Nothing on the Internet is ever really gone. Even if you’re not Jofra Archer and have prediction tweets about everything. Chances are, if you’ve ever posted something problematic on the Internet, there’s proof of it existing, even if you did do a dirty delete, and have since changed your stance. Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt may be the recent example of something problematic from your past coming back to haunt you. An old commercial featuring the ‘Munna Bhai MBBS’ actor has recently resurfaced on the Indian internet. In the commercial, he is seen slamming men for resorting to “feminine” activities. The old video resurfaced after YouTuber Saiman Says recently did a hot take version of it on his YouTube channel, calling it ‘How to be a MAN (ft. Sanjay Dutt),’ and BuddyBits, a publisher on Facebook posting a video about it called ‘Toxic Masculinity Ft. Sanjay Dutt’ on June 15.
The original video, on YouTube, is called ‘Sanjay Dutt - Mardangiri’ and dates back to 2010 when it was posted. In the now-viral clip, Dutt is seen explaining what “manliness" ‘should be’ and how “it is in danger." He further goes on to complain about those men who spend more time at a beauty parlour than a gym or prefer to look after babies and cooking. He even gendered colours, saying these men wear “girly" colours like “purple, pink, mauve." “They want to feel like behenjis…wear clothes like behenjis, put on lotions and creams like behenjis," the actor says. “Let’s not have anything to do with facial and lip gloss, and hand creams, and counting calories, and flowery perfumes… or flowery anything. This is the new kranti (revolution) I want to start for men…it’s called Mardangiri (Manliness)," he says, concluding his rant. He ends it with the brand he was sponsored - Haywards 5000 soda.
While the ad is only being met with negativity now that it resurfaced, there are two important things here, while Sanjay Dutt isn’t a role model or champion of feminism and women rights, considering it was a commercial, he was paid to read out the script someone else had written. The second thing is that, even for 2010, this wasn’t a take that should have been normalized. In 2021 we’re all significantly a lot more woke than we were in 2010, but the toxic masculinity rant that Dutt went on shouldn’t have been accepted back then either. Dutt trying to generalize the fact that men shouldn’t be at home cooking or looking after babies is a belief we should have abandoned a long time in the past, even pre circa 2010’s. The very fact that Dutt uses that example to normalize that traditional gender role which puts the onus of unpaid domestic labour on women entirely, is problematic - even by our non-woke 2010 standards. Some of the things Dutt says in the video are also ironical, especially his comment about long hair, because ‘Sanju Baba’ himself sported a mullet back in the 90’s.
A comment on BuddyBits video reads, “We are a progressive society. We have left this mindset a long time ago. The pandemic has made us men make more contribution at home. This ad would get a lot of backlash today."
Even 8 years ago, a YouTube comment calls out the problems with the take in the video, “Whether you accept it or not, emasculation is rampant and widespread in our Indian society. However, in this ad, the presentation is totally wrong. Masculinity isn’t rooted in domination over women as a source of sexual gratification."
Sanjay Dutt was last seen in ‘Kalank’ co-starring Madhuri Ditizt, Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditya Roy Kapur and Kunal Kemmu. His next venture is South biggie ‘KGF: Chapter 2’, starring Yash. He will also star in action entertainer ‘Shamshera’ with Ranbir Kapoor.