When Kabir Singh opened up a can of worms

When Kabir Singh opened up a can of worms
Highlights

Even as director Sandeep Vanga's film 'Kabir Singh' receives flak for promoting misogynistic behaviour, his recent comments that justify abusive relationship is drawing stark criticism

Misogyny is so deep rooted in our society that many, several of them, men, are yet to accept the concept of equality of genders.

And while the world around us is still coming in terms with the many issues plaguing women, the majority of them being domestic violence, and discrimination at all levels, and challenges in finding solutions; few comments by celebrities set a bad precedent in all already grim situation.

The film Kabir Singh's director Sandeep Vanga has already been receiving flak for his film for justifying abuse of women and the bullying nature of the hero, which many feel is setting a wrong example.

However, Sandeep has taken the controversy to a whole new level when he said in an interview with popular journalist Anupama Chopra, "When you are deeply in love and deeply connected to a woman (and vice versa), if you don't have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don't see anything there," the filmmaker had said.

Later in the same interview, posted online on Saturday, speaking about a particular scene in the film, in which Shahid's Kabir Singh physically assaults Kiara Advani's character, Preeti, he said, "She slapped him without a reason, at least Kabir had a reason to slap her. If you can't slap, if you can't touch your woman wherever you want, if you can't kiss, I don't see emotion there."

This comment of his set the twitter ablaze with many accusing him of justifying toxicity in a relationship. Some even shared a few dangerous incidents when they were abused by their partners, and wondered how physical violence can be justified in the name of love.

Closer home, Badminton player Jwala Gutta wrote on Twitter, "Movie was a movie...but justifying physical abuse?? If u love someone u have the right to slap? Gosh...this guy needs to be shown all the love without physical hurt!! Pathetic!!"

Actress Samantha Akkineni, who is quick to respond to women issues too tweeted - "Deeply disturbing (sic)."

However, there were many who supported Sandeep. Past one day, many tweets were found trolling Samantha, and calling her stand as 'Double Standards', to which she fittingly replied – "Liking the film …and disagreeing with a comment are two different things.

I loved the story of 'Arjun Reddy'... not the generalisation that love means having the liberty of slapping people around (sic)"

Singer Chinmaya Sripada, who stood bravely against the trollers when she was fighting the 'Me Too' cause also responded.

She said, "If a man is deeply connected with you - He will NEVER LAY HIS HANDS ON YOU. He will NEVER slap you. He will NEVER TOUCH YOU without your consent. Women (and young boys) have been told for aeons that being beaten up is a sign of *Love* / *Discipline*. IT IS ABUSE! (sic)"

It has always been a point of argument if films and film heroes representing, repressive, abusive and violent behaviours influence general viewers, or if everyone takes it with a pinch of salt and go by the advice – watch a film like a film.

Time and again it has however been proved that films are a major influence and film stars and demi-Gods, whom viewers emulate. Fashion, haircut, attitude – all find their way into the general audience, and you see many a behaviour influenced by the films.

While the film makers, in the face of such controversy quickly claim that their film is to caution the viewers, most of the times, the message is lost on the impressionable youth.

Like singer Sona Mahapatra demanded to know from those who were praising Shahid Kapoor's performance – 'Does the actor have no responsibility for choosing to play a part in a narrative that can set us back as a society? Is that all we have become? Creatures of ambition?'

A Telugu film has been made, 'Arjun Reddy'. It enjoyed success and has been remade in Hindi for a pan-India audience, and has turned out to be a huge hit. Despite showcasing misogyny and glorification of abuse; it struck a chord with the audience for its romantic angle and has become a huge hit.

But, in trying to justify the portrayal of the hero, Sandeep Vanga goes on to say things like – "If you can't slap, touch your woman wherever you want, I don't see emotion' and 'those who oppose have not seen true love', which are truly 'Deeply Disturbing.'

Sandeep, in an interview said that he was misquoted. He said he spoke for both sides, and that it is about liberty of expression.

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