One of the biggest problems in society today, stalking is deeply ingrained in popular culture with several films glorifying it.
Sara Tendulkar’s stalker has been nabbed but stalking is a menace many women face and often, cases go unreported when the victim is not a famous name. Recent reports: a girl was thrown off from a building by her stalkers; another girl was attacked with acid after trying to fight back.
Shashi Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram emphasised the need to make stalking a non-bailable offence and blamed films across the country for glorifying stalking. But Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, maker of the film S Durga, doesn’t agree with Shashi Tharoor. “Films are a reflection of society and there is a mutual give and take policy there. The bigger question to be asked is ‘why are such scenes incorporated in popular cinema’? Such scenes are popular and people like it because it shows their mentality. Commercial cinema plays to populism. Popular mentality is what is being served on screen. Unless society changes, cinema will not change. To say what is shown in cinema influences society is meaningless.”
‘B’wood must take a stand’
The problem with Bollywood songs and their picturisation is that there is no regard whatsoever for the woman’s consent. Bollywood has a tremendous impact on all our lives, and if the scripts in the biggest movie industry in India include songs that say ‘tera peecha karun to tokne ka nahi’, then it’s a real problem.
Scriptwriters should be more discerning about the kinds of scripts that they are writing. Even actors, especially the stars, can take a stand when it comes to movies.”
Nandita Shah, of Akshara Centre (who was part of the Gaana Rewrite Project that rewrote sexist songs with more positive lyrics)
‘Strong action needed’
Films that show stalking in a lighter way definitely desensitise us. People don’t realise that a woman on the road is not a woman on the screen enacting a script. Women who agree to date someone after being stalked also add to the problem. Such behaviour further encourages violence. Not just films, even TV shows like The Kapil Sharma Show encourage such behaviour.”
Kamla Bhasin, Feminist activist
‘Need stringent laws’
Stalking needs to be made a non-bailable offence. Crimes like rape start by ignoring stalking and the lack of serious laws. Just recently in UP, a group of boys threw a girl from a building after stalking her and she lost both her legs. In Telangana, a boy threw acid on a girl after she tried fighting back when she was stalked. Laws should be made stringent. Films, too, should stop glorifying stalking, as they could act as a trigger, especially for this generation.
Nagma, Actress and All India Mahila Congress General Secretary.
Celebs who have been stalked
The daughter of Sachin Tendulkar was stalked by a 32-year-old man, who was later arrested.
A stalker landed up in the actress’ house twice.
A crazy Russian female fan Anna had stalked Hrithik Roshan and the actor filed a complaint.
A stalker tried to barge into her residence and threatened to kill the actress.
A stalker sent the singer a penis-shaped bouquet and other absurd gifts.
Sushmita Sen, Kangana Ranaut, Ameesha Patel and Akshay Kumar have been stalked too.
Katy Perry was stalked by a man, who said he “would do whatever it takes to be with Katy Perry”.
Taylor Swift’s stalker showed up on her terrace.
Songs of stalking
Shahid Kapoor in R… Rajkumar
ABCD padhli bohot
Thandi aahein bhar li bohot
Acchi baatein kar li bohot
Ab karunga tere saath
Gandi-gandi gandi gandi gandi baat..
Shah Rukh Khan in Darr:
Tu haan kar ya na kar, tu hai meri Kiran
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha:
The movie was lauded for its social message, but scenes of Akshay Kumar stalking Bhumi Pednekar and even clicking pictures of her from afar got people condemning the act.
The law’s say on stalking
According to IPC Section 354 (D): For stalking (or intrusion of privacy), a man is liable to imprisonment not less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine. But he shall be punishable on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine. This law only protects women from being stalked by men.
Salman Khan plays an overtly romanticised stalker in the movie. Radhe Mohan is a rowdy who hangs around an old college long after he's finished it. He falls in love with the daughter of a poor temple priest, Nirjara, and still follows her around. He even kidnaps her and ‘forces’ her to fall for him. The movie ends with a distraught Nirjara committing suicide.
Dhanush plays a simpleton who stalks Sonam Kapoor’s character. The movie had scenes that had audiences cringing.
Badrinath Ki Dulhania:
Badri, played by Varun Dhawan, plays the persistent stalker who Vaidehi (Alia Bhatt) falls for, after shutting him down multiple times. Varun’s character also ends up stalking Alia’s to Singapore, trying to kidnap her. In a clear example of Stockholm Syndrome, Vaidehi falls for Badri!