Bhagam Bhag – A Precursor to the #MeToo Movement in India

Bhagam Bhag's Precursor to #MeToo Movement Tanushree Dutta Akshay Kumar Govinda Paresh Rawal| Unmysh 2020

Priyadarshan’s 2006 thriller/comedy, Bhagam Bhag, had a bodacious plot. It’s no surprise because the notorious duo of Neeraj Vora and Priyadarshan is known to “borrow” plot points and scenes from various sources. 

Good news to all you kleptomaniacs out there, if everything fails, you, too, can be a successful writer/director in Bollywood. 

If you didn’t already know, a chunk of Bhagam Bhag’s plot is borrowed from a much superior 1999 Marathi movie, Bindhaast. Do yourself a favour and check it out, especially for its all-female cast. Don’t call yourself a feminist until you’ve seen it, okay.

Bhagam Bhag

Tanushree Dutta gets molested by two creeps

Is the above sentence related to Bhagam Bhag or real-life?

The whole #MeToo movement has opened a door to a room, which we were aware of, but too scared (coward) to even peek into.

Tanushree Dutta was at the forefront of this movement in India. 14 years ago, she showed us the horror of her trauma through Bhagam Bhag. But back then we were too busy laughing at the Govindas, the Akshay Kumars and the Paresh Rawals. So shame on us, right?

Creep No. 1 attacks

Bhagam Bhag’s dreaded scene plays out with Babla (Govinda) entering Anjali’s (Tanushree Dutta) room, late at night. He is literally salivating at the sight of her. Just so you know, I paused the movie here ’cause I had to puke.

Babla professes his love and without wasting a moment, hugs her. This results in a well-deserved slap.

(Good for you, Tanushree. I’m happy that along with the filmmakers, you got to live out your fantasy, too.)

Also, who can forget the “Agar tu ladki ko izzat dega, toh ladki tujhe apni izzat degi” that made rounds during the promotions of Bhagam Bhag? 

Dejected, Babla leaves the room with his hand on the recently stricken cheek. Bunty (Akshay Kumar) happens to catch him exiting Anjali’s room and asks for an account. 

Embarrassed, Babla cooks up a lie stating that it’s just a lipstick mark. Gentlemen kiss and don’t tell, creeps get slapped and lie. As Bunty is very much familiar with this philosophy, being a fellow creep and whatnot, he persists for the details.

Bunty wants to assert that he’s a superior creep, so instead of asking “Did you guys do it?” he chooses to ask, “Tu khaa gaya? Pura khaa gaya?” (Did you eat her? Did you completely eat her?) Yep, that’s what he said. Well, what can you expect from a predator?

Creep No. 2 attacks

Believing Babla’s story, Bunty tries to get some “taste” of Anjali himself.

(Man, I used to like Govinda and Akshay Kumar. These are not the “heroes” of my childhood. How naïve were we?)

Bunty catches Anjali in the shower and understandably, she runs for her life. Everyone gathers to see what the commotion is about. Caught in the act, Bunty tries to get out of it by saying, “Didi darr gayi, didi darr gayi.” (Sister got scared, sister got scared.) He followed it up with, “I was just testing your braveness.” Yeah, nice save… not.

Bunty is asked to apologise but his male ego is holding him back. Why should he apologise to a girl who doesn’t have the courage to have sex with him? In fact, instead of showing remorse, he openly threatens Anjali and questions her character. Peak predator behaviour.

This has happened in the opening 10 minutes of Bhagam Bhag. Are we supposed to root for these guys for the remaining 140 minutes?

As the scene reaches a crescendo, Champak (Paresh Rawal) comes up with a befitting punishment for this episode of sexual harassment. Just like Babla, who previously fat-shamed a girl and had to wash dishes, Bunty’s punishment for almost raping a woman is to, wait for it, “wash everyone’s clothes.”

#Justice.

Looking at Bhagam Bhag through the #MeToo lens

Bhagam Bhag’s two leads are so toxic, they make Kabir Singh look like a feminist. Bollywood has and is still producing movies wherein the woman is almost always expected to give in to the whims of the “man.” If he’s asked for sex, he will, if not immediately but eventually, get sex.

That’s what I witnessed when Tanushree Dutta came out with her #MeToo story. I read comments that said, “If she can kiss onscreen, how can anyone sexually harass her?” In other words, she’s a promiscuous and a free-for-all woman commodity.

Because to quote Bunty, “Aye Sati Savitri, zyada hoshiyari mat dikha. Kal raat ko jab ye (Babla) tere kamre mein aaya toh iske saath uchchal-uchchal ke karyakram ho rahe the. Kal raat ko jab ye tumhare room mein aaya tab toh tu kuch nahi boli, ab chillane lagi? Aree isme kaise konse gunn hai jo mere mein nahi hai?”

Translation: “Hey! Do not try to act smart. Yesterday, when he had entered your room, you had great fun with him. Last night when he came to your room, you said nothing. And now you’ve started screaming? Tell me, what special qualities does he possess that I don’t?”

People, if a girl is consenting to sex with one person doesn’t mean she’s consenting to everyone. This isn’t an Adnan Sami song and no one is going to “lift kara de” you in life.

In a country that idolises their male superstars to a point of worship, there will always be a Bunty who will assert his ownership over a woman like it’s his toy. And you know what, the Akshay Kumars and Govindas of the world, will keep getting away scot-free.

Like this segment about Bhagam Bhag? We announce a new aged like milk case every Wednesday. Don’t forget to come back next week. Meanwhile, check out some other examples of aged like milk here.

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