Is it real-life Gehraiyaan white-washed to be Hum Saath Saath Hain?
Koffee with Karan Season 8 started with a bang and how! People cannot stop talking about the first episode with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh. Here’s a quick roundup!
The good: The discussion on companionship and mental health
Karan Johar’s teary reaction after watching Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s video was so wholesome that you want to give him a big hug. If Akon’s ‘Lonely’ had a face, this would be it!
For someone who’s never understood mental health until I witnessed closely how it can affect even the strongest of our loved ones, and the effectiveness of therapy, it’s important to have celebrities with the power to influence the masses to be open about it. Deepika Padukone and Karan Johar shared their mental health journeys while Ranveer Singh spoke from his experience as a caregiver. I’ll reserve this for your viewing with no spoilers.
I don’t think India has still understood the magnitude of mental health problems and my next point proves it.
The bad: What Deepika Padukone’s trolling tells us about the Indian society
Deepika Padukone’s trolling shows us exactly what’s wrong with Indian society and how they don’t care about the wellbeing of women.
Here’s a woman who’s baring her heart out and speaking of her mental health issues, which was so bad that she wanted to take her life. And all that our masses can talk about is her open relationships while she was dating Ranveer Singh.
This is exactly the moral policing we force upon our women even if they’re overburdened, overstressed, and lack access to healthcare services on time. All we care about as a society is the ‘honour’ that lies between the legs of our women and how men must protect it at all costs. Damn her health and wellbeing!
Deepika Padukone is no stranger to trolling. She was trolled in her past for her cleavage comment, Vogue ‘My Choice’ video, her support for the JNU students, and more. It’s not affected her success, and she continues to be one of the top actresses in Bollywood with an impressive lineup of A-lister Bollywood movies. She’s also doing phenomenally well as a model and speaker internationally.
But yes, let’s continue to slut-shame her while her spouse and parents have absolutely no issues.
The ugly: Was it a case of PR on an overdrive?
Here’s where a perfectly enjoyable episode might have lost the plot and have everyone questioning the authenticity of it all.
First, there was Ranveer Singh’s video that floated around where he used the same story as when he first met Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone. It was hilarious to watch the video. The same template is repurposed for different girls. What made it even more hilarious was Anushka Sharma’s reaction, calling it too filmy and rolling her eyes—definitely not impressed one bit. In fact, it irked her how he named her while she didn’t want to have anything else to do with him, apart from professional reasons.
It’s not the first time Ranveer Singh’s bluff has been called out. Jim Sarbh spoke out against actors who exaggerate about their acting preparation hinting at Ranveer Singh via his accent and mannerisms. The two worked together in Padmavaat.
It also seemed pretentious when Ranveer Singh claimed his dream was not to be a Bollywood actor, but to marry Deepika Padukone. He came across as boastful and superficial to me when he claimed no one can replicate Deepika Padukone because look at ‘those proportions’. I mean, of all her accomplishments, all you can think of is her insane proportions, which is the myopic beauty standard for all runway models. I don’t think it was flattering at all. She’s more than your trophy wife, dude!
Also, what’s with the endless kissing on the shoulder of his wife? It can only mean two things. Either he really means it or he’s trying way too hard. There’ve been rumours of their open marriage and of him (not the only Bollywood actor though) being extra touchy-feely with foreign models especially, as they’re perceived as an ‘easy conquest’.
While infidelity is no marriage breaker in Bollywood, you cannot help rolling your eyes when the guests and the host (who’s gained a reputation for making non-apologist movies on infidelity) give you a sermon on monogamy. Much like the white-washing of Ranbir Kapoor in the last season as the sanskaari boy who asked his wife, ‘Jai karna aata hai!’ What’s the next conjecture—projecting Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt as the Ram-Sita of Bollywood in his Koffee show?
Then, there’s the curious case of Deepika Padukone and her uncanny ability to make the dumbest statements. If I thought her unprovoked statement on making babies with Vin Diesel, her much married co-star in her head, was the dumbest thing to say on an international talk show like the Ellen show, it looks like she has learned no better. It’s no wonder her acting career in Hollywood was so short-lived. If xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage was her weakest performance to date, she couldn’t speak intelligently to make up for it and salvage her career there. That’s where Priyanka Chopra aced because she spoke sense and with power.
No wonder Ranveer Singh’s expressions every time Deepika Padukone made a WT$ statement became meme-material comparing him to Will Smith. But notice how it’s the men who’ve bagged all the sympathy and the women are trolled. The overall impression is that Ranveer Singh and Will Smith played faithful partners to unfaithful girlfriends or spouses—which may or may not be the truth.
While the trolling and slut-shaming of Deepika Padukone is wholly wrong, she might have just done Ranbir Kapoor the biggest favour. While the couple revealed being engaged in 2015 and being in an open relationship before that, there are old reports and videos surfacing again, questioning Deepika Padukone’s narrative. One, an old video of hers, where she claims to be a completely loyal girlfriend who doesn’t understand the concept of open relationships. There are old reports of her crying foul on public television over Ranbir Kapoor’s infidelity, garnering public sympathy, all the while dating multiple men. She can no longer accuse Ranbir Kapoor of playing around with her emotions or dating other women when she plays the same relationship games, too. It’s like if Ranbir Kapoor does it, he’s ‘character-dheela’, but if Deepika Padukone does it, it’s ‘her choice’.
Talking of Ranbir Kapoor, I cannot understand how not one or two, but three successful actresses fell for him. And two of them are so obsessed that we’re tired of them mentioning him in every interview. At least, Alia Bhatt is justified every time she brings up her husband, even in a non-related makeup tutorial, because she is his wife. But Deepika Padukone, who barely had a two-year-old relationship with but makes it sound like an entire lifetime, is a puzzle really. While Ranveer Singh thinks she and SRK make the best pair apart from them, Deepika had to bring up Ranbir Kapoor’s name even in this season’s episode. There are videos of Tamasha promotions where she’s literally fawning over Ranbir Kapoor, while he obviously doesn’t look all that much into her like the way she is. What made it more embarrassing to watch was how Ranbir kept throwing equal breadcrumbs of praise and shade her way. Of course, there’s always the possibility that both Deepika and Ranbir are cashing in on their chemistry and there’s nothing more to it. Anyway, you have to give it to Katrina Kaif, who’s moved on completely from Ranbir Kapoor and closed this chapter without looking back at this mama’s boy.
Finally, the monotonous makeover of Ranveer Singh and KJo was suspect. As was the complete absence of Ranveer Singh’s much-discussed nude photoshoot for Paper magazine last year.
Relationships come in all flavours
All said and done, I think Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh make a great couple because of their similar worldview, and their relationship is rooted in friendship and good-will. They seem content by themselves, even without children in the equation. That’s beautiful, and whatever arrangement they have, it works for them. To each their own relationship dynamics!
But yes, please stop the relationship advice and sermons, especially on monogamy. The audience is perfectly well without it and knows much better too. Really! Spare us the hypocrisy, please!
As for us, audience, can we end the misogynistic trolling and focus on the more burning issue that is mental health, which this episode actually got right?