Kabir Singh Evokes Extreme Reactions On Twitter: Some Say ‘Toxic Domination Is Not Cool’, Others Feel Shahid Kapoor ‘Is Just Insanely Talented’

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

Bollywood has always been a breeding ground for sexist and misogynistic movies. However, the trend had considerably changed with more films giving space to strong women characters until the recent Shahid Kapoor blockbuster Kabir Singh. While critics and Twitterati are divided on their opinions about this movie,a remake of the 2017 Telugu movie,Arjun Reddy, which was also a blockbuster, we can’t deny the fact that’s it’s prancing towards the 100 crore club. Amidst all the criticism, people are all praises for Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani’s acting; which is probably the most highlighting feature of the movie.

Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Kabir Singh portrays toxic domination as “heroism” even in 2019. The movie is all about the romantic relationship between two medical students Kabir and Preeti and how Kabir loses himself after the couple breaks up due to circumstances. While Kabir is a typical male protagonist that we’ve always seen in the 80s and 90s films, Preeti is the silent sufferer who’s blindly in love with him. With movies celebrating women, like Meghana Gulzar’s Chappak are eagerly awaited this year at the big screen, Preeti’s character is a total contrast to this. That’s exactly what twitter users think:

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

Responsible Representation Vs Reality

Image: Instagram @shahidkapoor

Movies are one of the most influential mediums in countries like India where entertainment is most sought after. This is why responsible representation of ideas and creativity has always been better preferred. However, we can always argue that reality cannot be sugar-coated and there’s nothing wrong in narrating stories with an abusive or a serial killer protagonist. Kabir Singh’s character and his relationship with his love interest, Preeti, are quite disturbing for many of us because it’s outright toxic domination. The kind of love dynamics shared between the duo is even more unbelievable because it’s set in the 21st century, the era of feminism! Nonetheless, can we really disagree with the fact that these kinds of relationships are real even in 2019?

Toxic domination and abuse in the name of love is all real today and there’s no denying that. Kabir Singh has done a pretty good job in portraying such unfair and polarized relationships. However, the one grave mistake the movie makers have committed is the glorification of the abusive male protagonist. Well, just like most of the other Indian movies that thrive on dramatic heroism,Kabir Singh has also sought the help of the “obvious” success equation. With the combination of amazing acting and a decent script, the movie probably would have done well without the unnecessary glorification.

Things That Got Lost In The Remake

Image: Instagram @thedeverakonda

In Arjun Reddy, Vijay Devarakonda has done an extremely good job in portraying a young and reckless doctor but at the same time, we get to see the protagonist’s sensitive side. Arjun cries almost twice in the movie and breaks the ever-lasting stereotype that forbids tough men in Indian movies to shed their tears. Arjun’s journey is a destructive one but it ends in redemption. Coming to Kabir Singh, the character is just on the surface level. He is as destructive as Arjun but we never get to see the softness that is buried deep inside. This makes Kabir an annoyingly abusive and dominating character who isn’t headed anywhere.

The dynamic between the submissive junior girl and her dominant boyfriend is pretty much the same in both the movies. However, Kabir Singh lacks the warm moments that Arjun and Preethi shared. Adding to that, Shahid Kapoor doesn’t quite look like a college student regardless of his outstanding acting. Undeniably, someone like Vijay Devarakonda is a good fit for a student than Shahid Kapoor.

On The Brighter Side

Image: Instagram @kiaraaliaadvani

Even if Shahid Kapoor looks nothing like a young college student in his early twenties, his acting is truly amazing. He perfectly portrayed the mess that Kabir Singh is with all the agony and doom that the character entailed. Shahid is one of those underrated actors of Bollywood who get sidelined because of stardom. Even if he had done only a few movies in the past decade, he has immortalized his characters in Padmavat, Udta Punjab, and Haider. It would be fair to say that he deserved a better entry into the 100 crore club than with a film that is criticized for misogyny.

The music of Kabir Singh is evidently outstanding because Bekhayali is such a huge hit! Even the other songs like Kaise Hua and Tujhe Kitna Chahne lage are quite popular. Another good thing about the movie is its supporting cast. Soham Majumdar who plays Kabir’s best friend trying to calm his abusive friend but fails every time. Soham delivers a pretty good performance in the movie.

While movies like Kabir Singh glorify misogynistic characters in a way that makes the audience feel that it’s normal, we wonder how the movie is such a huge hit at the box office. Clearly, the taste of the Indian audience hasn’t progressed with time. Have you watched Kabir Singh? What is your opinion about the movie? Let us know in the comments below.

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