Pati Patni Aur Woh actor Bhumi Pednekar has given out a ‘sorry if you felt bad’-style apology for the rape joke in the film’s trailer.
The dialogue, delivered by Kartik Aaryan’s character in the film, kicked up much-deserved outrage after the trailer’s release on Monday.
Aaryan’s character says: “Biwi se sex maang lein, toh hum bhikaari. Biwi ko sex mana kar dein, toh hum atyachaari aur kisi tarah jugaad laga ke uss se sex haasil kar lein na toh balaatkaari bhi hum hain.”
A reminder: lawyers and activists are in a longstanding fight to criminalise marital rape in India.
Pednekar told Zoom TV, “If we’ve hurt anybody’s sentiments we are sorry because that wasn’t the intention. Everybody who’s involved in the film doesn’t belong to that school of thought.”
That school of thought, it seems, is one that is okay with laughing at misogyny and violence while making women the butt of the joke.
“Mudassar (Aziz, the director) has always celebrated women. My films say a lot about what I feel about my gender and what I am trying to do. We are constantly working towards reducing the gender gap. So, I am not going to be a part of anything that will increase it. I have said ‘no’ to a lot of movies where they were ready to pay me shit-tons of money but I didn’t do those films. Those films have gone on to become massive hit,” Pednekar goes on to say.
Hard to buy this explanation. If people involved in the film cared so much, why did no one think this dialogue was offensive while the film was actually being made?
A dialogue doesn’t appear on our screens overnight.
One imagines that multiple drafts of screenplay are written.
A dialogue writer steps in to smooth out the lines.
The director thinks about how to shoot the scene.
Actors rehearse how to deliver them.
And then it’s shot.
Raw footage from the shoot is watched by producers.
An editor works to stitch scenes together.
Studio heads or the director sign off on the film’s final cut.
You’re saying that, through all this, no one batted an eyelid? In fact, the makers seemed to have found the dialogue punchy enough to include it in the first trailer, essentially using it as a selling point for the film.
But, yes, they totes “respect women”. So what’s one rape joke in a trailer peppered with casual sexism?
Pati Patni Aur Woh is directed by Aziz, who also co-wrote the dialogues and screenplay with Jasmeen K Reen. It’s produced by Juno Chopra, Renu Chopra, Bhushan Kumar, Rahul Rawat, Yogiraj Shetty and T Series.
The only person who’s come forward to offer an explanation is a young, female actor, who possibly had the least amount of sway in fixing this.
Reports say the makers got “carried away” and will now edit the scene to take the dialogue out.
And then we can all pretend this was just a blip of the radar and jump back on the “we love women” bandwagon?
Alexa, please translate Bollywood people talking about “respect for women” and “women empowerment” into “I will use pseudo feminism to sell anything”.
You can watch Bhumi Pednekar’s defence here: