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The upcoming Tamil remake of Arjun Reddy a.k.a. Kabir Singh goes on to show you just what sells in our country – Toxic masculinity! Hence it makes perfect business sense to the irresponsible makers of these movies.
As if neither Arjun Reddy nor Kabir Singh was enough, Kollywood decided to trample upon women with another misogynist giant – Adithya Varma. Doesn’t it make you wonder how pathetically insensitive the public is? That despite the toxicity these movies propagate, people are actually waiting for it!
Merely the trailer of Adithya Varma has reached 14 million views and is on its way to more! Though the movies did get a lot of criticism for glamorising misogyny and toxic masculinity, they are still being produced. Let us look upon the facts that has made these kind of movies so popular and influential.
Firstly, the things that went wrong in Kabir Singh. It is not only Kabir, but Preeti’s (aka the Beloved) character has also been greatly unjustified. As a conflict to Kabir’s violence, Preeti is a quiet and demure MBBS student who has accepted her identity to be his “bandi”.
Kabir kisses her without her permission, decides her friend and roommate for her, makes her skip classes and gives her private educational sessions. And then, he also decides that she will move in with him after she injures her foot. Through every decision of Kabir, Preeti surrenders herself to him. Because after all, director Sandeep Vanga had to please the audience and present a sanskaari woman on screen. Her limited dialogues helped her look even more docile.
Now comes the physical assault part. Kabir slaps her and gives her an ultimatum of six hours to convince her parents to let them get married. We might hope that the scatter-brained girl’s blinds would be lifted but that’s not the case. In the next scene, we see her angrily accounting her sex life to her family which is her resort to make them agree to her relationship with Kabir.
Bollywood has, for ages, portrayed such dysfunctional male leads. However, never has the protagonist’s misogyny glorified to this extent and the female character this idiotic. Movies like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge, Dabangg, Kya Kool Hai Hum 3, Tere Naam, Phata Poster Nikla Hero and a long list have patriarchy at its peak.
The major flaw in them is that, they cast men as ambitious, with leadership skills, rational, protective and strong. At the same time, women are supposed to be emotional, nurturing, submissive, weak and indecisive, or in other terms, “feminine”.
Now you must be intrigued to know why such movies are produced despite the criticism they get and the toxicity they propagate. The brooding aggression leading to violence and self – destruction has been one of the traits that the viewers have chased throughout years. Stalking, disregarding a woman’s “no” and objectifying women is the recipe to blockbuster movies.
Within two weeks of its release, Kabir Singh was close to the Rs. 200 crore mark, a mega-hit. And the reason? Kabir Singh’s portrayal of true and raw love. In Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s words, “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.”
Maybe what Vanga tried and the thing that impressed the viewers is an unconventional love story with a protagonist that aims to break free of the traditional shackles imposed upon couples. And at the end of the movie, the guy gets the girl.
The ending is what ties the entire movie together in a big red flag. Our Indian viewers are a sucker for romantic movies since Raj Kapoor’s time. And in a country where women are simply not accepted as humans, this movie, with its upcoming twin Adithya Varma is the perfect excuse for patriarchy to continue its reign.
Whether it’s Arjun Reddy or Kabir Singh or Adithya Varma, men and women do get influenced by what they watch. This results in the promotion of women’s oppression and verbal and physical abuse.
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An English literature student with a love for reading and writing, and who chills tucked
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