Misogynist trends in Bollywood through Kabir Singh and Arjun Reddy

Despite its whopping 372 crore Box Office sales and its high audience rating, there are a number of flaws, supporting misogynism, with the protagonist and the plot in general in the recent blockbuster Kabir Singh.

The protagonist of the movie is basically an updated Devdas: loser in love, with additional anger management issues, who guzzles down bottles at the drop of a hat. His best friend, Shiva, keeps coming to his rescue and appears to have no life whatsoever. In fact, not a single character in the movie — from his college principal to his family to the hospital staff — seems to have any reason to live other than needlessly indulging a hopeless alcoholic. He spreads so much toxicity, it seems to overshadow what little personality the other characters might have.  

The entire narrative of the film is to somehow make his negativity attractive, explain it as “unusual” and have him find redemption despite his unforgivable ways. He is portrayed to be amazing at everything after all, like sports, speechwriting and even at performing surgeries when he is sloshed and coked out. 

Similarly, the protagonist in Arjun Reddy was just as misogynistic and juvenile as Kabir Singh.

In the movie Devdas, there were two famous female roles, the headstrong Paro and the graceful Chandramukhi and at least, they weren’t pushed around by the males.

In Kabir Singh, however, the woman isn’t allowed to act for herself.

It feels like she is his property. She meekly follows him around, her head always hanging.

I thought of her as a masochist as she kept allowing herself to bear with his violent ways.

One of the songs in the movie, playing over montages of them spending time together, “Tujhpe Hi to Mera Haq Hai” literally translates to “I have the right on you”. 

The storyline that revolves around these two is so mundane and almost inevitable.

I despise the way Kabir Singh orders the other women around: telling them not to wear lipstick or their scarf during their working hours in the hospital. For some reason, these ladies have fallen for him in spite of his officious ways. 

The finale is so convenient that it’s almost ludicrous. I honestly found it funny. The original film was dependent on the actor, Vijay Deverakonda playing Arjun Reddy. This film was exactly like that. You could determine whether the movie was good or bad depending on Shahid Kapoor’s acting. Kapoor was quite skillful when it came to portraying the angst and misery of the character, Kabir Singh, although the sickening male entitlement just looms at the back of my mind. 

I also found it quite gross when he would treat his housekeeper, who is a female, like trash.

When his friend Shiva suggested that he marry his sister, so that he would have some stability in life, he completely rejected his helping hand. The thing that irritates me is how Shiva was proposing on behalf of his sister without her explicit consent. Of course, the director justified this through a crush that Shiva’s sister had on Singh, but she should have had the freedom to tell that to him herself. I mean, what was the director thinking about all the women; just imagine them coming for auditions and then later having to find out that they all have the same role of being sacrificial goats for the patriarchy!

If you’re a fan of heinous, hooligan-like representations of typical Bollywood romances overlayed with the glorification of an Indian misogynistic man, I recommend this film to you.


Sanaya Mehta is a staff reporter for The Woodstocker

Edited by Jinho Yoon

Featured image from Business Today

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