Without a doubt, Shahid Kapoor’s Kabir Singh has been one of the most controversial films of the year. The debate around its lead character’s alleged misogyny, the female lead’s submissiveness and the abuse in the name of love, has not quite died down. To add to it, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s interview with Film Companion and his bizarre definitions of love, triggered further conversations on social most of which took extreme positions.
However, the movie has found an unlikely supporter – writer Kanika Dhillon who is awaiting the release of her next film, the much-talked-about Kangana Ranaut-Rajkummar Rao starrer Judgementall Hai Kya. In an interview to Film Companion founder and journalist Anupama Chopra, Kanika defends the movie and the motivations of its troubled protagonist. She admits that Kabir Singh was a film she wanted to hate, given the debates around it. “However, as I started getting deeper into the emotional journey of the character, the red flags (raised by the reviews and views) slowly disappeared. I enjoyed the film. I viewed Kabir Singh as someone who needs help. He is not perfect, he is broken does socially unacceptable things and has created a hell for himself. He was living in that hell he made for himself and I was rooting for him to get out of it,” says Kanika who has herself been credited for creating strong female characters such as Rumi (Taapsee Pannu in Manmarziyaan), Muku (Sara Ali Khan in Kedarnath) and now Bobby (Kangana Ranaut in Judgementall Hai Kya).
Kanika adds that while she understands the critics point of view, as a creator herself, she could understand the motivations of the character. She even defended Kiara Advani’s character that has come in for a lot of flak for being a mute spectator to Kabir Singh’s anger. “I don’t believe her character is uni-dimensional. If she hadn’t taken a stand I would have bought that argument (of her being submissive). But she stands up – when she gets married or when she says she didn’t want to be touched. We have different kind of people (in society). If a woman is not objecting to it, it’s her personal choice. Why does she have to fit into my definition of what an ideal woman is?” asks Kanika.
Kanika’s next film is Judgementall Hai Kya which has seen its fair share of controversies thanks to Kangana Ranaut’s run-in with a reporter. Without mincing words, Kanika admits that the controversy has left her disheartened as the conversation has moved from the film to the sparring between the leading lady and the media. “As a writer, I feel (disappointed) that it has shifted from what we have created, what the content is to the particular incident. Your work of two or three years is disregarded. But some things are not in your control.”
Watch the interview here: