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Indian film industry (here Bollywood) and patriarchy has a relation as old as Bollywood itself. It is no longer an unknown fact that Bollywood promotes and influence patriarchy although there is no doubt that there are some movies that promotes feminism also but the count is very low of such movies. To understand patriarchy one should first understand the actual meaning of patriarchy i.e. what patriarchy actually is

Patriarchy is a hypothetical social system in which the father or a male elder has absolute authority over the family group; by extension, one or more men (as in a council) exert absolute authority over the community as a whole.

Building on the theories of biological evolution developed by Charles Darwin, many 19th-century scholars sought to form a theory of unilinear cultural evolution. (Definition by the Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica)

In Bollywood we have seen that a hero is always evergreen but a heroine of same age is considered unfit for the role of heroine instead she is limited to the role of the mother of protagonist or hero and a new heroine or a young heroine is casted opposite the evergreen hero.


  • MOTHER INDIA  (1957)  –  A movie which mostly everyone has seen or at least heard of, we all know it was famous because the mother killed her own son for the sake people and justice but the lesser known fact or least bothered fact was Nargis Dutt who played the role of mother in this movie to Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar was of the same age as them and all three of them were 28 when movie released.
  • Agneepath  (1990)  –  Another movie starring Amitabh Bacchan where the role of his mother is played by Rohini Hattangadi . At the time of release Amitabh Bacchan was almost 48 years old while Rohini Hattangadi was 39, there was an age gap of 9 years and younger actress played the role of mother of elder hero.
  • Yaadein  (2001)  –  A film by Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor in which the role of mother was played by Supriya Karnik who was 26 at the time of release of movie and his son i.e. Hrithik Roshan was 27.
  • Waqt : The race against time (2005)  –  The role of 38 year old Akshay kumar’s mother was played by Shefali Shah at the age of 33.

Not just the evergreen heroes and limited age for heroines the patriarchy in Indian cinema is reflected in various dialogues and story line of movies. Some of which are-

  • Jab We Met

A story starring Shahid Kapoor in a shy role and Kareena Kapoor as a bubbly girl, their journey which starts with a train journey and ends up getting them married despite of family opposition first and them agreeing like a normal happy ending movie but the dialogue which reflects the thinking and patriarchy is “Akeli Ladki Khuli Hui Tijori k jese hoti h “(an alone girl is like a open vault). Mostly of us haven’t even noticed it till mentioned that how derogatory and sexist the dialogue was.

  • Khandaan

A movie starring  Sunil Dutt, Nutan, Pran, Om Prakash, Lalita Pawar, Helen and Mumtaz is a family movie and is about the rift caused between two brothers and their families by a third person but towards the end everything is sorted. A dialogue by a wife to her husband “tumhi mere mandir, tumhi meri pooja, tumhi mere devta ho” (you are my temple, you are my worship, you are also my god) worshipping the husband to god is nothing new in this country but comparing him to god way to boost his ego.

  • Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

A semi comedy movie in which a younger brother goes for the bride hunt for his elder brother starring Katrina Kaif, Imran Khan, Ali zaffar.  The iconic dialogue which we are talking about is “yeh hoti h asli ldki, chutki m bipasha, chutki m madhubala” (This is a real girl, in a second she is Bipasha, another second she is madubala), so they are defining who is is “real girl” and too by comparing with other Bollywood actresses.

  • Mard

A movie starring Amitabh Bacchhan has a famous dialogue which each and every one of us has used atleast once in a life “Mard ko dard ni hota “(A men doesn’t feel pain) knowingly or unknowingly all of us have used this dialogue but why doesn’t men feel pain are they made of something else other than flesh and blood like women, in fact it is women who has more pain receptors and capacity to hold pain than men but still the dialogue favours men.

  • Malamal

A comedy movie based on a 1902 novel Brewster’s Millions by George Barr McCutcheon also known for the cameo role or star appearance by Sunil Gavaskar starring Naseeruddin Shah and Satish Shah is based on how a person who has never seen so much money be able to spend 30 million in 30 days which is a clause to inherit his grandfather’s 3.3 billion property.

One dialogue used in this movie is “Agar Khoobsurat ladki ko na chedo to vo bhi uski beizzati hoti hai na.” (If you tease a beautiful girl then also it will be her insult), won’t be wrong to say such dialogue gives rise to crime of eve teasing.

  • Benaam Badshah

A movie starring Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Shilpa Shirodkar is a movie which one can say is the movie which promotes patriarchy too much. Anil kapoor found in garbage grows to become a rapist, assassin and kidnapper and rapes the female protagonist Juhi Chawla on her day of wedding with doctor groom who refuses to marry her because she is no more pure and she tries to convince her rapist to marry her and live with her.

A dialogue “Auraat ki izzat par agar ek baar daag lag jaaye to vo kabhi dhul ni skta” (If once the honour of a woman is stained then it can never be undone). Is there a criterion which defines what daag is? Is the female is guilty of the crime committed to her?  Why is she blamed and answerable to every one?

The list goes on for the movies such as Cheeni kam, Wanted, Main tera hero, Hum tumhare h sanam ( Mard aurat ka Bhagwan hota h {a male is the god of female} give me a break), Kabir Singh and many more and not to mention item songs and their lyrics.


Bollywood or Indian cinema is something which is followed widely by the youth of the country and if such dialogues continue to be in the movies it will create a psychological impact in the brain unknowingly which they will consider as right.

There are many movies which promote feminism such as Thappad, Dangal, Mary Kom etc. but they are still a few. Movies such as Ki and Ka which shows the shared responsibility of household between husband and wife is must watch.


What do you think?

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Written by Sanyogita Sharma

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Ashish Singh

The article was very good ….Although
Bollywood has not only justified sexism but promoted sexual harassment, molestation, objectification of women, slut shaming Hiding behind the romance mainstream Bollywood has been promoting serious crimes against women like stalking, abduction and even rape but eventually ,its all about your perspective pursuing thing

Aanchal Sharma

Distinctive topic to write about.
People usually ignore and tolerate all of this for the sake of entertainment.
Women position in patriarchal India is reduced to good daughters, good wives and mothers.
Bollywood promote this.
This should stop.

Narendra Panwar

Keep it up