90s Bollywood Films Every Desi Millennial Loved, Which Are Actually Problematic

90s Bollywood Films Every Desi Millennial Loved, Which Are Actually Problematic

One of the good things about living in the age of technology is the easy access to knowledge. There really is no excuse to remain a discriminatory bigot in this day and age. In fact, if you still think it’s cool, you’re making a choice to racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or prejudiced. That is precisely why some of us hardcore 90s desi millennial Bollywood fans now know better about films we simply loved as kids.

Don’t get us wrong, every time DDLJ comes on on TV we will mouth all the dialogues we know by heart. We will feel oddly nostalgic when we hear “Tan Tana Tan” (which explains why David Dhawan successfully cashed in with his absolutely lazy remake, Judwaa 2). We will also dramatically say things like “Kuch kuch hota hai, tum nahi samjhoge” to our moms when she asks us why we prefer unhealthy junk food over ghar ka khana every single time she brings it up. But, we know better than to be okay with all the regressive BS Bollywood pulled on us back in the day.

Here are a few Bollywood gems from the 90s which were problematic as hell, and we are woke enough to acknowledge it now.

Judwaa (1997)

This David Dhawan film has garnered almost a cult fanbase over the years, hence the remake with this son Varun Dhawan in the lead role. But, he forgot to update it for 2017. In the remake and the original, sexual harassment stands in for comedy. Forcibly kissing women, having uncontrollable urges to slap every woman’s butt, and grabbing maids (in strangely kinky maid costumes) is not funny. It is harassment. It is a criminal offense. Can Dhawan junior and senior not see that?

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Where do we even begin with this one? Aditya Chopra’s directorial debut is considered one of Bollywood’s classic romances. But, there’s no denying it had so, so many flaws. First of all, everything desi was shown to be superior to all things western in the film – from desh ki mitti to morals and ideals. Raj (SRK) actually stalked Simran (Kajol) incessantly despite her rejecting him. He even fooled her into thinking that they had slept together on a night Simran was obviously way too drunk to give consent. Then he went onto “salvage” the situation by saying that he, being a Hindustani himself, knows the value of a Hindustani woman’s izzat, which is why he would never try to “dishonour” her like that. *barfs*

But, the songs were nice, and SRK and Kajol’s chemistry basically makes this nostalgia gold for us all. Just so long as we also realise it had problems.

Judaai (1997)

Was 1997 the year of WTF films in Bollywood? This Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, and Urmila Matondkar-starrer was the seventh highest grossing of that year. The story revolved around Sridevi’s character basically selling her husband, played by Anil Kapoor, for the measly sum of Rs. 2 crore. The one doing the buying was Urmila Matondkar’s character. This was the basic premise of the movie. It only gets weirder from there. But, the weirdest bit was Sridevi and Anil Kapoor getting back together!

Gharwali Baharwali (1998)

Anil Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, and Rambha starred in this David Dhawan (known for the WTF premises of all his films) movie, which was basically about promoting polygamy. So, Arun (Kapoor) and Kaajal (Tandon) are married, and she is infertile. Then Arun goes to Nepal and accidentally (yep, you read that right) ends up marrying Manisha (Rambha). He even proceeds to consummate the marriage… for Manisha’s sake, silly. Long story short, Kaajal is eventually made to accept this second marriage, as well as the child that comes out of it, and everyone lives happily ever after in this weird wonderland.

Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994)

Basically in Barjatya-verse, getting married is everyone’s one and only life goal. Apart from the fact that Prem (Salman Khan) and Nisha (Madhuri Dixit) were monumentally dumb and were essentially saved by their pet pomeranian Tuffy from making the biggest mistake of their lives, the film was full of other problematic bits. Bindu’s character Mami ji was shown to be this whiny, bitchy woman till the very end. At the end, she was shown to be suddenly pregnant and happier for it. We are guessing that was because she finally fulfilled the ultimate purpose of being a woman eventually?

Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)

Another 1997 film centred around a guy named Rahul (and as we know by now, every Bollywood character named Rahul is usually an entitled douchebag). The highest grossing film of that year had Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, and Karisma Kapoor in a love triangle, where inexplicably not one but two girls end up falling for the d-bag. Throughout the film, Rahul (SRK) was an ass to Nisha (Karisma). He shamed her for drinking, lead her on, and then low-key enjoyed it when Nisha and Pooja (Madhuri) were having a dance off to one-up each other. It was a good thing Nisha didn’t end up with Rahul; she deserved better.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Another 90s film, where another Rahul happily lead on his bestie Anjali while hitting on Tina, the new girl in town. Except, in this one he returned eight years later to ruin her chances at happiness with another guy, Aman. But, the overtly maudlin melodrama, and the chemistry between Shah Rukh-Kajol-Rani had the film going. Karan Johar’s debut involved not one, but two love triangles, and went on to become the highest-grossing film of that year.


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