All Bollywood Films End in Marriage

Meaghan Coulter - India


February 20, 2018

“Marriage is about two things: sexual satisfaction and building generations. Nothing more. Only useless people are thinking about love.”

I’m 18, and I’ll admit I’m not ready to be tied down.

I currently take marriage as a joke; I have much of my life left to live, why would I do so in the reigns of a paper contract and a diamond ring. But in India, the concept is a serious ideal, many times loveless in addition.

Every Bollywood romance I’ve encountered never discusses love, but instead engagement: what’s expected. “Wife” is no longer synonymous with “friend,” but rather a man impressing a woman with money, deeds, and power to form invaluable trust. The movies skip these moments: eating leftovers together at 2am, the hours spent talking while playing with their hair and laying on the couch, the much needed soft voice outside of a busy restaurant reciprocating a long lived crush.

“Love is for useless people. But if you’re going to feel love, at the very least, make sure it’s someone of a similar income level.”

The romance I’ve seen in Indian media has never neared defining a healthy relationship. Rather, the moments I’ve witnessed include: lying to a woman to have her think he’s someone he’s not, persuading a woman using money and a dream proposal, and bullying a woman until she has no choice but to be with him. Unoriginal, unthoughtful, unhealthy. It’s also worth mentioning the women who turn their heads at the sight of a penniless bachelor. Not to even touch the caste system, the financial stability becomes the sole reason of tying the knot.

Might I also clarify that women are not only wives.

“The result of a love marriage is never satisfactory. Divorce, arguments, affairs. These things don’t happen in arranged marriage.”

Coming from an arranged married man from Jaipur, India, I can conclude that here, divorce is simply taboo. People believe that a marriage is the preparation of learning to live together through better or worse. And I agree, it’s in our vows. Yet the amount of people who have shamed my parent’s divorce in India is uncanny, and honestly, overall despairing.

To me, divorce is beautiful, and I will always defend it. The concept that traditional love can be fixed when the person you marry is not the person you leave is a setup up for discontentment in a life that’s already so shortly lived. On the spectrum, I don’t know if I’ll get married, but if my divorce will be the cause of this dismay and I become another “useless person thinking about love,” then so be it.  I’d take the high chance to find happiness elsewhere, whether from another partner, or the longing importance of self love.

I can’t help but understand the sexist undertones of media roots, and in my time here I thought I could ignore it, but in the end, that won’t prevent me from judging the social acceptance of a husband beating his wife. If anything, I’ve become thankful that my privilege allows for my romantic freedom. If Bollywood films have taught me anything, I won’t take my independence for granted. With or without wealth, to me, love will always come first. Always.

Meaghan Coulter