Vijay Deverakonda as Arjun Reddy and Shahid Kapoor as Kabir Singh.
Vijay Deverakonda as Arjun Reddy and Shahid Kapoor as Kabir Singh.

Vijay Deverakonda defends Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Kabir Singh comments: ‘Maybe he was in a relationship where they abused each other’

Vijay Deverakonda has defended his Arjun Reddy director Sandeep Reddy Vanga over his recent, controversial comments regarding Kabir Singh’s depiction of toxic masculinity.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2020 06:03 PM IST

Actor Vijay Deverakonda has defended his Arjun Reddy director Sandeep Reddy Vanga after the filmmaker was accused of glorifying toxic masculinity in his film Kabir Singh. Vanga landed in another soup after he defended himself against the accusations, and seemingly condoned violence in the name of love. He later said that his quotes were misrepresented.

Speaking about the controversy, Deverakonda, who is promoting his film Dear Comrade, told journalist Anupama Chopra of Film Companion, “The kind of criticism Kabir Singh received was slightly different. I got some of this criticism but it wasn’t as articulate. But I’m okay with it. It’s completely okay to have a problem with a character like Arjun,” Deverakonda said. Critics had raised similar objections about Vanga’s first film, Arjun Reddy, upon which Kabir Singh is based. He continued, “If these people had met Arjun in their real lives they wouldn’t like him. So they don’t like him in the movie is not a problem to me.”

But despite the criticism, Kabir Singh has gone on to become the highest grossing Bollywood movie of 2019, having made over Rs 270 crore. Deverakonda continued, “If it is your film; that 250 crore comes over a period of three weeks or one month but the reviews come on day 1. So when you wake up to these reviews, it can shake you up because it’s your film.”

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Deverakonda added, “I know Sandeep. I have worked with him. For him, the story is not anti-women but about love.” Vanga had told the same thing to Anupama previously. “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,” Vanga had said.

Also read: Arjun Reddy star Vijay Deverakonda refuses to watch Shahid Kapoor’s Kabir Singh: ‘Why would I watch that film?’

Deverakonda, who’d previously said that he has no interest in watching Kabir Singh, continued, “I completely understand him and I completely understand the people who have an issue with it (Vanga’s statement). But none of us is wanting to listen to what he wants to say. Maybe, Sandeep has probably been in a relationship where he loved someone so much that they were intimate as and when they wanted or they abused each other as and they wanted or maybe they hit each other, but they loved each other and they were happy. It comes from the relationship you had as a person. It comes from your own experience, so we can’t generalise it.”

The actor continued, “What he (Sandeep) said in his way is right because for him that’s what love meant. And he absolutely respected and loved that woman, and that woman loved him back. I think we should listen to him and be OK. We’re all very unique individuals and have very unique relationships but we want everyone to be like us and believe in the beliefs that we have but it doesn’t work like that.”

Several Twitter users reacted harshly to Vanga’s 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!!”

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