In 2020 India, women blaming and moral policing continues. Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli underperforms, his actress wife Anushka Sharma gets blamed. A bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide. His girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty is now baring the wrath of his fans, being labelled a murderess and alleged of drug dealings.
This, once again, has brought India’s fundamentally compromised by the long-standing, never-ending ultra conservative misogyny and patriarchy of Indian society which defines both gender roles and relations. This is not prevalent in the metropolitian cities, but even in rural villages where a women works in the fields alongside men and pull out water from the wells. In India’s new economy, women’s growing financial independence, greater consumer power and changing social roles have elicited a backlash from conservatives. But the same economic and political forces have also spawned a generation of young metropolitan women’s movements.
Celebrity women, in this case, Rhea Chakraborty and Anushka Sharma are being targeted for living their lives on their own terms, free of societal scrutiny. Rhea Chakraborty was living in a live-in relationship and this relationship is now being scrutinized by the late actor’s fans, the media and now the CBI. She has been alleged of manipulating him, giving him drugs and even being blamed for stealing his money. Barkha Dutt, a renowned journalist, wrote in The Washington Post that everyone has an opinion of an idealized version of the ‘Indian woman’. Any departure from that and you are roasted. Dutt said that Chakraborty has been cast as the manipulative femme fatale in the entire saga. Giving examples of male Bollywood stars in similar cases, Dutt highlighted that in the 90s, automatic weapons were found at the house of Sanjay Dutt when Mumbai reeled under communal riots and serial bomb blasts. Dutt was described as ‘nice guy who lost his way’. Salman Khan faced a trial in a drunken driving case that had resulted in a death of a laborer sleeping on the pavement. Khan was found guilty of culpable homicide but then later acquitted due to lack of evidence. The superstar continues with his movies today, never lost an iota of social standing. There is also Fardeen Khan who was found in possession of cocaine. He was bailed and never lashed at by the country nor the media.
Anushka Sharma had been dating the Indian Cricket captain for years before tying the knot. A few years ago, Anushka was badly trolled online about being present on the stands while Virat Kohli was batting for the Indian team. During the 6th IPL 2020 match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, wherein the former lost bitterly with Kohli dropping two catches, Anushka was blamed for his poor performance. Commentator Sunil Gavaskar went to the extent of saying, “Inhone lockdown me toh bas Anushka ki gendon ki practice ki hai” (he has just practiced on Anushka’s balls during lockdown). Not to let this go lightly, the Bollywood actress and producer described Gavaskar’s comments as distasteful. “I would love for you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her for her husband’s game? I am sure you can have many other words and sentences in your mind to use to comment on my husband’s performance from last night or your words only relevant if you use my name in the process?” Anushka added that its 2020 and things still don’t change. “When will I stop getting dragged into cricket and stop being used to pass sweeping statements?”