Bollywood’s guide to romance in the third world

Here are the things I know about love:

  • If he insists you call him every 47 minutes to tell him how the last 47 minutes were; it’s love.
  • If he usually has his hand in someone else’s cookie jar, but promises to be a one jar man for you; it’s love.
  • If the reason you ever noticed him in the first place was because he sat with his back to his brother’s wedding celebrations, moodily plucking Wish You Were Here on his left-handed guitar; it’s going to be love.

I know you’re all ‘this chick is 50 kinds of messed up’, but you know what, I learnt from the best – that Bible of relationships: Bollywood. Now you may think that is totally not cool, but I would like to take a proud moment to tell you that I’ve watched every single movie on Wikipedia’s list of Bollywood movies in the ’90s between the years 1992 and 1998. My childhood was clearly well-spent, and I am great at relationships. Except not. But I am great at recognizing each of the three above mentioned variety of douche and I can quote Karan Arjun word for word. How many of you can say that?

According to my findings, the kind of men desi women have subliminally been programmed to fall for by Bollywood fall into three basic groups: Shah Rukh, Saif and Salman. Khan. In case you didn’t know.


Saif Ali Khan

Ah Saif – he’s super cool. He’s got the hot girlfriend, the princely title, the great stubble and the best stash of collagen. Except- before there was a Dil Chahta Hai induced makeover, there was just Saif rocking his layered hair and cowboy boots. I often think of Saif in the ’90s as forever clad in yellow pants and a bowling shirt, dancing to Ole Ole in the cinematic masterpiece, Yeh Dillagi, but that, it turns out, was just an abstract memory.

You may pretend your past never happened; but the internet never forgets.

Saif was in fact really cool in black leather and his ex-wife’s best jeans in the song. Yeh Dillagi starred Kajol as Sabrina (play along, will ya?) the driver’s daughter and Akshayy ‘Double Y’ Kumar as Saif’s older, serious brother, Mark Darcy. Saif is a bad boy who thinks Kajol is hot and all, but like, who dates their driver’s kid? Next.

Kajol becomes a model and Saif re-falls for her and reforms, and that kids, is how a great makeover will make a playa delete his booty-call list off his phone. Akshayy also is smitten by Kajol’s stunning good looks and unibrow, but gives his love for hirsute women up for his brother who has now quit ‘drinking liquor’. All good things must come to an end though, and Saif realizes Darcy and Sabrina are totes made for each other and gives them his blessing before driving off into the sunset, stopping only to pick up some chick off the road (a hooker?) whom he decides to marry. The end. Saif goes on to play the same role for the next seven years in different films, but often with Akshayy.

Bottom-line: This film reinforces the idea that if he is a bad boy, you can turn his life around by making him fall mercilessly in love with you.


Shah Rukh Khan

King Khan, right? King Khan has been ruining our lives since 1996 and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge with the notion that all you have to do to win over your girlfriend’s dad is make friends with his wife and sister and feed some birds with him in a dhoti. Girls, it’s really not that cute in real life. However, the bigger lesson King Khan has left this world with is: It’s totally okay to stake out a girl’s house, secretly take her pictures for posters in your room, and kill her husband or sister if you’ve marked her your future widow. It’s love baby. This MO is your friend if you can work a cape, hat and mask – separately, or as one ensemble is totally up to individual preference, but Kajol has fallen for King Khan’s brand of douchery year upon year so who are we to question anything?

But in his defence, the flaming homosexual waist girdle was quite sliming.

Bottom-line: If he is breathing into your cell phone asking you why you just left class and stood in the corridor for five whole minutes, it’s because he loves you.


Salman Khan

Salman’s on screen persona spent most of the late ’80s and ’90s sulking, often over issues with his overbearing dad, or the fact that he killed his overbearing dad or because his dad is too rich and girlfriend’s dad is a mechanic. Something. That boy never smiled. Do you know when he did smile? When he fell in love and had his girlfriend all to his melancholy self to play her one of his boss tunes on the guitar.

Above: the second reason why he never smiled, more like why he was asked never to.

Or got her to model some great frothy frocks for him while he expressed his feelings through interpretative dance. Salman Khan is the reason we think it’s okay for boys to dance shirtless at college events and chum around with Shakti Kapoor types. Not surprisingly, it takes a real Salman to win a Kajol’s surroo older brother over, and the only person who’s managed to steal Kajol from Salman is King Khan itself.

Bottom-line: If he hates people, but loves you, you better give up that social life of yours for love.


Conclusion: If you meet a boy who reminds you of any of the above, run.

Conclusion 2: If you do find you are into that shit, then be prepared to end up spending all your time with only your broody boy for company; with an STI; or radically ‘modified’ to fit the trunk of his car.

Conclusion 3: Kajol always gets the guy, so feel no shame in letting your eyebrows wander all over your face.




Categories: Celebrities, Movies & TV


I like superhero trivia, Star Wars references, and saying at the end of a conversation about either: 'Yeah, I haven't seen that.' You can read all about it at


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7 Comments on “Bollywood’s guide to romance in the third world”

  1. February 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    “Or got her to model some great frothy frocks for him while he expressed his feelings through interpretative dance. ”

    Hahahaha Saajan hahahahaha

  2. February 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    I am going to go watch Yeh Dillagi immediately. Falling for a driver’s daughter and then REVENGE is a priceless way to spend thursday night. Better than Bridesmaids

  3. Alliya
    December 24, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    awesome piece!!

  4. Salman
    December 24, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    It just keeps getting better and better, Zainab.

  5. Faati
    December 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Keep writing Zainab.

  6. Faati
    December 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    I love conclusion #2!

  7. Samia
    December 23, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Brilliant article!!

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