Home Bollywood It’s time Bollywood stopped showing alcoholism as romance and rebellion

It’s time Bollywood stopped showing alcoholism as romance and rebellion


IIt’s been 20 years since drinking Developer Released on July 12, 2002. The plot of this iconic Bollywood film is based on the book of the same name by the great Bengali writer Sarat Chandra Chatupadiye. Dev and Paro’s tragic love story, played by beloved Shah Rukh Khan and ex-Miss World Aishwarya Rai, received critical acclaim and was even screened at the Cannes Film Festival. But the film updates the old toxic India problem for a new generation by looking at alcoholism through the lens of lost romance, not for its problems.

The story of Devdas embodies this cultural pathology. In our daily lives, we often equate people experiencing heartbreak or unhealthy drinking with Devdas.

Indians do not see alcoholism as a mental health and substance abuse problem. Alcoholics get a free pass in our literature, film, music and performing arts. It’s not just limited to songs or a few movies. Indori IshkThe web series, written by Kunal Marathe, also deals with modern-day Devdas (played by Ritvik Sahore), where being rejected by a lover means drowning yourself in alcohol and ruining their careers and other relationships.

Also read: Devdas: The tragic heroic act that made KL Saigal a household name

glory syndrome

from Developer and sharabi (1984) to Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Namak sanctuary (1973), Bollywood glorified alcoholism as a testament to unrequited love, social awakening, poetic anxiety and machismo. It’s romanticized as a coping mechanism or offered as comic relief.From Amitabh Bachchan Swaying Like Leaves namak hararThe (1982) song Thodi si jo pee lee hai to Choate Choate Nails from Sonuk Tituki Sweetheart (2018), the mainstream Indian entertainment industry has somehow made alcohol an integral part of joyous celebrations and painful yearnings.

From being used as a medium for a tearful Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan, trying to justify their fondness for women’s love in movies, e.g. Raja Hindustan or Developer, alcohol is now more of a party element. Honey Singh’s fame, along with more popular Punjabi music like Char Bottle Vodka and Daru Desi, led to party playlists becoming a fusion of lyrics about shots and nails.The songs also take a feminist angle, either Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Main from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or Lat Lag Gayee from game 2Bollywood offers even women a safe drinking space, but only at parties.

Women who drink in Hindi movies are of course immoral or evil vampires. They don’t have the luxury of heartbreak and public sympathy. Drunk women are rarely romanticized by male protagonists. They don’t even lift their hair.Of course, how many Indian men recite and lisp Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Madhu Salad In the 1980s and 1990s, lines at drunken parties were the stuff of North Indian men.From Ghalib to Bachchan, go to Maihana and Madhu Salad (or your local half) can be a spiritual, political and revolutionary act.

As for the men, the episodes of alcoholism end up either leading to fatal liver disease or manifesting in constant vomiting, while the family members surrounding the protagonist are worrying.If not, a mysterious epiphany makes them realize the danger and quit their addiction when they find love, as in Kabir Singh Or Dev starts a new life with Chanda development D. But, usually, there isn’t much of a recovery process, or so in real life. Often, clouds of smoke that were previously justified are now suggestive of mental distress as they drift over the protagonist’s face.

ALSO READ: Why Bimal Roy’s Devdas are still the first of their kind

Another upgrade is due to

Recently, we have seen Kabir Singh and Ashki 2 Depicts what could be called the modern Devdas, who disturbingly confirm the idea of ​​abusive women through alcoholism. “He just broke his heart”, “She broke his heart and she deserved it” – statements like these are used to justify the violence. While they did ultimately try to prove it wrong, the aestheticization of alcohol — and alcoholism — has won over audiences in the process.

Today, it is time to change the alcohol narrative in Indian cinema. In a drinking scene, a small text disclaimer at the bottom of the screen is just as effective as no disclaimer. The more important thing to do is to isolate the vodka bottle from the idea of ​​being a man who feels miserable but is bound by patriarchal society to cry and deal with his problems healthily.

This gloomy lover boy trope has gone too far for too long, affecting too many real people and ruining too many relationships. Both audiences and filmmakers need to realize that 20 years from now, watching Shah Rukh Khan die in the name of love when the real cause of his death was alcoholism, will no longer apply.

Our pop culture plot needs an upgrade. If your friend is addicted, don’t justify it in the name of heartbreak, give them a therapist’s phone number and a friendly neighborhood rehab center.

Opinions are personal.

(Edited by Prashant)

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