Kabir Singh director Sandeep Reddy Vanga savaged on Twitter for controversial comments: ‘What an arrogant, sexist man’
The vitriol that was previously directed towards Kabir Singh - the character and the film - seems to have been transferred to the man behind both, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga. Twitter users have been vocal in their criticism of the filmmaker’s recent, controversial comments defending his equally controversial film, starring Shahid Kapoor.
Speaking to journalist Anupama Chopra, Vanga had defended his film against allegations of toxic masculinity, after which two of his statements seem to have hit a nerve among the public. “When you are deeply in love and deeply connected to a woman (and vice versa), if you don’t have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don’t see anything there,” the filmmaker had said. Later in the same interview, posted online on Saturday, speaking about a particular scene in the film, in which Shahid’s Kabir Singh physically assaults Kiara Advani’s character, Preeti, he said, “She slapped him without a reason, at least Kabir had a reason to slap her. If you can’t slap, if you can’t touch your woman wherever you want, if you can’t kiss, I don’t see emotion there.”
Several Twitter users have reacted to the remarks. “By promoting movies like Kabir Singh and directors like Sandeep Reddy Vanga, we are indulging a highly destructive catharsis that will hurt everyone in its path. It is not art, but abuse of cinema to normalise violence against women,” wrote Twitter user Vasudha Venugopal.
Actors Samantha Akkineni and Gulshan Devaiah also slammed Vanga’s comments. “Deeply disturbing,” Samantha wrote in an Instagram story. Badminton player Jwala Gutta wrote on Twitter, “Movie was a movie...but justifying physical abuse?? If u love someone u have the right to slap? Gosh...this guy needs to be shown all the love without physical hurt!! Pathetic!!”
Kabir Singh is a box office success, having made ₹226 crore so far, making it the biggest solo hit of Shahid’s career, the second-biggest Bollywood hit of 2019, behind Uri: The Surgical Strike.
“At one point Anupama Chopra calls Sandeep Reddy Vanga ‘Kabir’ by mistake and quickly corrects herself. Don’t think that was necessary. This is #KabirSingh we are looking at, one who thinks those who have never physically assaulted their partner have never been in love,” journalist Sayantan Ghosh wrote. “What an arrogant sexist pr**k this man #SandeepReddyVanga is! And insecure as hell. His film is a monstrous hit and yet he is rattled by what critics had to say. And no Mr. Vanga, you do not call someone fat - that’s rude, offensive, inconsiderate and very politically incorrect,” wrote journalist Aseem Chhabra.
Others also shared personal accounts of having faced violence. “An ex partner punched me in the eye to the extent that my eyes are of different shapes now,” Twitter user @FuschiaScribe wrote. “Banged my head against the car window during one fight and twisted my hand that left marks on my forearm. So don’t tell me that physical violence is a form of love. Because it isn’t.”
“I knew a Kabir Singh in college and I shudder at the thought of revisiting memories from that time of my life, all thanks to him. Didn’t think I will muster the energy to put this out but Sandeep Vanga’s interview triggered stuff even watching Arjun Reddy for context couldn’t,” wrote Twitter user Shephali Bhatt.
There were, however, also several people who sided with Vanga, and praised him for criticising Sanju in front of Anupama, whose husband Vidhu Vinod Chopra produced the film. They also appreciated Vanga’s remarks about film critics, especially Rajeev Masand and Film Companion’s Sucharita Tyagi. Sucharita took to Twitter to react to Vanga’s interview, and wrote, “In case anyone was still wondering if Kabir Singh was celebratory or cautionary, you don’t gotta wonder no more.”
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