Kabir Singh (2019) Movie Review: Why Kabir Singh is an awful movie (And it’s not just because it normalizes sexism and toxic masculinity!)

‘Kabir Singh’ is one of the most controversial movies that came out in 2019. It garnered a lot of mixed reviews and became a topic of many online debates. Though I heard a lot of terrible things about it, most people were defending the movie with all their might! So I had to check it out just to know what the fuss was all about.

Now, I don’t have any problem with people who loved or hated this movie. To each their own. For me, it was just another typical Bollywood movie. But I want to point out the obvious bullshit that this movie is trying to sell by calling it a “Love Story”. If you are open to listening to different points of view, even though you might not agree with it, please read on!

Here is my take on why I think “Kabir Singh” is a terrible movie:

It has nothing new to offer.

The film uses all the regressive Bollywood tropes under the sun. A hot guy gets smitten with a pretty girl without even interacting with her or knowing her name. The girl with no backstory just exists for the guy. The guy keeps invading the girl’s personal space. The guy and girl fall in love at the end of a romantic song! Their parents don’t approve of their relationship and they have to part. The guy gets obsessed with the girl and becomes self-destructive. They overcome the conflict and end up together.

The main female character Preeti has sexual desires, which is great! But that alone does not make a female character strong. She has no personality. She doesn’t even speak for most of the movie, makes dumb decisions and never takes a stand when it’s needed. I think it’s very symbolic of Kabir naming his dog “Preeti”.

Oh, wait! There is one thing this movie doesn’t have. A freaking item song! I have to give it to them. They relied on Shahid Kapoor’s acting and a crappy story, but the movie still turned out to be a hit! I’m sorry for being harsh on Bollywood. This sums up my relationship with Bollywood:

Kabir Singh is not flawed; he is bad.

There is nothing wrong with writing a story with a flawed main character. Flaws make a character more human and compelling. We love the characters for the transformation they go through during their journey. The characters start as someone with imperfections, conflicts, and obstacles to overcome. They end up becoming the better version of themselves or sometimes; the opposite happens.

Here, Kabir faces no serious consequences for his actions. He is a privileged, entitled, arrogant, spoilt brat who acts like he owns the world. At the end of the movie, he is the same person, if not worse! Kabir expresses no remorse for drinking on duty and putting the lives of patients in danger. In fact, he admits how proud he is that he performed many surgeries in an inebriated state but killed no patient.

He never admits or apologizes for leaving Preeti and getting high because he wasn’t capable of dealing with the situation. Everyone in the movie keeps blaming Preeti for leaving him, but no one calls him out on the fact that he ran away when there was a conflict. He doesn’t apologize to his friend Shiva for treating him badly or his parents for putting them through hell.

It romanticizes a toxic relationship.

A healthy relationship is a connection built on mutual trust, respect, honesty, good communication, and many other things. It takes time and patience. In this movie, the two characters just look at each other, fall in love, and begin a relationship. The romance seems so rushed and contrived.

Resorting to physical violence, punishing and manipulating each other, never holding oneself accountable are signs of an unhealthy relationship. The movie never addresses these issues. Instead, it portrays deplorable action as acceptable behaviour.

There is no happy ending.

The breakup devastates Kabir, so he turns to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and other stuff to numb his pain. He develops an addiction that costs him his job, family, and house. Then his grandma dies, and he gets rid of all his bad habits and gets accepted by his family again! Did you not feel like this was so easy?

It was easy because of Deus ex machina.

It is an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel. I don’t like this technique as I feel it’s too easy, but it doesn’t work for this movie. Letting the conflict resolve naturally would have made the story so much more believable.

If getting rid of alcoholism, drug addiction, anger management issues was easy, people wouldn’t need medical intervention, rehabs, support groups, therapy, counseling. Some people can do it on their own provided they have strong willpower. Getting over an addiction isn’t a quick and easy process. You can’t run away from your problems and expect them to go away. That’s not how real life works.

Here’s a great article about addiction if you want to learn more- Addiction

Bad influence on impressionable youth.

I heard people defending this movie by saying that they don’t get influenced to kill people after watching a guy commit violence. The reason might be that some people are mature enough to distinguish right from wrong or they can’t relate to their situation. I’ll give you an example. We know that the movie “John Wick” that features lots of violence is entertaining and we don’t take it seriously.

John Wick is a badass, and he is invincible. You can’t relate to him or his backstory. Watching him take down guys is fun, but you can’t see yourself in him. They portray Kabir Singh and Preeti as normal people who go to college, have friends, and fall in love. These are the characters you can relate to, and that’s why they have the power to influence you.

I grew up watching Bollywood and I can’t deny the influence it had on my life. It distorted my views on love and relationship until I was old enough to know better. Having a crush and calling it love, guys stalking girls they like, guys and girls ruining their lives because of a breakup are things many people go through. What we consume affects us so we should be careful of what we take in.

Verdict

The things I heard about this movie like the main character holding a knife and telling the woman to strip, kissing a woman without consent sounded objectively bad. Yet I watched it with an open mind. I’m sad to say that the context and content couldn’t justify the argument that the main character was flawed.

I can see the appeal of this movie on a surface level, but I don’t agree with the romanticization of toxic relationships and behavior. Most people watched the movie just for entertainment and that’s fine. I just hope I get to see a movie that deals with such a controversial topic correctly.

Anyway, what did you think of the movie? Was I too harsh or was my criticism valid?

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I'm an introvert, agnostic-atheist, insatiable reader, fitness enthusiast, daydreamer, music-lover, cat-adorer, eternal optimist with a touch of cynicism, curious soul, annoying preacher, OCD for cleanliness with a teeny affinity for messiness!