Kabir Singh director Sandeep Reddy Vanga, defending the controversial Kabir Singh has said, “If you can’t slap, if you can’t touch your woman wherever you want, I don’t see emotion.”
What the hell is that even supposed to mean?
In his first major interview post the release of his latest film, Kabir Singh, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga has defended some of the most controversial aspects of the Shahid Kapoor-starrer, which has become this year’s latest blockbuster despite negative reviews.
One of the reasons why I think the film became a blockbuster hit is because the mentality of the society is still there. The people resonate with the values that Kabir believes in. And that it is okay to hit your partner.
During his interview with Anupama Chopra, Vanga said, “When I started this film, I knew it would be a big success at the box office, but I never thought that the rage would be repeated, and it has multiplied four times now.”
The film has made Rs 218 crore domestically, and Vanga says that it can cross the Rs 300 crore mark, which would make it the most successful Bollywood film of 2019. The film has already become Shahid Kapoor’s biggest solo release of his career.
Asked about the allegations of toxic masculinity and poor treatment of women in the film, Vanga 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.” Vanga had previously directed the Telugu hit Arjun Reddy, which was also a major box office success, and had attracted similar criticism, albeit on a smaller scale.
Singling out critics who’ve slammed his film, Vanga described them as ‘parasites who are the real threat to the film industry’ and said, “Probably they never experienced (love) in the right way.” He added, “They were only on the feminist side, they didn’t speak about anything else.”
The director was surprised that the conversation was mostly centred around the themes, and not the technical aspects of his film. He said this was perhaps because “They (the critics) hate me.”
Feminist side? It is so sad that people use words without knowing its meaning.
Vanga repeatedly made references to Rajeev Masand’s scathing review of the film and referred to the critic as “Some fat guy who reviewed my film.”
“He gave two (stars) and audience gave Rs 200 crore,” Vanga continued.
“I see him giving more than three (stars) to stupid films.” Providing the example of the Sanjay Dutt biopic Sanju, directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Anupama’s husband Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Vanga said, “Rajeev Masand gave 3.5 (stars) to Sanju. ‘Sanju where is my mangalsutra?’ What happens after that, you can talk volumes about it. Everybody loved it. When he says he slept with 300-odd women, we were all cheering and whistling in the theatre.”
Speaking about a particular scene in the film, in which Kabir Singh 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.”
The film has been strongly criticised from several quarters. The Hindustan Times review of Kabir Singh, awarding the film one-and-a-half stars out of five, noted that “Kabir Singh applauds its pathetic protagonist, and ends up an obnoxious celebration of toxic masculinity.”
Shahid in a message of gratitude to fans, posted on his Instagram account on the occasion of Kabir Singh crossing Rs 200 crore at the domestic box office, had written, “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.”
View this post on Instagram
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.
Fans left mixed reactions in the YouTube comments section of the interview.