In a scene from the trailer, Kabir (Shahid Kapoor) is seen chasing his house-maid after she broke a glass. From rooms to stairs, to society and eventually the main road, our protagonist is running after a woman from an economically weaker background. I laughed, people laughed. It was a good dose of black comedy. But that was, really, the trailer. Each and every scene in the movie is similar (majorly worse) to the one just described, which makes it almost annoying as Kabir remains a grenade ready to burst.
The story of a final-year medical student with anger management issues who falls in love and forces the same out of a first-year student could have been made into something which didn’t question its own existence continuously. But Sandeep Reddy Vanga — for the second time — decided to give us a journey which becomes more problematic with the passage of every second. One hundred and seventy-eight minutes of ill-defined swagger and a desperate Kabir calling out Preeti (Kiara Advani) should never have existed.
Kabir Singh, as people continuously insist and debate, is a movie about a really flawed and negative character whose idea of romance, control, wrongs, and rights is different from others. It is ‘supposed’ to be a character to be relished and the audience ‘should’ find his swagger cinematically enjoyable. Singh got downright comparisons to Joker and co (Tyler Durden, Anton Chigurh, Jake LaMotta, etc, you know the list). But what concerned me in the beginning, became an assurance by the interval and a cringe-worthy climax by the end was the treatment of the character.
Kabir’s girlfriend and obsession — an MBBS graduate — finds him the sole reason she exists and declares she is nothing without him. His friend — who is shown to be morally upright with other responsibilities — supports Kabir in his addiction, anger, and love in all the wrong ways, often even promoting them. Whether it was out of love or out of fear, we never knew. Well, not until he offers his own sister to help Kabir settle down. From Kabir’s support staff as a surgeon to even his elder brother, no one at any stage completely objects to his actions. The entire cinematic universe of Kabir Singh is accepting of a beast, someone who also harmed each character’s personal life as well.
It isn’t just a case of the misogynistic and violent message being sent out, it is also a case of hypocrisy — in huge amounts. Characters whose actions should have pointed towards a certain arc, deviate away from it — always in one other direction — that of being ignorant of Kabir. He is made to look cool, and having problems with that could never be purely cinematic. But what is completely cinematic, anyway?
Movies originate from life and even vice versa to smaller extents, but Kabir Singh — the movie and the character — are both beyond redemption. Not because he shouts and fights with almost everyone, not because he is forcing a girl to remove her clothing at knife-point, but because the only problem the entire movie identifies with this man is that of operating while being drunk and incredibly high. If that isn’t being hypocritical of the violent and much ‘entertaining’ world the writers created, then I don’t know what is.
Kabir Singh is far too problematic to be judged on story-telling, acting or even the songs — which fortunately escape the judgments. The first ten minutes are mildly bearable because we address them as the first ten minutes. Wait, until the lack of logic becomes the tone for the rest of the movie. Wait, till dark humour runs out of dark. Wait, till we become so accepting of Kabirs that they decide to make our world their cinematic universe.