Karan Johar’s new romantic comedy Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani sees Dharmendra’s Kawal romancing Shabana Azmi’s Jamini. The catch? Dharmendra is married to Jaya Bachchan’s character. This seems to have triggered a debate on Reddit as users are debating whether the film justifies adultery.
In the film, however, when Alia Bhatt’s character accuses her grandmother (Shabana) of cheating on her husband in the past, the latter reveals she was in an abusive marriage and wishes she would’ve stepped out of the marriage much earlier.
How did the debate start?
A Reddit user tweeted with a picture of Dharmendra and Shabana from the film and wrote in the caption, “Karan Johar and his obsession with infidelity is sickening! Please don’t watch #RockyAurRaniKiPremKahani if you’re triggered by adultery, this movie has not only glorified but also JUSTIFIED infidelity! Cheating is never okay, no matter how unhappy you are in your relationship.”
A Reddit user took a screenshot of the tweet and posted a thread titled, ‘Can we stop normalizing adultery!’ However, a lot of users rebutted the argument. One wrote, “What’s worse than cheating is abuse – mental and emotional included. And using children and money and society to keep you tied to the marriage. But that’s so normalized, no one even talks about it and it’s just accepted as ‘marriage.’”
Response to the Reddit post
Another user wrote, “I hundred per cent agree that K Jo and too an extent Zoya very much justify cheating. Especially K jo justifies it in almost every movie ie KANK. But with that being said the way he did it in Rocky Aur Rani was very intriguing and empathetic. Cause yes one should never cheat but especially Shabana’s character was in an abusive marriage, and compared to her abusive husband in comes Dharmendra. Like I get why people are saying it’s glorification but in any media this movie was one of the best most human portrayals of cheating.”
However, a user responded to the above comment by justifying the depiction of adultery in Zoya Akhtar’s filmography. They wrote, “How does Zoya justify cheating? The clearest case I can think of is Anil Kapoor in DDD who is not shown in a positive light whatsoever. Farhan cheatinf in ZNMD is a major plot point which shows his progress and growth as a character. Ranveer Alia in Gully Boy is much more nuanced i agree. Made in Heaven Jim Sarbh and Kalki are clearly shown to not be nice people. I’m curious why you think she justifies cheating.”
Another user pointed out how Kanwal’s home was also an abusive environment. They wrote, “Have y’all even watched the film properly? Neither was in a happy marriage which was actively because of their spouse. They even explicitly show what an abusive household did to Ranveer’s father and his relationship with Dharmendra.”
A user said that they’re in fact not okay with toxic marriages being normalised. “In fact, I have a problem with toxic marriages being normalised. most people don’t know how difficult it is getting out of a relationship especially marriage in a conservative setting and also the feeling that your life is ending one day at a time and how we are wasting time stuck in a relationship which isn’t going anywhere,” they wrote.
Another user wrote, “People are not going to see a KJo movie and get inspired to commit adultery just like people are not going to see Money Heist/Dhoom and rob governments or banks. Nobody is normalising anything and art always imitates life in these scenarios. Adultery existed in India long before KJo learnt to make movies and it will continue to exist long after he stops making movies. Although, I will agree on one aspect that using adultery as a plot device in every movie of his is tedious at this point but that’s not the same as normalising it.”
Another user debated whether even moral policing is justified. They wrote, “Can we stop normalizing moral policing? Moral Policing begins with films and then transports itself to real life. Let consenting adults be. Adultery isn’t even an illegal act after 2017. Moral policing is more dangerous than adultery. It has taken more lives in the past few years than adultery ever will.”