Culture, Gender and Movies

Here’s a Journey through Indian Cinema’s Rape Culture

After a trial of 7 long years, the culprits of the Nirbhaya case which shook the whole nation are finally getting hanged tomorrow morning. The long wait was worth it. All these years in the jail, did the four criminals realize at any point the brutality of their crime? Did they regret it?

Rape, the word is a combination of savagery, pain, humiliation, and loss of hope. In India, girls are raped every 20 minutes. Is this becoming a lifestyle of our country more than a behavioral problem!!! Why does the number of rape cases never see a decline? 

Short clothes, out at night, relationships…the ‘Indian rape myths’ have many reasons to justify rape. We have always seen how the blame of this sexual violence is shifted from the perpetrators to victims. Apart from rarely getting justice, the victims are forced to live a life in shame and humiliation.
It’s sad but I have to admit that Indian movies have also endorsed the ‘rape-myths’ and used rape-jokes to induce humor. Remember the speech by Silencer in the movie 3 Idiots? His baltkar jokes were intended for cheap laughs in the theatres. We all have laughed without realizing the seriousness of the joke.

 And also, misplacing the board for ‘therapist’ as ‘the-rapist’ for Ranjeet in the film Housefull 2 was also some kind of humor we should not be ok with.  Oh well, not just for lame humor, but rapes can be used even to get over your enemy! 

If you have seen Malayalam film Mr.Marumakan you will understand what I am trying to say.  I’ll just sum it up for you- the villain hires a man to get the hero’s sister raped and our valiant hero gets the villain’s sister gets raped instead, thus taking his revenge.
In the early 70s and 80s, we had movies where the rape victim was married to her rapist, and guess what; that was the happy ending of the film!!! There are scenes in movies where the victim is accused of the situation. Such movies only justified the prevailing rape myths like it’s-always-the-girl’s-fault tag and many more.

We are fortunate to have had some great thought-provoking movies that broke the convention of rape myths and showed us that you can’t justify rape by the age-old ‘men will be men’ overstatement. 

Malayalam film Queen was undoubtedly one such film. It spoke against all the stereotypes on rape and also hinted at the unpopular victim-blaming that pulls down the morale of every victim. 

Veera’s monologue in Highway where she breaks down describing how her uncle raped her as a kid and how her mother asked her to keep mum about the rape is a reflection of how many Indian families perceive this sexual harm. 

stand up

The embarrassment caused to the family is the exact reason why people are still reluctant to file a rape case. The recently released Malayalam film Stand-up throws light in this perception. 


Tessa from 22 Female Kottayam will always remain Kerala’s favorite heroine. The way Tessa took her revenge is how we wish the rapists in India get punished. 

Around 25,000 rape cases are registered in India annually. And the ones that are not filed, around 11,000. Yesterday it was Nirbhaya, today it is Asifa, the list only gets longer. We hope that this verdict ensures justice for many women and families out there. 

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