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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Nandita Das says Kabir Singh’s success ‘is indicative of societal numbness, apathy and brutal celebration of misogyny’

Nandita Das has talked about the success of Kabir Singh and what that says about us as a society.

bollywood Updated: Nov 16, 2019 20:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nandita Das believes curbing freedom of speech is not the answer. Audiences should instead be provided with more options.
Nandita Das believes curbing freedom of speech is not the answer. Audiences should instead be provided with more options.(AFP)
         

Actor Nandita Das has said that the success of Kabir Singh is a ‘celebration of misogyny’. In an interview to Huffington Post, Nandita talked about how the film’s big box office numbers are also reflective of the society we live in.

“Whether it’s a propaganda film or a regressive film like Kabir Singh, there are two ways. One, where we look inwards: can we become more discerning? Can we choose not to watch it and enable more of the same? If I don’t like a Kabir Singh, I will talk about how misogynistic that film is. I will express dissent. But at the same time, cinema is also a reflection of society. If such a film is being made and it does well, what does that say about us? The audience is complicit. Even politically, there’s a complicity in all of us if we’re letting it—whatever that is going on—happen. It’s a scary, slippery slope: in the name of freedom, we don’t want hate speeches, we don’t want propaganda, we don’t want misogyny,” she said.

 

Nandita did not mince her words when she added that Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s polarising film shows the society’s apathy. “The success is, in straightforward terms, indicative of societal numbness, apathy and brutal celebration of misogyny. The success just validates a certain male narrative where you’re okay being violent towards women,” she added.

Also read: Amitabh Bachchan shares an old letter written to him by young Abhishek, wins the internet

Nandita’s recent directorial, Manto, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the famous writer, was about the importance of free speech in a society. She, too, believes that censorship of content is not the answer. The right way, could be to provide more and varied options to film audience so they could choose better content.

“It’s a crazy parallel to make but I’ll make it nonetheless. As a mother, one of the things we’re facing now is the over-reliance of our children on gadgets. Now, if I keep telling him, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it,’ he’d want to do it even more. So you’ve got to give them alternatives that broadens their taste. So I’ve a pottery wheel he’s gotten interested in. We go to the museum. We’ll take a walk in the park. So in terms of cinema, we ought to create alternative narratives. Give people more options. That’s how you cultivate a discerning culture. When people have the ability and the choice to weigh a misogynistic film with something that isn’t, a film that shakes you up and makes you ask questions. If nothing, maybe they’ll have debate,” she said.

Kabir Singh starred actor Shahid Kapoor in the lead. He played a violent, alcoholic, heartbroken doctor, who also takes to drugs.

The film ignited a debate about romanticizing toxicity and violence in a relationship. While the film went on to become one of the biggest grossers of the year, it was also met with criticism for its hero-like portrayal of a flawed man.

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