I had decided not to watch this movie. In fact, my husband wanted to watch it but I told him I will not be able to show my face to the feminist community! So we did not watch in theatre. I sometimes watch a movie just to make fun of it (read this!) but I did not have the energy to do it for this one.
Even before watching it I shared all reviews that accused the movie of being problematic, misogynist and glorifying toxic masculinity. I was sure I would hate it.
But I decided to watch it once it was available on Netflix. Finished it in two parts because it was too long for me to sit through.
While everybody has written everything that is wrong with Kabir Singh, I wonder why nobody wrote what was wrong with Priti Sikka, and the other women in the movie. Spoiler alert.
Most dumb character. Female. Nominee 1
Preeti Sikka is a pretty, delicate little thing who opens her mouth more for kissing than speaking. She does not resist when a man she barely knows kisses her on her cheek. Why? Probably because he is handsome or maybe because she is enjoying the attention of being the love interest of this popular guy. Now, I thought that Priti may be quiet but she is still an assertive person and does what she wants. She likes Kabir Singh enough to shift to his hostel and have sex with him regularly. She even travels to another city where he is studying and forces him to kiss her publicly. Well, I guess birds of the same feather flock together! Seems she does not care about what people think after all! So far so good. Enter the parents of the girl and the drama of caste and ‘honor’ begins. Kabir and her father have a fight. Kabir gives her an ultimatum of six hours to convince her father that this is not a lust story but true love. She goes to meet him but he is drugged and unconscious and she is not able to meet him. Now this woman who seems quite bold so far, MARRIES another man the very NEXT day! Why! Even if they had locked her up (I do not think so), why did she MARRY him? Adults can choose who they like, who they have sex with and who they marry. I do not think she had sought her parents’ approval before doing any of that. So why could she not take a stand now? She was angry with Kabir Singh for giving her an ultimatum for six hours and then not being available when she went to meet him. Fine. She could have just stayed home and not married anyone else! Kabir Singh is shocked that she is married and turns into a self-destruction mode in the second half.
In the end we find out that Priti Sikka is pregnant. But this being a purane zamane ka love story, it is revealed that our pregnant heroine is ganga ki tarah pawitra because the baby is of the good old college boyfriend and not of her husband who left her three days after the wedding! She did not let him touch her at all! Why did she marry him and ruin his life? Also the husband was aware of everything and still married her. “Doesn’t he have any self-respect?” Kabir Singh asked. I would ask the same thing. He was just horny and was happy to marry a beautiful girl who he would not have access to otherwise, Kabir Singh thinks. I don’t care. What good reason did she have for marrying him!
Most dumb character. Female. Nominee 2
Jia Sharma is an actress. A celebrity. Not a struggling actress. Rich. Famous. Beautiful. She injures her leg and meets doctor Kabir Singh. She is already smiling mysteriously even in the very first scene when he is treating her. Does she find him very attractive? She asks for his number. Kabir Singh tells her about Preeti. He asks her if she could help him physically. Like no strings attached. He tells her she can think about it. They keep meeting for the next few days. I don’t even think it would be a month. She irons his clothes. Kabir’s friend tell him she must love him because she is ironing his clothes. I was thinking should I agree with him? Ironing is one of the worst chores and I never iron my clothes!! Moving on, Jia decides to make out with Kabir Singh in her car because her secretary / PA waiting outside will make sure nobody watches. She is a 26 year old celebrity I would think she could have found a place but anyway…. Right before the makeout session, she tells him she loves him!! What! Why! When! How!
Most dumb character. Female. Nominee 3
This would be a joint nomination. There are two nurses who are forever protective and supportive of Kabir Singh. They look up to him because he is an excellent surgeon. It is almost like they worship him.
Now coming to our hero. He has anger issues. He is an alcoholic. He is entitled. ‘Yeh meri bandi hai!’. He says ‘Healthy chicks and good-looking chicks are a good combination’. He makes a woman undress by threatening her with a knife. He runs after a maid to hit her.
I do not think Kabir Singh’s behavior is glorified in the movie. In fact, his downfall is shown in the second half. Everybody tells him that he has anger issues, alcohol issues, lack of patience. Everybody except the women…
Our hero has a lot of issues. But he is also very handsome. He is brilliant. He is an excellent surgeon. Bad boy. Good looks. Money. Intelligence. All the women in the movie are shown to find him irresistible! Preeti Sikka. Jia Sharma. His friend Shiva’s sister who is never shown but we hear that she likes him and would be happy to marry him, knowing everything about him! There is another woman who is again not shown but interested in him (she is referred through his friend’s clinic or something like that).
And so, my problem is not with the portrayal of Kabir Singh. It is about the portrayal of women in the movie. It is not his anger that is glorified. It is the impact he has on women that is romanticized. A lot of women loved the movie and wished that a guy would love them as much as Kabir Singh and would be willing to do anything for them. If they feel so, so be it. The boundaries in love are fluid. Obsessiveness. Possessiveness. Control. How much of it is fair in love? How much is excessive? I don’t know. But if Kabir Singh had women falling for him in the movie and in the theatres then the problem is not limited to toxic masculinity or rage or misogyny but also hopelessly romantic women falling in love with the potential for thrill (read disaster)!