Recently, Kartik Aaryan’s monologue from his new movie, Pati Patni Aur Woh amassed online backlash as it drew widespread flak for its immensely problematic nature. Interestingly, this is not the first instance of the actor’s opus revelling in controversy and misogyny.
A preface for readers who were blissfully unaware about the existence and plight of incels; involuntary celibates exist (mostly) virtually as an online subculture. They are characterized by their inability to find romantic partners despite them being desperate for one, and their contingent ideologies of male supremacy and misanthropy as they indict the entire female population for their bleak romantic scene, as well as denying them sex.
Sounds (thematically) familiar? The character portrayed by Kartik Aaryan in the trailer for his new movie, delivers a forceful monologue while the camera spans around him with great intensity as if his words are to be received as profound and eye-opening. In reality, it sounds like the top post on an incel forum, presented below for your kind perusal, verbatim;
“Biwi se sex maanglein toh hum bikhaari,
Biwi ko sex na de toh hum atyachaari,
Aur kisi tarah jugaad laga ke usse sex haasil karlei na toh balaatkari bhi hum hai.
(If we ask our wives for sex then we’re called beggars,
if we deny them sex them, we’re called torturers,
and if we coerce them into having sex with us, we’re called rapists.)”
The harangue doesn’t require much deconstruction as it is ostentatiously, in fact quite proudly, dripping with hatred for women. It commodifies women as it portrays sex as something to be procured from them, whether through consent which is regarded as begging, or through coercion. The latter part invalidates the veritable, grave issue of marital rape, which is an especially sensitive concern in the Indian context as it is not a recognised crime, in the eyes of law. In the same breath, the rant also manages to turn women’s sexuality against them, as if its mere existence is a bother for men.
The title of this article came about by the virtue of a piece published by Rayon Mag (@rayonmag on Instagram). The satirical piece challenges the reader to differentiate between Kartik Aaryan’s quotes from his movies, and blatantly sexist remarks. The gems include “There’s no way your girlfriend would understand anything you try to explain to her”, “A happy woman is a myth.” and that’s all the writer can include without reproducing a myriad of cuss words aimed at women. Hilariously, at the end of the quiz it is revealed that all of the statements are quotes from Kartik Aaryan’s movies.
One can argue that movies are fictional, and acting out statements does not automatically equate with endorsing the sentiment behind them in veritable terms. However, when such dialogues are scored by quirky, goofy music and misogyny is repeatedly used as a punchline, they serve to deliver a subtly aimed political message intended for a particular demographic group. In this instance the audience dog-whistled to are misogynistic men within whom resentment towards women is evoked or validated.
Image Credits:Film Companion