Shahid Kapoor’s ‘biggest’ blockbuster till date, Kabir Singh, has crossed the 200-crore mark at the box office. Despite its commercial success, the movie has received a ton of criticism. It tells the story of an alcoholic surgeon who loses the woman he loves and spins out of control. It was blasted by critics for portraying toxic masculinity in the garb of love. The problematic plot of the movie has triggered discussion about applauding the actions of misogynistic men and a heroine (Kiara Advani) who’s too meek to speak for herself.
In his first interview after the release of Kabir Singh, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga has defended some of the most controversial aspects of the movie. Speaking to journalist Anupama Chopra, the director called the criticism "bizarre" and "unhealthy".
Watch the full interview here:
Although the audience has called out the film for glorifying a character like Kabir Singh who feels it's his right to love, touch, slap a girl without her consent. But the man behind creating a character like Kabir Singh, Sandeep Vanga, is unapologetic about everything that's been shown in the film. In fact, he believes that “it’s not true love if you can't slap each other”.
Kabir Singh has sparked a debate regarding the portrayal of gender roles on screen. This is a much-needed discussion that every filmmaker needs to listen in on. Here are a few of the many controversial things that director Sandeep Vanga said during this interview:
Speaking about the particular scene in which Kabir (the protagonist) physically assaults Kiara Advani’s character, Preeti, he said, “She slapped him without a reason, at least Kabir had a reason to slap her. If you can’t slap, if you can’t touch your woman wherever you want, if you can’t kiss, I don’t see emotion there.”
Kabir Singh is a remake of Telugu hit Arjun Reddy, which was also directed by Sandeep Vanga. When asked about the film's reception in the Hindi film industry, Sandeep remarked that the criticism is nothing but “pseudo”. He repeatedly made references to critic Rajeev Masand’s scathing review of the film and referred to him as “some fat guy who reviewed my film” and said that while Rajeev gave him two stars, audience gave him Rs 200 crore.
He also lashed out at other critics who slammed the film and called them “parasites who are the real threat to the film industry”. He feels that the way critics have 'attacked' the film is unjustified and only proves that Bollywood hates him: “Probably they (critics) never experienced love in the right way. It's new to them. They were only on the feminist side, they didn’t speak about anything else. They probably hate me.”
In a particular scene in the movie, Kabir pulls out Preeti out of a classroom and proclaims that she is his woman. Sandeep defended this scene as well and responded by saying, “He plucks her out of the classroom and marks his territory saying ‘tu meri bandi hai’. Mujhe toh kuch galat nahi lagta usme. You call 2,000 people at a wedding and tie the knot, it’s the same.”
Anupama further asked Sandeep whether his film isn't normalising this kind of behaviour where men have the right to touch a girl without her permission. To this, he said he doesn't understand why people are generalising what has been depicted in the movie: “I’ve seen so many women and girls saying that we need someone like Arjun Reddy or Kabir Singh in our lives.”
Fans left mixed reactions in the YouTube comments section of the interview. One of them said, “This guy himself is the manifestation of Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh that’s why such bold answers,” While another wrote, “I can’t hate this man, he’s really being honest and raw. But he has some serious issues.”