'Stalking' is one word that our generation knows well. Nowadays, social media websites has eased the job of stalkers. There is a fine line between stalking and checking-out. Stalking is obsessive and repetitive, in such a disturbing manner that the one being stalked can file a report against the act. How did the idea of stalking initiate so much? Bollywood could be one of the reasons.
Let's rewind to the 60s. In his magnum opus Sangam, Mr. Raj Kapoor, the famous womanizer, steals the leading lady's clothes and she is forced to come out of the pond in a translucent, lightly draped saree. It was not romantic, but sexual harassment for sure. The whole act would take place in a song, which is depicted like Lord Krishna chasing after Gopis, and by the time the sequence ends, the actress magically falls in love with the actor and they are both set to get married. That is a movie, but when reality checks in, it might result into another case of rape.
Sunder (Raj Kapoor) head over heels in love with Radha (Vyjayanthimala) sings, "Bol Radha bol sangam hoga ke nahi?" repeatedly, to which she replies over and over again, "Nahin Nahin". I wonder how hard was it to comprehend "nahin" back then. Interestingly, Sunder persuades the actress throughout the song until she says "hoga hoga hoga".
In An evening in Paris (1967), Sam (Shammi Kapoor) stalks Suzy (Sharmila Tagore) and sings, "Akele akele kahan jaa rahe ho, hamen sath le lo jahan jaa rahe ho." The stalking throughout the movie can be seen in many of the movie songs as well.
The legendary Sholay (1975), wherein Veeru (Dharmendra) chases Basanti (Hema Malini) and climbs up to the top of the village water tank to commit suicide, creating a dramatic scene to insist the heroine to marry. Not so surprisingly, Basanti agrees.
In the eternal love story of Bollywood, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaenge (1995), Raj (Shahrukh Khan) chases Simran (Kajol) around the streets of Europe, addressing her "Senorita", tearing off her frock's back zipper accidentally in the act.
In Ranjhanaa (2013), Kundan (Dhanush) develops a hobby of slitting his wrists every time Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) rejected his proposal. The hero is so mad that he drives his scooter into the Ganga river when he finds out about the heroine's boyfriend, with the heroine sitting behind him. A famous dialogue from the movie occurs when Kundan's friend Murari rides with Kundan to the hospital and says "Pyaar na hogya, tumhara UPSC ka exam hogya!" comparing his persistent advances to UPSC attempts.
The fact remains, from Sangam to Ranjhanaa, Bollywood has almost never shown stalking negatively, but most of its representations are all positive, fun and games in order to convince the beloved. Also, it is an honor and a matter of pride and glory when the hero is successful in persuading the lady to be with him.
The fact that Bollywood fails to state is that under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, a stalker is liable to serve an imprisonment of one to three years.
Not so funny and playful anymore, is it?
It is only in movies where "Sangam", "hoga hoga hoga", in reality imprisonment "hoga hoga hoga".
Cover image by Meena Kadri under Creative Commons license.