Is everything fair in love?

I

Dear Kiara/Preeti,

I watched Kabir Singh and have a lot of questions for you. First, let me share my experience: The first scene of the football wasn’t over yet when I wanted to leave the theatre. At that time, it was curiosity that may be this movie will not end like Arjun Reddy. Half way through the film, my friend asked if I wish to leave the movie, I said yes, but I also want to see the girl stand up for her’self’.

Honestly, I should have left the theatre with that hope in my heart. Because at the end, what I see is you asking him how he managed without you. Well….what shit, girl! At what point did you dump your self-respect? It’s fine you left the house and your marriage. It’s fine you wanted to raise his child. But why did you leave your education? And why accept a person who gave you just 6 hours to convince your parents and then slapped you for asking more time? Did he have the time and patience to convince his own parents and then yours? What made you think a person who cannot take responsibility of his own actions can take a responsibility of a baby?

What kind of childhood would your baby get in the company of such an abusive father who doesn’t think twice before slapping or cursing the love of her life to damnation? If you’ve been paying attention to how everyone was so scared of him in the campus, you’d know that he’s a ticking time bomb and his anger can be triggered by just about anything. It’s fine, you liked a bad boy, but girl, you weren’t able to mellow him down as well. Instead, you became the next cause for this rebel-not-without-a-cause to get more violent. I’m not going to ask questions to how he grew up to be so aggressive, violent, and abusive, because that’s how most men in our country are raised – with a fake sense of entitlement. I’m going to ask you sister, the woman who grew up in such an environment and never felt the need to ask questions.

Forgive me, you did a question which was also the first full sentence dialogue of yours in the movie: Kabir, tumhe mujhme kya achha lagta hai? After that, nothing.

Now, let me highlight how he has no respect for any woman.

He first marks you as his territory without your knowledge. Then, he makes you sit with a chubby girl and collectively disrespects you both by fat shaming and judging your intelligence with your looks. Next, he kisses you, apparently without your consent. Then, he kidnaps you from the class and takes you to teach the anatomy of a hand. One lecture. Well, what about the rest of them?

He slaps you, sleeps with you, yells at you, then slaps you and curses you. And you let him get away with that?

Let me tell you what he was doing in his so-called grieving period.

He was yelling at his own grandmother, fighting with his brother, and friends who were trying to help him. He almost attempted a rape at knife-point because the girl changed her mind at the last moment and denied him sex. He was chasing off his house-help for breaking a glass accidentally. These scenes got loud hoots and claps and what not. At any point in your love story, did you feel this is normal? Or that you deserve this menace? You were going to be a doctor for god’s sake and who did you become – Kabir Singh ki bandi?! Bandi, his prisoner.

Are you innocent? Can you not take a stand?

Well, you can. I saw that in a scene where you go to meet Kabir in his new campus, apparently orthodox and where he can’t be a goon anymore, and ask him to kiss you then and there. And guess what? You get it. So, you are not incapable of taking a stand. But, you are incapable of sticking to your decision for long. And I have a problem with that as it propagates the idea that women are weak and can be manipulated easily.

What I wished to see in the movie was the you taking a stand for yourself, teaching this guy a lesson, reporting him to the police, shooting him in the head. Or better, not giving a fuck about him at all. Your desire, your passion for someone can never justify your or the other party’s abuse and disrespect.

Early on in the movie it is established that he doesn’t understand the concept of consent, but do you? Everything is not fair in love. Abuse is not fair. Emotional torture is not fair. The fact that he was a brilliant student and surgeon doesn’t mean that he can ask for sex on a knife-point. By the end, I was not even feeling sorry for you.

Kabir Singh is an alcoholic, maniac, irrational person and a criminal in a white coat disguised as self-destructive romantic from a cultured background. And Preeti Sikka is an untreated patient of Stockholm Syndrome!

All the best for your married life, Preeti! You are going to need it.

As a review

Did Shahid do justice to an obsessive, privileged person who just never learned to take rejection? Yes. Did you do justice to a girl whose identity depended on the men in her life? Yes. Did the film do justice to those who subscribe to a similar ideology? Yes! But in a country where we should be teaching people how to take rejection and move on, how not to distort a woman’s face and life with acid, how to understand the meaning of consent, did this movie do justice to that country? Fucking NO!!

It’s true that people like Kabir Singh exist in our society and cinema being a reflection of it, can portray such a ‘passionate’ love story. However, I’d love to see the story from a woman’s perspective. Nobody asks the girl how she managed, or whether she wanted to be with him in the first place.

I’m sure, neither Kiara Advani nor Shahid Kapoor would want to raise their kids (girls) to become lovers of men like Kabir Singh.

Also, I do not see any character arc in either of the two lovers. They start as a couple of aggressive and meek and end that way. The girl never stood up for her ‘self’, never created her own identity, has zilch for friends and the boy never stopped abusing his close ones and disrespecting boundaries. This is no writing, no art. It is a pompous, unabashed celebration of toxic masculinity.

All in all, the movie was an uncomfortable watch, just like Tere Naam was.

About the author

Mansi Laus Deo

A fan of flaws, an admirer of indomitable grit, and a mess of this universe. Once authored a lesser-known poetry collection, Tinted Glasses, I pause to breathe in moments and turn them into my stories.

2 comments

Leave a Reply to Dolly Singh Cancel reply

  • The portrayal of the female lead( Although, it is hard to tell if she is a lead) mirrors the expectations of most of the men when it comes to a life partner/Girlfriend.

    • Indeed! And seeing that not just on screen in a theatre, but witnessing it in the hoots and claps of the audience is what scared me to bits – that we are living amongst them and this movie just validated their toxicity.

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