An exact remake of Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Arjun Reddy, the Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani starrer Kabir Singh is the story of an ill-tempered and obnoxious surgeon who resorts to violence and abusive language when things don’t go the way he wants them to. We find that this man is also a sex offender and substance abuser.
Kabir sets his eyes on Preeti, his MBBS college junior, and goes on to stake his claim on her as if she were his territory or property. Their ‘love’ story progresses and we find Kabir to be a possessive guy obsessed with his alleged love for Preeti. He is ready to ‘rescue’ Preeti by thrashing people who hurt her. When Preeti’s parents refuse to get them married, Kabir Singh turns to alcohol and drugs and becomes even more of a pervert.
Kabir Singh is the epitome of toxic masculinity. He is riled up by the slightest provocation. Once infuriated, he behaves like a wild beast and attacks people. In one scene he is shown chasing his domestic-help when she accidentally breaks a glass. He indulges in a violent fight in the football court and beats the daylight out of an opponent. He hits the submissive Preeti. He molests women, beats up men and does not face any repercussions for his actions.
Women are treated barbariously in this movie. Kabir threatens a woman to undress at knife-point. The way he chases his house-help, a middle-aged woman, was disturbing to watch. Preeti is never asked what she wants. Preeti’s character and plight are plain infuriating – she has no friends and is bullied by Kabir and her family all at once. She is merely a toy in the hands of Kabir. Even the actress with whom Kabir gets into an open relationship is treated harshly as the man seems to be devoid of all compassion and humanity.
Kabir’s friend, Shiva, asks him to marry his sister and live a settled life for he says he cannot see his friend in such a deplorable state. Is Shiva not at all concerned about his sister’s life and wellbeing? Despite being well acquainted with Kabir’s brutal and aggressive demeanour, he wants him to marry his sister as if she were a lamb to the slaughter. There is no question about his sister’s agency and consent. The women characters are treated as being subservient to men and only satisfying the male ego.
This movie’s central character cannot be called a ‘hero’ as he reeks of toxic masculinity.
Why does Preeti seem to be devoid of any life? This meek woman, with her ever-weepy look, appears to be infatuated with her abuser as opposed to being in a respectful relationship of equals. During her first interaction with Kabir, she is kissed without her consent. Kabir plucks her from the classroom for tutoring her himself, shifts her into the Boys’ Hostel to ‘protect’ her and he does all this without even asking her. He threatens her to leave her family and gives her an ultimatum to be with him in six hours without even caring about what she goes through at home.
Since patriarchal conditioning runs deep in our social psyche, this movie is greatly admired by a considerable section of the audience, especially men. It inflates the male ego to see women without agency. When such thoughts are fed into society, it gives rise to misogyny and feeds the idea of women as disposable – to do with as they please. It is extremely disturbing to see the hype created by such a movie. How can people accept such a misogynist creature for a ‘hero’? Kabir Singh is definitely not a representative of masculinity.
Despite Shahid Kapoor’s unquestionable performance, this movie’s central character cannot be called a ‘hero’ as he reeks of toxic masculinity which is presented under the garb of a long-suffering man dealing with anger management issues. In short, this movie glorifies toxic masculinity, abusive relationships and advocates male chauvinism.
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