I already did two posts on the criticisms I agree with (here and here). This is Shahrukh month, so we aren’t going to deal with those. Instead we are going to vent about the criticisms that tend to come up which are most unjustified, in this safe fan only space where we can all agree (or mostly agree) with each other.
Here is the one that drives me INSANE: His old romance films are bad for women
First, I just don’t agree with this. His 90s films promoted bad behavior if you look at one little scene in isolation. But that’s just, well, stupid. And not the way the audience consumes a film or an actor or writer or director looks at a film. He behaves badly in Darr and Baazigar and Anjaam because he is playing the villain, as is explicitly said within the film and he is punished with death at the end. He behaves too flirtatiously in Zamaana-Deewana and DDLJ and dozens of others, and the heroine hates him and doesn’t react to him until he learns to modify his behavior and be a better man. The films are teaching you NOT to behave like that if you want to get the girl, but to behave better. And so on and so forth. And that’s not even getting into the heroines, who had jobs and ambitions and fight scenes and all kinds of things all their own, beyond the romance. Sure, I will agree there might be a scene or a plot point here or there that is not great, but that doesn’t mean there should be a massive public effort to criticize and blame him as un-feminist, and burn the films to the ground and never let anyone watch them again. They really aren’t that bad! Or, in many cases, bad at all!
But second, oh my gosh this is not a Shahrukh problem! Have these people never watched another 90s movie? Rape, kidnapping, date rape, it was all accepted and laughed at. That was the norm back then. If anything Shahrukh’s movies are far more acceptable than the others. And it’s such a flawed argument to pick him out and ignore every other actor working today who got their start back then. Not to mention how flawed it is to focus on the actors instead of the directors and writers who actually created these storylines. Dil has Aamir threaten to rape Madhuri, Main Khiladi Tu Anari has Akshay think he has raped Shilpa, Sangdil Sanam has Salman kidnap and mentally torture Manisha Koirala. And in those films it is not just one plot point that is balanced by the heroine having a strong independent storyline otherwise, it is the whole film! Aamir is out there slapping Juhi for being a widow the same time Shahrukh is gently wooing Divya and convincing her that widowhood doesn’t mean she should be punished.
(Pretty sure Shahrukh never pulled off anything this bad in one of his films. And I’m not blaming Salman for it either, it was the 90s, that’s what the movies were like, he was just an actor following direction)
So, what is it for you? That he is called a bad actor, that he is called cowardly, that he is accused of nepotism or something else? What’s the critique that really gets under your skin?