The recent controversy about Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh movie and the following comments made by its director, the fearsome Sandeep Reddy Vanga is here to stay for sometime.
The amount of bad blood displayed out in public by celebrities like Samantha Akkineni and Chinmayi Sripada, in the eyes of Sandeep Reddy supporters is worth noticing.
The interview with Bollywood socialite and wife of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Anupama Chopra, in which Sandeep Reddy Vanga commented about the treatment Preeti got by her man Kabir stirred up this entire controversy.
Sandeep commented “If a man does not have the freedom to hit, touch and kiss his woman wherever he wants to, then it does not mean they are in true love (sic.)”
The comments of Sandeep Reddy stirred up a whole controversy in Bollywood, with critics mostly women finding it difficult to digest them.
A whole avalanche of trolls and comments started attacking Sandeep for his ‘deep misogynistic statements about love’.
Now, with the Bollywood critics Sucharitha Tyagi, Tollywood celebrities Chinmayi Sripada and Samantha Akkineni voicing their views against the director, the spat turned into an ugly one, with names being called. Sucharitha who called the movie “which made me cringe in my seat for the whole duration(Sic.)” Then came the comments of Vani Tripathi, a Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) member, who posted on her social media handle, “Will stand by take on Misogynistic Cinema and those who eulogise it belong to the tribe! It shows the mindset of the “Patriarchy” we live with! So much for those who shouted about “Freedom of Speech” you have the right to offend, I have the right to feel offended (Sic.)”
Down South, you had Samantha Akkineni and Chinmayi Sripada criticizing the movie, not on ‘the premise level’, but on ‘the idea of love’, as voiced by Sandeep Reddy Vanga. Samantha in a serious statement on her social media handle commented about Sandeep’s comments on a relationship “deeply disturbing(Sic.) ”
Chinmayi Sripada giving a reply to Sandeep Reddy’s “version of love”, opined
“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.) ”
Chinmayi wrote further “I am in love. My husband loves me to bits. He didn’t have to hit me to prove that he is. Women stay in abusive marriages because men beat them up and then help them heal from the wounds that should have NEVER been there. Kids grow up in homes like this(Sic.) ”
Immediately Sandeep came to his defense and clarified on his comments, saying ‘his ideas rI had to say what I had to say. And then they cut out portions of my comments. Now people don’t know what I said before and after those comments. The content was edited in a very wrong way so that a section of women got another chance to attack me. But I was trying to explain my protagonist’s mindset. Violence may be his way of expressing love. It’s not mine(Sic.)” He felt his comments were misconstrued and edited to serve the purposes of the ‘so-called’ critics.
Exactly what is the truth and what lies behind this frontal attack on the creative ideas of a filmmaker?
The Problem Of Hypocrisy: The Truth Behind The Attack
India is a of people who have different mindsets and views, more so when it comes to sensitive issues like woman’s safety, rape cases, etc. People who take the cudgel against Kabir Singh and its portrayal of a man who ‘picks’ his girl and starts an abusive relationship with her do not see the point. We can appreciate by taking the example of the current scenario in Indian society and a popular movie, which was a big hit and celebrated for its theme here.
What about the various rape cases reported daily in the media, both visual and print? What about misogynistic movies like Sanju, where a married woman sleeps with Sanju and asks after the job is done, “Sanju, mera mangalsutra kahaan hai? (Where is my sacred marital thread?)” How is it not a problem for them?
The true version of feminism is asking for an equal role of every opportunity to woman in tandem with a man. That does not mean one has to bear an abusive relationship. The movie Kabir Singh/Arjun Reddy portrayed a man with anger issues, who tries to satiate his sexual urges with other women but fails miserably. This is because his whole being is made of the thoughts he bears of his lover, Preeti. The intercut shots in some sequences show Arjun/Kabir remembering the lovemaking sessions they both had in the past and living with them like a fossil. This is not a misogynistic portrayal, but one of true love.
For people who call them critics finding Arjun/Kabir toxic masculinity, especially in a scene where he threatens a housewife who herself invited him to sleep with her, in a jiffy, he realises how stooped he was and backs off on hearing the husband’s call. Even in the ‘so called’ affair with the actress, he pounces on her but does not have sex, because she cries out she loves him, the word he will hear only from his lover, Preeti. Maybe people who found this problematic, do not find an iota of problem with extramarital affairs in the film world or films which glorify such things, like Sanju.
Hope semblance of the issue gets into the heads of critics and they appreciate this case with ‘creative gaze,’ towards a filmmaker.