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6 Bollywood movies that are problematic and affected by Saviour complex

How Bollywood’s portrayal of movies has an obsession with the Saviour complex?


In Bollywood movies, we see heroes protecting their heroine from goons or giving speeches on a woman’s safety and her success. It is common practice to have a boy to protect a girl in the home, society, and Hindi films or always see marginalized communities as victims.

Our society and the Hindi film industry are completely infested with the Saviour Complex. Bollywood continues to uphold the one-man-army cis-gendered male savior hero trope even in a story where women did a lot of heavy lifting.

What is Savior Complex?

Savior complex is when a person feels good about themselves after helping someone. The person believes that their job or purpose is to help the people around them. Like in Indian patriarchal society men feel that it is their job to protect women. If we talk about the Hindi film industry, then the only duty of the hero of our films is to protect the heroine and his sister.

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Let us know about 5 Bollywood movies affected by Saviour Complex. There are some movies that portray the Saviour complex and its problematic and should be discussed among the masses. Bollywood has come a long way when it comes to the treatment of female characters in the film, it has a lot to learn about its default hierarchal approach given to men over women.

  1. Mission Mangal: In the year 2013, Indian women have covered the distance till Mars, but still in Bollywood’s women-centric films, only an actor is the doer of that film. There was a team of many women scientists behind the success of Mangalyaan, but when Bollywood made a film on it, the main character of that entire film was a cis-gender man whose role was played by Bollywood’s super Saviour actor Akshay Kumar as usual. The mission was even given the name Mom. If we see the poster of the Mangalyaan movie, even though this film is female-centric, all the female actors of the film have been kept on one side of the poster, and while a whole part of the poster has been dedicated to the actor Akshay Kumar.
  2. Pink: Fingers are pointed at the characters of three girls in the film Pink as they lived alone, worked, and befriended the boys. Their voice is not heard until Amitabh Bachchan, playing the role of his lawyer, fights his case as their protector. All this proves here that even today women will be heard in society only as long as a man does not advocate against women’s rights or injustice being done to her. Amitabh Bachchan’s presence throughout begs the question: Why did we need a man to lead the way in a film about women?
  3. Chak de India: Now look at the example of Chak De India itself. Although this entire film should be based on the struggles of the women’s hockey team to their victory, this film also revolves around the dream of a male coach to win for India. He’s the only one who has regular flashbacks and the most fulfilling character arc of them all.
  4. Dangal: Aamir Khan’s role of the strict father in Dangal, whose dream is only to bring gold for the country and for which he leaves everything and starts teaching wrestling to his daughters and once again all the credit for daughters’ victory goes to ‘Bapu’.
  5. Article 15: The film is based on the fundamental right of Article 15 of the Constitution, but in this film, the character played by Ayushmann is shown as a Savarna protector. The protector who protects the exploited community by the people of his own exploiting community. In this film, the exploited community is shown as a victim as usual and the exploiting community has been made the protector. Even if the film is focused on women or the oppressed class, but the film also puts entire focus on the upper caste and cis-gendered men. Every Bollywood film remains incomplete without upper caste and cis-gendered men.
  6. Padman: Akshay Kumar played the role of a man who is mahilaaon ka rakshak. It’s a film about women and menstruation but the story revolves around a man who is a central character of the film.

To reduce the Saviour complex of Bollywood films, we need films like Thappad, Chhapaak, English Vinglish, Lipstick Under My Burkha, No One Killed Jessica, and Karnan where women and the oppressed class can take their own life decisions.

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Jagisha Arora

MA in History and has worked as a freelance writer. She writes on issues of gender, caste and democracy.

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