and its Psychological Impact


Hundreds of crores of people watch Bollywood movies and are heavily influenced by them since we have all been watching them ever since our childhoods. 

However, it’s crucial to be mindful of the content we consume.

Not all Bollywood movies portray accurate representations of real life. Here are some unrealistic notions perpetuated by Bollywood movies:

 The hero has to rescue the heroine

The male protagonist is more often than not, held responsible for rescuing the female protagonist, the country, or maybe even the whole world! Men are considered to be capable to do anything and everything while women are helpless and can only wait for men to help them. This supports a patriarchal idea that men are far more competent than women, which of course is untrue. 

Female characters are just props

The character, background, preferences, etc of female protagonists are rarely shown. They are used as props (property) to help the male protagonist in his journey and develop his character arc. Bollywood movies also include item numbers- songs that objectify women to capture the attention of the audience and earn more profit. This could make stereotypes against women even stronger. 

Females have to sacrifice and adjust according to their male partner

In a lot of movies, women are shown to be compromising, sacrificing, and tolerating unacceptable behaviors to please a man or keep the peace. Consequentially people could believe that this is normal. This is how women are supposed to behave- by abandoning their beliefs, values, hopes, and dreams to adjust to the wants of their male counterparts. 

There are only specific types of women who can attract men

A very common example of this is the ‘manic pixie dream girl’. A girl who is always bubbly and charming does silly things that one normally wouldn’t do and the hero inevitably falls for her. 

Additionally, there are some types of women who you can have ‘fun with’- who you’d date, who lives her life on her terms; and the other kind, that you get married to and raise kids with -who abides by traditional Indian values. 

Women have to behave a certain way, dress a certain way, and look a certain way for men to fall in love with them. They have to adhere to the orthodox ways of life to be accepted and loved. 

Such classifications encourage patriarchal and misogynistic beliefs against women.

If they stalk you or try to control you, it means they love and care for you

The male protagonist can keep a constant check on his female counterpart, stalk her, control her- for her good or just because this is how it’s supposed to be is not okay! People don’t engage in such behaviors out of love and care as may be perceived by the but for the power they would have over others. There is a difference between love and, over-possessiveness and control. Such movies have a major role in normalizing unhealthy, unethical, and dangerous behaviors. 

The word ‘No’ actually means Yes

‘She said No, So what? She just wants attention, go chase her until she says yes!’

A lot of movies have shown a man chasing a woman even after she said no which leads people to believe that a woman doesn’t really mean it when she says- no, she’s just playing hard to get and if you tire her/wear her out, she’ll eventually say yes.

There is also a sense of entitlement that comes along with this, which makes it difficult for people to accept rejection. 

If you have to pressure someone to be with you and in the end they say yes because they are just sick of it- that is not consent, that is coercion. 

No is a complete sentence and is to be respected. 

If someone really loves you, they will change for you

True love can change you/your partner, can have you fixed, or give your life a new meaning! Fortunately or unfortunately, this isn’t true!

You can’t change someone by loving them harder, you can’t take responsibility for someone else’s thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. Finding true love is great but expecting it to solve all your problems/ change your habits or personality would set you up for disappointment and resentment

Only women having slim waists and men with 6 pack abs are attractive

The leads of Bollywood movies are generally young, fair, and slim. Those who aren’t are cast as side characters. This pattern could play a major role in increasing dissatisfaction with body image and lead to mental health issues such as body dysmorphia, eating disorders, 

Only men have sexual desires and women, just go with it.

In Bollywood movies, the sensuality and sexual desires of women are not given much importance. Even when they are shown on screen, they are shown with a lack of sensitivity. The way sexual scenes are portrayed does not exhibit reality which then sets unrealistic expectations about how sexual intercourse takes place. The assumption that women only exist to please men and so it’s okay to sexually objectify them without their consent (thanks to the patriarchal norms and misogyny) also promotes rape culture. 

Moreover, these movies also often lack inclusivity concerning issues of the LGBTQIAP+ community, disability, and caste, among others. So, a lot of Bollywood films end up promoting patriarchal, misogynistic, sexist, and even transphobic ideas.