Hrithik Roshan-Yami Gautam-starrer Kaabil was promoted as a revenge drama wrapped around a love story — the promos revealed two blind persons (Hrithik and Yami) meet, fall in love and marry. Yami is raped and the film traces how Hrithik extracts his revenge on the criminals when the system fails him. The major problem with Kaabil is the way the lead couple reacts to the rape.
Kaabil starts off as a cute and realistic story of Rohan and Supriya who are going about their lives all alone with no family at all. When they meet, both are not interested in marriage but Rohan falls for Supriya’s smartness and independence. Soon, they get married and Supriya no longer goes to work.
And then tragedy hits the couple as local goons rape Supriya. When Rohan returns home and realises what happened, the duo lodge a police complaint and head back home after facing some more troubles.
I did not exactly love Kaabil but this was the moment when I knew I cannot like this film, at all.
While Supriya is supposed to deal with her rape on her own, Rohan is shown to be perturbed. Supriya tells him, “Mai jante hu ab tumhare liye mai pehle jaisi nahi rahi. Agar tum saath nahi rehna chahte to mai samajh sakti hun.” And Rohan, who fell in love with her confident attitude, just sits silently, not even uttering a single word to his wife.
Part of what happens next is realistic, but not all of it. And certainly not something you would expect in a film releasing in 2017. Supriya commits suicide and in her suicide note, she writes, “Jo mere saath hua, wo mai shayad seh leti lekin tumhe tute hue roz nahi dekh sakti.”
It makes it look that the rape was not an attack on her, but one on her husband’s ego and self-respect. And even an “independent” woman ends up blaming herself for the assault on her.
In real life, we are familiar with a patriarchal society that doesn’t think twice about shaming a rape survivor whose despair is compounded by an attitude that lays more stress on ‘family honour’ than on her distress.
However, when you watch a film that begins as a love story, you do not expect the hero to suddenly turn misogynistic.
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