A new song from Dhruv Sarja's upcoming film Pogaru was released on April 2. The film also stars Rashmika Mandanna and is directed by Nanda Kishore. Titled 'Karabuu', the song follows a familiar pattern of the hero harassing the heroine and everyone treating it as comedy with a touch of romance.
The film is supposedly a 'romantic action entertainer' and Dhruv appears to be playing a goon. In the song, Rashmika is characterised as a meek, bespectacled woman who is continuously harassed by the hero and his men. Throughout the song, she's touched without her consent, with the hero singing that whatever he touches becomes his.
He pulls her hair, forcefully pushes and pulls her around, threatens to electrocute her, cut her throat, hugs her close even as she cringes, and then plants a kiss on her cheek though she's clearly uninterested.
The song has been viewed over six million times. However, though Dhruv Sarja fans are delighted with the video, quite a few have objected to its primitive understanding of romance even as film discourse in India has progressed to discussions on misogyny and the glorification of violence against women as romance.
Some comments include (not edited):
"She's scared throughout the song . I think that's the appropriate response. Super creepy."
"God when this kind of theme is going to stop, Goon chasing a girl."
"Can anyone explain me...Why there is so much violence towards her? And million people liked thr video. Irony, These people talk about 'save women."
"aaghh tuu... this is the way u show women."
â€śThis song is so cringe to watch. Directors have to make movies with some responsibility and treating girls with respect.â€ť
Many said that the song was 'outdated' and looked like it had been made 10-15 years ago. On Twitter, too, fans of Kannada cinema debated the glorification of violence against women, with some pointing out that this has always been the case.
If you thought Karabuu was disgusting, might I remind you of Mehbooba Mehbooba?â€” Madwoman in the ŕ˛…ŕ˛źŕłŤŕ˛ź (@beNNefingwrs) April 4, 2020
All Shivavaj Kumar does in the song is harass Prema. All Prema does is look scared and run. Lovers of Om, care to explain these scenes to me? Why do our "cult" films promote rape culture? pic.twitter.com/y0lCQ7d7dZ
Across industries, it has been routine to treat the hero sexually harassing the heroine as romance. Criminal acts like stalking, intimidation, molestation and even sexual assault have been justified in the name of love.
However, with changing times, it has become less acceptable to promote misogyny on screen. Even if the films go on to become box-office hits, they are called out for the glorification. And now, itâ€™s not just film critics who seem to be doing it but also the audience.