Two days after Kabir Singh director Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s interview to film critic Anupama Chopra of Film Companion raised a hornest’s nest, the director who has in many ways, proved a game changer in both Telugu and Hindi cinema with Arjun Reddy and its remake Kabir Singh, came to his own defence. Sandeep Vanga angered many people when he stated his bizarre definition of ‘love’.
Firstly, he dismissed the criticism against his film by terming it ‘pseudo’. The director was heard saying, “I feel it's pseudo because...you know...when you're deeply in love, deeply connected with a woman and vice versa, there's a lot of honesty in it. And if you don't have that physical demonstration of...if you don't have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don't see anything there.”
The justification of ‘slapping’ as a form of love got him further flak. But Vanga stands by what he says. In an interview with this writer Sandeep says his vehemently aggressive interview was tampered with. “Sentences were edited out, so that I came out sounding much harsher than I had actually sounded while saying it. You heard me saying things that sounded shocking. But what I said before or after some of those shocking quotes were missing.”
Sandeep who justified the protagonist’s violence against his girlfriend in Kabir Singh maintains that violence is an essential part of love. “When you are in love your emotions are unfiltered. You don’t have to pretend to be anything. That’s what love is about. Too much is being made about the slapping scenes in Kabir Singh as if that is all there is to the relationship.”
Sandeep says he has no intention of filtering his emotional responses in his next film. “That won’t be me then. It would be someone else . I will only make the films that I want to make, speak the language that comes from my heart. I can’t fake it.”
Another point that rankled many was his dismissal of critics and their opinions, particularly his remarks against well-known reviewer Rajeev Masand. Regarding his reference to Masand as “fat”, Sandeep counter-questions, “Isn’t he fat? He ripped my film into shreds. I didn’t know who he was. Later I was told he is an influential critic. I’d not like to speak about him. I’d rather talk about this female reviewer from the South who took her 14-year old daughter to see Arjun Reddy. And they both enjoyed the film together. Please don’t name her. She will be trolled for supporting my film. It isn’t fashionable for women to admit they liked my film.”
Watch the interview with Film Companion founder Anupama Chopra here: