Whether Kabir Singh is a good piece of cinema or not, cannot be debated properly upon, at least not without really making an attempt to dissect the female psyche. Kabir Singh is a deeply problematic character, marked by an annoying/pleasurable generosity of alcohol, violence and the alluring smoke of belligerence. One who believes in friction of bodies, and often bruising them at the drop of a hat. But that’s not the focal point of my theory.
Kabir Singh is the remake of the Telugu Blockbuster, Arjun Reddy. Both directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, are movies that have generated some genuine wave of popularity. Arjun Reddy was praised by the industry, the critics and the fans alike. Laurels for fashionable mediocrity is hardly new to us. But what’s my point? What’s all the build-up done in the preceding lines for then?
Well, it’s incomprehensible, at least to my mind, how female in general (mark the assumption), have adored Arjun Reddy so much. And similar reaction seems to be coming for the remake. Women loving Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh is a genuine paradox. The very character that stains every ounce of progress made in the struggling strides of feminism towards a more equitable society, is revered unconditionally, is fanatically cheered. Why? Do women not realise the threat that this man possesses? More on this later.
To a product of patriarchal society, like me(like us), Kabir Singh does what guys sometimes think of doing in their daydreams. I urge you, don’t get me wrong. I am all up for women empowerment. But how can I deny, that the male flesh’s itch for territory in bed and in the outside world is an actual impulse? Definitely, not uncontrollable. The unsophisticated mind perhaps revels the opportunity when it sits behind the driving wheel of any equation. Its natural instinct is to drive, and not to be driven. The male inclination towards taking off the civilized garb is but an instinct that most of us have, but wouldn’t really openly admit. But of course, all this is inside us. The Demons. Most, or at least those who care enough, however learn, to smell and take stock of these animalistic calls, or fairly speaking, are successful in not providing space and acceleration to the masculine germ. Broadly, not only this, we learn to curb our animalistic instincts throughout the course of life. However, Kabir doesn’t like to be corrected. As he says to the Dean of his Institute, to the loudest of hootings in the theatre, how he doesn’t repent his act. The act merely involves thrashing a belligerent, incompetent footballer.
Kabir is the topper of the ‘Institute, Board and University’. One of the best. However, he’s not your creature of learning- learning that involves morality, and respecting the other sex, learning the rules of life. Because he’s probably the biggest self-deceiver that you will come across(second to Salman, maybe), just like you and me, who has got his own set of commandments to live life by. A lame analogy comes to my mind, one that’s just too juicy to be not conveyed to your naughty curiosity. Have you observed old men, from the corner of your eye or brain, in the drawing hall or shopping mall, how they show a pungent aversion to being corrected, rectified or even, let’s say, taking to technology? But that’s quite reasonably understandable. After a point, one doesn’t like being taught or learning new stuff. One just wishes to see out the remaining of life. But Kabir is no old man. My sensible faculties throughout the movie cringed, and kept on wishing, the topper knew how to talk. Yes. Kabir prefers ordering to mere saying. (Don’t be like Kabir!)
Coming back to the paradox, why women are attracted by Kabir, Arjun, the pantheon of commanding men? Is there in them a lasting enigma so powerful that renders all their unpardonable acts pardonable? I have a theory on this. I believe, there’s a side to the female psyche that enjoys being loved the exact way that Kabir offers. It’s very fascinating. The female mind has long been given the totem of mystery. Standing up for the emancipation of one’s sex while admiring extraordinary machismo, is definitely one of the many fascinating instances, that goes a long way in lending credibility to the perception of the female mind as being mysterious, one that’s been constant fodder for the writers’ bloated imagination.
I see I have put across my point. But I am not convinced about how well its interpretation, if at all, will be digested by my readers. It can get a bit tricky in modern times. But movies like Kabir Singh are successfully made, a testament to the audience’s reception choices, that I hope will try to fairly judge my theory with a cool head.
After hitting the nail on its head, or at least after feeling complacent about the same, the more alluring path of meandering beckons me. Today at least, after watching Kabir Singh, I shouldn’t resist. I feel empowered with liberties now. Kabir Singh is guilty-pleasure, both the movie and the character. If you somehow keep aside your sagacious grey cells, and also all the learnings, you might actually have a party. Unintentional comedy is everywhere in the film. The incredibly incurable Kabir, played by a Shahid-ish Shahid Kapoor, and his mannerisms can soothe the dominant germ of male existence, while also appealing to the women. (Why? Read the paradox!) For a moment, I was high, a convent-educated, well-intentioned mind. (Elitist too). I wonder then, what impression a teenager in a remote village of Odisha (Read: Smart Phone Penetration) must harbor when his inchoate idea of love gets a touch from Kabir. He must go berserk! Also, Royal Enfield fans and
oblivion seekers alcohol lovers can derive some juice from this male-machismo-pulped movie.
If I omitted a kind mention of Preethi, played by Kiara Advani, an archetype of quintessential sweetness, I would be asked an explanation for it after death. She’s so dumb. But then so sweet. Personally, I am a sucker for that flicker of innocence, sometimes God so painstakingly blesses in a woman- that one quiver of an eyebrow on an unblemished milk of a face, that sends tremors through my eager heart. Kiara Advani in this movie is like that. Quiet, boring to the intellect, frustrating to the narrative, but stimulating the hell out of that peculiar male hunger- the hunger for beholding and admiring the seeming innocence in a woman. Kabir’s grandma is lovable.
I am kind of glad that at a time when doctors aren’t having the best of situations, they have this escape route. But of course, for those who can enjoy the escapism of watching a drunk surgeon operating better than the rest.
P.S: Get me a friend like Shiva!