Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s defence of his blockbuster movie was his attempt to make people see the rationalisation of physical abuse in relationships. In an interview with Anupama Chopra, the director made preposterous statements about the concept of true love to justify Shahid Kapoor’s toxic character in Kabir Singh. In the movie, Kabir is a dejected surgeon who spirals out of control after losing the girl who he obsessively loves. He turns violent and even resorts to physical abuse with his girlfriend Preeti, played by Kiara Advani.
In the interview, Sandeep dismissed criticism of the film as “pseudo” and its critics as “parasites”. He even called Rajeev Masand, the journalist who criticised his movie, a “fat man”. But it was one of his other statements that seem to have hit a nerve among the public. He said, “When you are deeply in love and deeply connected to a woman (and vice versa), if you don’t have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don’t see anything there.” He also said that people saying that the movie promotes rape culture, probably don't even know how rape is spelled.
Sandeep faced severe backlash on social media after the interview, and in an attempt to cover that up, he made another statement claiming that he was misquoted, “You took me completely wrong. It’s not assaulting. When you’re so close to each other when you can’t handle your worst thing with each other. And you don’t have the liberty of showing your worst side. The worst thing is not like ‘iss din daaru peeke aake maar rha hai’. It’s about the liberty of the expression between a couple who is deeply connected. It works for a woman also and it works for a man also. I spoke for both sides. But sadly, they are quoting in a very wrong way.”
In order to revive his public image, Sandeep Vanga seems to have dug a deeper hole for himself. A lot of netizens took to Twitter to shut down the director who clearly doesn’t understand the concept of ‘true love’.
Sandeep Vanga Reddy, the director of Arjun Reddy & Kabir Singh probably got the idea of "True Love" from such movies. #WeSupportSandeepReddyVanga #SandeepReddyVanga #SandeepVanga pic.twitter.com/Lk6wZj8qiP— Ashish Singh 🇮🇳 (@AshishS44604300) July 7, 2019
Shahid Kapoor, too, defended his film Kabir Singh, after many labelled it as chauvinistic: “Isn’t it wrong to expect an actor to always be idealistic. I am not expected to be idealistic. I am expected to be real; mirroring life, representing all shades of people in their entirety. Once we become adults, we are on our own, drawing heavily from popular culture. But, we must represent grey shades of human beings in films to represent life.”
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Your love is so overwhelming words will always fall short. Thank you for understanding him forgiving him and loving him with all your heart. We all fall apart. And we all must strive to rise from our faults. To be better. To be wiser. To be kinder. He is flawed. So are we all. You didn’t judge him you experienced him. You understood him. I have never ever felt so thankful. The most flawed character I have ever played. Has become my most loved. Indeed indian cinema and the audience has come a long way. More power to brave choices. More power to you all for your maturity and humanness. You have given me wings to fly. To not only be burdened by the need to be loved to be a star but to have the courage to be hated in equal measure to be an actor. Here’s to cinema mirroring life. To protagonists who don’t have to be restricted by their goodness and can be human and imperfect. There is perfection in imperfection and that is the beauty and the challenge of this human life. Thank you. Again and again. You all are the heroes of this story.
Kabir Singh is a box office success, having made Rs 226 crore so far, making it the biggest solo hit of Shahid’s career, the second-biggest Bollywood hit of 2019, after Uri: The Surgical Strike.
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