‘Ishq Vishk’ is a Bollywood movie directed by Ken Ghosh that marked the debut of Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao in 2003. The film became a box-office success and launched Shahid Kapoor’s career as a lead actor. It is a teenage romantic comedy that revolves around Rajiv (Shahid Kapoor) and his best friend Payal (Amrita Rao). As the movie completes 20 years since its release, we revisit it to analyze its storyline and how it portrays women.
The Plot of ‘Ishq Vishk’
The story is about Rajiv and Payal, who have been friends since high school. Payal has been in love with Rajiv but has never confessed it. Rajiv sees Payal as just a friend and does not find her attractive. He, along with his friends Danny and Javed, who are cool studs with hot girlfriends, nicknames Payal ‘Behanji’ (sister) because of her traditional thoughts. Rajiv decides to go on an overnight trip to Alibaug with his friends but needs a girlfriend to accompany him. He seeks help from his love guru Rocky and decides to fake a relationship with Payal to get on the trip. Unaware of his motives, Payal falls for Rajiv and starts dreaming of a future with him. However, things take a turn when Rajiv tries to kiss Payal forcefully during the trip, and she slaps him in front of everyone.
Misogynistic Elements in ‘Ishq Vishk’
The movie portrays women in a sexist manner. The character of Payal is shown as an obedient, traditional girl who is in love with a guy who does not reciprocate her feelings. She agrees to be Rajiv’s fake girlfriend, hoping he will fall in love with her eventually. However, when he tries to force himself on her, she stands up for herself and slaps him. The fact that Rajiv was willing to fake a relationship to get on the trip and then try to force himself on Payal, is a clear depiction of misogyny.
Moreover, the film objectifies women. The male characters in the movie only value women for their physical appearance. They consider the hottest women as their girlfriends, while Payal, who does not conform to their standards of beauty, is ridiculed and called ‘Behanji.’ The movie sends a message that a woman’s worth is determined by her physical appearance, which is problematic.
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