After delivering a Rs 300 crore hit with his last film, Padmaavat, Shahid Kapoor returns to play the solo lead in Batti Gul Meter Chalu. The social drama has him play a lawyer who fights corruption in the UP electricity board, after the demise of his friend. Batti Gul Meter Chalu, also starring Shraddha Kapoor and Yami Gautam, is directed by Shree Narayan Singh. In case that name rings a bell for you, he is a former film editor turned director who made last year's Toilet - Ek Prem Katha, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar in the lead.
So we can't be blamed for drawing parallels with both the films, going by the recently launched trailer of BGMC. Both the movies deal with serious social concerns at their cores. There are those humorous starts which lead to serious consequences. There is bromance and romance. We have a loitering hero, who changes for good and fights the system legally, when reality hits closer home. Some of the supporting cast are the same like Sudhir Mishra and Divyendhu Sharma. And yes, some blatant misogynistic sexism!
Before we proceed ahead, in case you have not see the trailer yet, here's the video -
The trailer of Batti Gul Meter Chalu has some very prejudiced jokes made, but it's the final line in the trailer that takes the cake. So when Yami Gautam's defense lawyer (who, we are sure, will end up being at the receiving end of may such sexist jabs in the film), asks for facts and figures from Shahid's public prosecutor, here's how he responds -
That's totally sexist! And we are in a courtroom, mind it!
I must add here that it isn't wrong to show the protagonist as a misogynistic person. Not every person in the world is perfect, unless you are Salman Khan in a Sooraj Barjatya film. So adding grey shades to a heroic character makes him normal and grounded. But the issue with the scene is that it is played for laughs and that too, at the expense of a woman. It doesn't matter that she is on the opposite side. A woman doesn't deserve to be at the receiving end of such a joke, which isn't even funny, at this time and age.
This blatant sexism was also the issue of Toilet - Ek Prem Katha. Remember how the camera used to peek into Sana Khan's cleavage in the early part of the movie? Or how Anupam Kher's character used to obsess over item songs?
We are not dissuading movies from discussing misogyny and sexism, but don't make them laughing matter. When much needed social movements like #MeToo are taking baby steps in our society and in Bollywood, jokes like these take us a few steps back.