Kabir Singh, released on June 21, 2019 has been making noise on the box office, the film starring Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani is a blockbuster, has broken the records of Kick and Chennai Express with a collection of Rs 235.72 Cr by week four as mentioned by the trade analyst and film critic Taran Adarsh.
Well the audience seems to like the story of Kabir Singh, the story of an impulsive surgeon, a man who lost the love of his life, who sets on the path of self-destruction and idolizes misogyny. Critics question the idea of displaying such a vandalised character. The director Sandeep Reddy Vanga showcases a story of raw love and passion to the youth.
In a post success interview with Film Companion director Sandeep Reddy Vanga says he found the criticism to be ‘bizarre’. Referring to the scene from the movie where Kabir slaps Preeti, Sandeep replied, “I feel it’s pseudo because, when you are deeply in love, when you’re deeply connected with your woman and vice versa, there’s a lot of honesty in it and if you don’t have that physical demonstration. If you don’t have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don’t see anything there. I feel these women, whoever are criticising it, I feel they were never in love. They’ve probably never experienced it in the right way… I can clearly see they’ve never experienced it and it’s new to them.” On Kabir Singh’s treatment of Preeti he exclaimed, “Rajeev Masand said ‘he plucks her out of the classroom and marks his territory and says tu meri bandi hai.’ I don’t find anything wrong with that. You call 2000 people to your wedding and tie a knot. What are you trying to tell them?”
If you don’t have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don’t see anything there. -Sandeep Reddy Vanga, justifying the slap as a remark of love
The Film Companion website went viral after the interview and he has been criticized severely for glorifying misogyny and assault against women, for stereotyping Preeti’s character as feeble and submissive. To his defense, in an interview with Times Now Sandeep Reddy said that his comments were blown out of proportion and that he was talking about the liberty of expression between two people in love. He even stated, “Go, watch it and enjoy. If you don’t like the film [Kabir Singh], then fine. You took me completely wrong. It’s not assault. 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 the sides. But sadly, they are quoting in a very wrong way.”
The director’s comments have annoyed the celebrities as well as the general public, Samantha Akkineni, Kubbra Sait, Aditi Rao Hydari, singer Chinmayi Sripaada, Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt and Anasuya Bharadwaj are some of the celebrities that rose to the ‘slap comment’. This movie is a question whether Bollywood has normalized misogyny and toxic masculinity.