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Shahid Kapoor on Kabir Singh Criticism: It's So Hypocritical, Who Are We to Judge Characters?

As Kabir Singh completes one month in the theatres, Shahid Kapoor for the first time addresses the criticism surrounding his portrayal in the movie.


Updated:July 24, 2019, 10:09 AM IST
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Shahid Kapoor on Kabir Singh Criticism: It's So Hypocritical, Who Are We to Judge Characters?
As Kabir Singh completes one month in the theatres, Shahid Kapoor for the first time addresses the criticism surrounding his portrayal in the movie.

When Kabir Singh opened to much criticism last month, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga addressed the controversy surrounding its “deeply problematic” and “misogynistic” protagonist, played by Shahid Kapoor. But Kapoor himself remained mum on the subject. Now, with a little distance, the actor is confronting the controversy. “I’m sure people must be wondering the film has become a blockbuster now so why would I care about what people say or think?”

As Kabir Singh completes one month in the theatres, Kapoor for the first time addresses the criticism in an interview with Bollywood Hungama.

“‘Who are we to judge characters?’ ‘Why do we judge characters?’ That’s so hypocritical. When you see people in Hollywood do these things, you say, ‘Wow, so brave!’ But somebody does it out here; ‘How dare you?’ Have same standards,” Kapoor said in the video interview.

Kapoor said he chose to remain silent on the whole hullabaloo because he wanted to “use this opportunity as an experiment and see whether the film could brave this storm.”

Many blasted Kabir Singh for “glorifying” toxic masculinity and “normalising” violence against women. Singer Sona Mohapatra called Kapoor out for portraying a role that was “deep-rooted in misogyny and patriarchy”.

However, Kapoor said that he didn’t think his character had any problem other than anger management.

“He only has one problem and that is anger management. There is nothing else wrong with Kabir. When he gets angry he messes everything up—whether it is the love of his life or family or career or best friend. Otherwise there are a lot of positive qualities in the character,” he added.

In an interview with Film Companion, Vanga had justified Kabir slapping his girlfriend, Preeti (Kiara Advani) in the movie, saying, "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."

He also opined the women who had said they were uncomfortable with the scene, had not experienced real love.

Talking about the particular sequence in the movie, Kapoor said, “‘So, if Kabir hadn’t slapped Preeti, would it be okay for everything else that he did?’ Because he slapped the girl you feel that is unacceptable and therefore Kabir is an unacceptable character. We want you to feel that this is unacceptable and his behavior has gone beyond control. That is why the entire second half of the film is about his fall. He is peeing in his pants in the interval of the film.”

Many pointed out that Kabir didn’t suffer enough for his actions in the movie, as the film ends on a happy note with him getting the love of his life.

To which, Kapoor said, “‘Who is anybody to decide that?’ My question is: ‘Did he suffer?’ Lot, less or more that’s completely their point of view, if somebody feels that Kabir should have suffered more then aap picture bana lo (you make the movie yourself). Stop reviewing and start making the film then we’d get an opportunity to review your film.”

Kapoor further drew parallels between Kabir and Ranbir Kapoor’s character in Sanju, saying, they both had all the same problems.

Citing two sequences from Sanju, wherein Ranbir Kapoor, who plays Sanjay Dutt in the yesteryear actor’s biopic, tells Anushka Sharma’s character he has slept with over 308 women, and hangs a toilet seat around his girlfriend Ruby’s (Sonam Kapoor) neck, Kapoor said, “I loved it because that is the headspace of the character and therefore his behaviour cannot be constructed and restricted. He needs to do what he needs to do. You can choose to say, ‘I hate this guy’.”

He added, “If you need to be hated as a character you must play it. There’s no rule that a character has to only be the villain of a film. He is a character. He could be the protagonist or the antagonist. You can walk out saying, ‘I hated that guy,’ and I’ll take that as a compliment because that means my performance was so bloody good that you actually hated him because I wanted you to hate him at some point.”

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