Had problems with Kabir Singh, won’t glorify toxic behaviour in Adithya Varma, says Banita Sandhu
Actor Banita Sandhu, who plays the female lead in the Tamil remake of Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, has said that she is concerned about unfavourable criticism that the film could get, especially regarding its treatment of her character. Both Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, despite being massive commercial successes, were slammed for being misogynist.
Banita said in an interview to Film Companion that she can’t call Kabir Singh perfect because she ‘had problems with it’. But she is satisfied with how the controversial aspects of the original films were addressed in the Tamil remake, Adithya Varma, and that her character has ‘more autonomy and agency’ this time around.
She said, “I’m not going to say ‘no it’s perfect’. It’s not. There are problems with it. There are problems I had while watching that film which I addressed with the direction team before I even started. I told them I’m not comfortable with certain aspects and asked how we could make it better. Vikram sir was actually the one who pioneered the idea of giving my character more autonomy and agency and having more shots of her looking at Dhruv’s character. That’s what we tried to do and I feel very blessed that I had a team that listened to me, especially being a young actress who’s not only from outside the industry but also outside of the country.”
Adithya Varma will serve as the launch vehicle for Dhruv Vikram, son of actor Vikram. The roles were previously played by Vijay Deverakonda and Shahid Kapoor. The female leads were played by Shalini Pandey and Kiara Advani, respectively.
Banita added that she and Dhruv discussed the controversial aspects of the story and worked together to iron them out. She said, “Dhruv and I also discussed it a lot. I do understand that I have a young female following and the last thing I want to do is influence them. Actually, I also have a large young male following and again the last thing I want to do is glamorise or glorify that kind of behaviour. There’s a difference I think, in film, between telling a story and glorifying it. There’s a very fine line and I had to make sure on my part that we weren’t crossing it. Yes, he’s a toxic character and he has bad traits but there’s a way to tell that story. Like I said, I’m not in control of the final product but I know I tried my best and they listened. I have no complaints.”
She distanced herself from the gender politics of the final film and said that at the end of the day, the director is responsible for the tone. She said, “But as an actor there’s only so much (you can) control in a film. I think the audience thinks we have more control than we do. At the end of the day it’s on the director and the editor. That’s the final product. What I can do is in my scenes try to make the best of a given situation. And honestly it was such a good shoot, I was so impressed.”
Adithya Varma is slated for a November 21 release, after being pushed back from a November 8 release. Banita made her debut in Shoojit Sircar’s October, and will also be seen in the filmmaker’s Sardar Udham Singh biopic.
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