Boys don’t cry. Men don’t cry at the movies. Aamir Khan cries at the movies. Ergo, he is not a real man, not He-Man, rippling with mardangi. He even carries his baby and holds hands with his wife in public, 3 types of Idiot.
Sounds terribly sexist, doesn’t it? But the lament of tweeples and FB folk since discovering that Aamir cries at the movies like he was chopping onions, has made it clear that sexism is hale and hearty. He came out of the Bajrangi Bhaijaan screening wiping his eyes with a towel. Then came reports that he ran through a boxful of tissues while watching Katti Batti. Only its director is applauding these tears. Because this could be the new Bollywood magic formula: Aamir rota hai to picture super hit hota hai.
Kangana Ranaut says Katti Batti is such a rondu rom-com that she cried every night while shooting the film, but social media has taken this announcement in its stride because she’s just a girl. She is supposed to cry at the movies, when Rose tells Jack she’ll never let go in Titanic, when Shahrukh dies in Devdas, when Aamir returns to his planet in PK.
Real men don’t cry but just get something in the eye, that too never with chick flicks or Disney weepers, only on manly occasions like Braveheart yelling Freedom just before his head is lopped off. Guess what’s not funny about this austere stereotyping? Not just that it keeps men from enjoying cinema to the fullest but in real life it confines them to this poky construct where they come out of the mother’s womb punching and kicking, mukka and laat.
Aamir may help liberate India’s male moviegoers. Maybe he’s totally unlike your moustachioed cousin and chacha, tayaji and papa, but the same internet that spews sexism also provides role models beyond the immediate peer group. Influential metrosexuals like Ronaldo, Rafa and Becks aren’t just teaching the world’s men about the joys of mampering and waxed chests, but also man-crying.
Look, from No drama Obama to Teflon Modi, more and more high profile men are showing their emotions even as they are putting the man in mani-pedis. Where Justin Timberlake’s Cry me a River used to be the normal thing, now the Madhuri Dixit message is gaining power: Teach boys not to make others cry, instead of don’t cry. Respect is growing for tears as a sign of empathy which in turn is increasingly being respected as a vital aspect of emotional intelligence — the world and its leaders could do with more rather than less. Except when it comes to crocodile tears.
Real men cry when they lose crores at KBC, when a friend gets cancer, when the boat is about to sink, at marriage and divorce, birth and graduation, when the movie is really good but also when it’s too terrible.
Crying at movies ruins your mardangi?