Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani
Director: Sandeep Vanga Reddy
What’s it about:
It’s an official remake of Telugu hit Arjun Reddy. A young medical college topper, who becomes a surgeon par excellence, but not before wasting his life away over an obsessive, self-destructive love at first sight. This man needs help.
Womanising, bullying, fighting, addictions of all kind – no vice is off limits for our hero Kabir Singh (Shahid Kapoor) who is a man on a mission. Mission to screw his life up in every way possible. Yet looking suave and dapper enough at all times for girls to fall head over heels for him. It’s 2019, but we see Delhi’s top medical college function like some primitive patriarchal society. Here men call the shots and the college topper is a rowdy man-child who can get away with almost anything (including half murders). He stakes claim on a junior Preeti (Kiara Advani), the minute he sees her and she meekly follows him everywhere with her head down at all times. She has no power to veto anything. He can pull her out from a class, her own hostel room and kiss her in full public view. He continues to court her until she too falls for him (like she had a choice). But their love is not just all lust. They want to solemnise it with shaadi, but the problem is ladki ka baap. Another man in her life who proudly announces, “meri beti ki shaadi mera sapna hai…main jisse chahu uske saath iska byah karaunga,” and the girl (read doormat version 2019) surrenders again. This is the biggest conflict in Sandeep’s story that makes his protagonist mess his life completely.
Shahid Kapoor is in top form portraying the toxic male entitlement of Kabir Singh with full gusto. The conviction in his performance is in what makes Kabir Singh entertaining. Kiara Advani, on the other hand, has precious little to do and she actually does precious little in terms of performance. Rest of the cast is an accessory to the massive excesses of Shahid’s character.
Kabir Singh’s extreme and wayward behavior can be discomforting for many. And the film is just too long for its own good. Thankfully, the music is soothing and blends well with the narrative. Apart from Shahid’s rock solid performance, it’s also the realism that keeps you invested in the character. Because ultimately, to like Kabir Singh the film you have to like Kabir Singh the character. The film is only as good or as bad as Kabir Singh himself.