Kabir Singh Review: A Flawed yet Impactful Love Story
Kabir Singh (Shahid Kapoor) does not believe in being a rebel without a cause and he is proud to tell this to his college’s dean (Adil Hussain) when he is asked to handover an apology letter and undergo a month’s suspension following a skirmish in the midst of an inter collegiate football match. But Kabir refuses to listen to the dean and is prepared to leave the medical college despite being just a few months away from his graduation. He believes that he has done nothing wrong for which he needs to apologize and instead is happy to put his career at risk. But just as even the mightiest of fires can be tamed easily by a spring of water, Kabir’s burning rage is also defused within seconds; all it takes is just a glimpse of a fresher on campus, the seemingly shy Preeti Sikka (Kiara Advani). With these few scenes it’s more than apparent what writer-director Sandeep Reddy Vanga has set out to do, attempt a faithful adaptation of his Telugu smash hit, Arjun Reddy but ensure that the Hindi audience finds a clear connect.
There’s absolutely no change in terms of the plot, we see Mangalore in the original film being replaced by Delhi over here. Kabir is a house surgeon and the topper of his medical college who is popular on campus but also notorious due to his anger management issue. Kabir falls in love with a fresher on campus, Preeti and soon she reciprocates his feelings too (in a fashion that may not convince everyone). Over the next few years they go on to make the best of a long distance relationship, whereby we see Kabir finishing his masters and Preeti finishing her graduation. Just when they feel that it’s now the right time to take their relationship to the next level, in comes trouble in the form of Preeti’s father who is dead against their relationship. With Preeti getting married to somebody else, Kabir plunges himself into work and also goes into a self-destructive phase, which sees him becoming an alcoholic and a recluse of sorts. What happens from thereon is not something hard to guess even if you haven’t seen Arjun Reddy, but Sandeep Reddy Vanga utilizes nearly three hours to take us through this tale.
From the very beginning it is very clear that Sandeep has set out to remain as honestly close to the original film as possible. The writing thus is just an extension of his earlier work, the dialogues by Siddharth-Garima, helping in the process, especially to polish the character of Kabir Singh. But this brings with it not just the positives from the original film, but also the same issues too. You could question yourself whether one has to take such a misogynistic stand or not while watching the film and that is quite a natural feeling to have. But then what’s also interesting about the film are the characters, especially the super flawed Kabir and an equally flawed Preeti. Also while this is not the first and not the last to feature a protagonist going into a self destructive phase (remember films like Dev D and Rockstar?), it is this aspect that brings in an element of difference to the proceedings. Yes the developments in the second half do appear stretched at times, but thankfully Sandeep manages to keep the audience engaged by and large.
The music works as a huge advantage for the film, the songs as well as the BGM turning out to be very effective. In terms of performances, not many from the supporting cast manage to leave a strong impact thanks to limited screen presence and this includes veterans like Suresh Oberoi (Kabir Singh’s father) and Adil Hussain. Arjan Bajwa is pretty effective as Kabir’s elder brother while Soham Majumdar as Shiva, the best friend of Kabir is a good find. Kiara Advani is seen in a very subtle avatar over here, getting relegated to the sidelines for a major part of the second half but it’s still something that would get her attention. Shahid Kapoor brings on board the desired spunk and energy that was needed, after all be it Arjun Reddy or Kabir Singh, these films would just not work without a charismatic protagonist and here Shahid once again reminds us that he is indeed a fantastic actor who hasn’t always been lucky with his choice of projects.
Kabir Singh is not a film without issues; it has its fair share of them indeed. But while it’s a film that one may like or dislike strongly, it’s just not something that one may end up ignoring.
Sandeep Reddy Vanga makes a faithful adaptation of Arjun Reddy with Kabir Singh and gets the benefit of having a leading man who does great justice playing the flawed protagonist in style.