Ever since Kabir Singh has opened its register, social media has been flooded with articles and statuses which are inherently righteous. Kabir Singh is being battered left, right and centre for being a film promoting misogyny, patriarchy, stalking, so on and so forth. Agreed. Yes, the Shahid Kapoor-starrer promotes misogyny and masochism in its rawest form, but why is it so that movies in India continue to celebrate misogyny and ultra-masochism? What’s the reason behind Kabir Singh’s rebellion-gone-out-of-hand demeanour? Why does Kabir find it so hard to get out of his cocoon even after eight months of a dead equation? Why does Kabir find it so hard to deal with alcoholism?
I am an actor-in-the-making. I am yet to become one because I feel an actor’s report card doesn’t depend on the number of theatre productions or movies he/she has done, but his capability to empathise with each and every person in and around him/her, be it in real or reel life or in books. Ten minutes into the movie and even I started judging Kabir. “What’s up with his malevolent treatment, what’s this abusive nature which he thinks is pretty cool”—these were the exact thoughts which came to my mind. But soon I donned the actor’s hat and tried to understand or rather dissect Kabir’s mindset, and I found myself in tears.
Anger issues aren’t easy to deal with. You either give in or give out and how. I have anger issues. The problem with me being, I can’t let out my anger easily, and in turn, I end up harming others or myself. And I am not proud of it. People with anger issues might come across as rebels with strong mettle, but mark my words they are the most vulnerable beings on earth. All they need is love, acceptance and a lot of empathy. I have taken after my father when it comes to my temperament. Though he will soon touch 60 and has somehow made peace with his anger issues, he was one strict dad, who dealt with anger issues in his younger days, and I have been prey to his ruthless temperament. I couldn’t decipher his behaviour for a long time until recently when I just tried to understand him.
Why do I have anger issues? I have been bullied as a kid, I have been an introvert, a mediocre student, a tomboy who gets laughed at by her male friends for being an ideal female. I have gone through a number of issues, and I realised that during my teens, I had inculcated my dad’s anger. In my growing up years, I found it hard to channelise my emotions and didn’t know how to vent out the upheavals. I would either take it out on my mum, sibling or myself. My mum would suggest that I control my anger but in vain. Immediately after a terrible outburst, I would censure myself for being impudent, and that would take the anger a notch higher. So, it ain’t that easy when you actually look into the pit. It’s a complete mess.
Now, coming to alcoholism and drugs. Kabir flaunting a fat joint while a cheesy Bollywood number plays in the background makes for a perfect entry of a desi hero. But when he blazes up a doobie every now and then, we call it promoting drug abuse after a bad break up. Agreed, drugs are no escape, but haven’t you all gone through a similar situation after a sour breakup? Instead of wearing those judgemental glasses, try to go beyond what’s there on the face. I would thank Kabir for making me understand that it isn’t easy for an alcoholic to deal with his fatalism. More than being a rebel and fighting the odds outside, an alcoholic fights the odds inside.
I have been a witness to alcoholism from close quarters and trust me; it isn’t easy. You draw yourself into a cocoon. You stop talking to people fearing that people will judge you, berate you for being who you are. You hate yourself, and you hate your poison, but then once you are poisoned you can’t get off the grid with the flick of a finger, it takes time. Such people might wear a garb of being all cool, but actually, they are dying on the inside every effing second. While penning this piece down, I accept my shortcoming as a stoic friend or family member who has been judgemental while dealing with her dear ones’ alcoholism. I have been way too harsh on my people who are and have been down with the syndrome. And today, I would like to apologise for judging them and belittling their problems.
And finally, the ones who are lambasting the makers of Kabir Singh for making a misogynistic movie, didn’t you feel titillated by Kabir, even for a second? (The question is meant for everyone.) I am a woman, 26-year-old, with my libido working fine, and I was excited by his antics. Films mirror our society, and even Kabir Singh has. Both man and woman are way more territorial than animals; some show it while the rest are too scared to show that side. Obviously, one shouldn’t intrude on his/her partner’s space. But we all have been possessive while in a relationship, a majority of us are social media stalkers, don’t you stalk your potential partners on Facebook or Insta? Why do we find it so hard to deal with stalkers on-screen? Once again, I do not promote stalking, but we all have a stalker inside us, and the day we address that, we would be able to devise a proper antidote to stalking.
Kabir Singh is just not about masochism, but it has many layers. Try to read the subtext and not the text. Try to understand the mirror image on the big screen; trust me the society will be a better place to live in.