Movies, for good reason, warrant an immediate suspension of disbelief. We leave our worries back home and immerse ourselves in this world of fluff, glamour and flamboyance - far less complicated than our real lives. Men go to enormous lengths to get the women of their dreams and the audiences revel in the glory of their love, plonked on their seats, ravaging entire tubs of cheese popcorn. But once the credit rolls, and we step out on the streets, we realise that the notions romantic movies perpetuate would be downright irritating and creepy to a woman in real life. Here are 10 things that are romantic in movies but annoying as heck in our real lives.
1. Men don’t need no consent
Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) is locked out of a train compartment with Simran (Kajol) in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and homeboy is insistent on getting Simran’s attention. He infringes on her private space, cracks utterly lame jokes and dangles around her bra as if it is some kind of contraband. The sad part is Raj does make Simran fall for him eventually, but such shenanigans in real life wouldn’t go down well with any girl.
2. A woman needs to look like a ‘woman’
In Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, till the time Anjali (Kajol) wore dungarees and played basketball in college, she was epically friend-zoned by Rahul (SRK), who only hit on girls who wore dresses. Eight years later, when Anjali is in a saree, about to get married, Rahul realizes - who knew she was a woman under those boy clothes? Also, now that she is engaged to someone else, it is a good time for me to tell her that I had loved her all along.
3. M for Marriage Material
Commercial films in India have not just commodified women, but also put them in boxes. So a girl who loves partying the night away is never going to be the one you get married to or introduce to your mother. You have a whirlwind romance and then break her heart and get away with it, because she is always easy and not ‘domestic’ enough. Case in point, Deepika’s character Veronica in Cocktail.
4. Excessive chivalry
Opening the restaurant door, seating you at the table, paying for the dinner…is he your boyfriend or the host of this new American diner in your neighbourhood where you then ravage a cheeseburger with your hands? Chivalry works great in movies but in real life, it is somewhat patronising for 21st-century women to be treated to such levels of formality.
5. Kissing in the rain
Just the logistics of it are plain arduous - unless you are carrying a spare set of clothes and are blessed with the privacy of making out in peace. If you are wearing a sheer shirt and have to travel back home in public transport, maybe it’s not such a good idea after all?
6. The mind games
Remember the ‘che din ladki in’ trope in Kal Ho Na Ho, where Saif Ali Khan’s character Rohit tries to swoon his friend Naina (Preity Zinta) in just a span of six days. Or in general, where the guy plays hard to get in a film so that the girl finally takes notice of him? In real life that’s just confusing. If you like someone, don’t hatch extensive plans to be in their good books, ain’t nobody got time for that. Just go and tell them.
7. Randomly breaking into song and dance
Unless you are part of a flash mob, how would this even work out in everyday life? If you start singing and dancing on a busy street, it will draw the wrath of people stuck in traffic, unable to reach office on time, all thanks to you!
8. No such thing as unwanted attention
Romantic movies encourage the notion that a woman likes being an object of interest all the time. It is flattering to have a guy even follow you to a doorstep because no amount of rejection will deter his spirit. The creep in him will get the ultimate validation when the woman finally comes around and says yes! Remember the golden scene in The Notebook when Ryan Gosling’s character climbs a moving Ferris wheel just to ensure that a girl (Rachel McAdams) he had literally just met, would go out on a date with him.
9. Night outs = Free drinks from handsome strangers
All thanks to how India is extremely unsafe for women, we have our guards up, especially in public spaces. Chances are a young woman will not accept a drink, even from a dapper guy, as she is mentally freaking out about the endless harmful things that could be added to the concoction.
10. Happily ever after
An amicable ending in a film sounds lucrative and promising because it doesn’t happen that often in real life. Do we all end up spending our lives with the first person we fell in love with, do we want to? People change and so do their priorities, films subconsciously put that pressure on us to find that one person and settle down. But our lives are far more nuanced, unpredictable and imperfect to conform to a straightjacketed resolution in a relationship.
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Published on Apr 14, 2017