Mumbai: Having always abided by the dictum of not being swayed by movie reviews as far as possible, a viewing of Kabir Singh only served to reaffirm my faith in this belief.
What was appalling was that the same publication which had raved about the Telugu original, Arjun Reddy, slammed the Hindi version.
On Twitter and other social media, both, the film and those who said they had liked it were damned. The verdict of the naysayers was: The audience is doomed if they liked the film and they deserve such execrable fare.
Till late evening on Monday, the Shahid Kapoor-starrer had raked in Rs 70.83 crore and is all set to join the Rs 100-cr-club in a few days, the entry to which had hitherto been restricted to the three Khans.
The fact is, Shahid, is neither a favourite of the film fraternity's elite, nor the critics. However, with this film, he has taken on the Khans and has ensured a fantastic public turnout single-handedly, his acting chops doing the talking.
Even more significantly, the film was not released on a public holiday like Eid, compelling audiences to watch. The simple fact of the matter is, viewers have loved the film and the ongoing World Cup cricket matches have not stopped them from going out to see it.
Most reviews have selectively dissected the violence in the film and termed it anti-woman, whereas, the truth is, it has actually showcased life on Delhi college campuses.
Over the decades, innumerable stories of revenge, stalking and violence have been reported from these campuses. Moreover, the leading lady in the story, played by Kiara Advani, reciprocates Kabir's love, which makes it a love story in the truest sense of the term. Kabir's self-destructive behaviour after their break-up has been harped upon in every review.
What about the several positive aspects in this film? Kabir's grandmother is a wise woman, who says Kabir's suffering is personal and he must go through that experience. Kabir's love for his sweetheart is unconditional and remains so till the end. He is shown to be sensitive and respectful to his senior citizen patients.
The utter outrage over this film makes one wonder, how come time and again, so many Hollywood and Bollywood offerings depicting obsessive violent streaks have been highly appreciated and gone on to acquire cult status.
To name just a few, some of them of recent: Gullyboy (in which Alia Bhatt unflinchingly breaks a bottle on the head of her rival in love), Aitraaz, (in which Priyanka stalks and tries her darndest to seduce Akshay Kumar), Darr (in which we were all rooting for Shahrukh, the obsessive lover) and Sultan (in which Salman chases Anushka Sharma till she falls for his charms).
How can one forget Ghajini, the gorefest that senselessly romanticised revenge, self-destruction and violence, though the lead character in the film is an influential person and had other means at his disposal to tackle the baddies.
As for Hollywood favourites, which did well at the box-office and continue to earn raves are Fatal Attraction, Obsessed (starring Beyonce) and Basic Instinct, to name a few.
Speaking of self-destruction, it brings to mind that renowned Dharmendra-starrer Satyakaam, which showed, how the character played by Dharmendra pursues truth to the death, literally.
However, self-destruction whether for truth, love or justice, is equally bad as it wrecks the lives of everybody in the vicinity. Kabir Singh too, shows just this.
Shahid has clearly matured as an actor and even as Kabir is on the road to destruction, he remembers to be kind and sensitive. His love is truly unconditional and holds no grudges. Kabir is both a good doctor and a bad doctor.
He sternly points out it is not okay to wear lipstick in the operating theatre and this point is being portrayed as anti-women. But the fact is there are many dos and don'ts to be observed in an operating theatre during surgery -- no alcohol and no drugs (of the cosmetic variety either) for starters.
Kabir is forcibly dragged into surgery even when he is under its influence. The one important point critics are harping upon is that Kabir is anti-woman and yet, the females in the story seem to be falling for him.
Isn't that true even in real life? And haven't films been made on characters that went on a Jack-the-Ripper spree because they were jilted by one. There are people who live by love and have died for it.
We continue to see violence on the campus, anger management issues, the negative streaks on a daily basis in society. People seem to be in a tearing hurry and react violently over small reasons. Newspapers and television channels are chockful of such stories daily, so what is wrong with art imitating life?