Kabir Singh, director Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s Hindi remake of his Telugu hit Arjun Reddy in Hindi is romance on steroids. After Aashiqui 2, Kabir Singh happens to be that rare story of star-crossed lovers which leaves you moved despite the predictable story and outcome.
Kabir, a medical student meets Preeti a fresher to the college and its love at first sight for Kabir. He is besotted with the dainty Preeti, smitten enough to plant a kiss on her cheeks early on without even seeking her permission. Very quickly he declares her as “his girl” to the entire college and takes control of her entire life, transforming into mentor and protector. Kabir undoubtedly is a problematic character reprised and modelled along the film heroes of yore, the kind who would persist and refused to take no for an answer. Because back in the good old days, a ‘no’ actually meant a ‘yes’ or a ‘maybe’. Of course, the same doesn’t hold true anymore and therefore one can understand the outpouring of shock and horror at the antediluvian misogyny showcased in the film.
With his anger issues, and an obsessive streak Kabir’s is most certainly a problematic character but his unredeemable flaws also make him extremely intriguing and therefore fascinating. He is more Devdas than a modern, genteel artist; hell-bent on self-destructing because he can’t have what the heart desires.
Shahid Kapoor’s transformation into Kabir, especially when he degenerates into a manic, unpredictable rage is impressive. In his turn as the obsessive crazy lover, Kapoor reminds us of what a fine actor he has turned out to be. Kamini Kaushal, Suresh Oberoi, Arjan Bajwa and Soham Majumdar (as his friend Shiva) make for a great supporting cast to Kapoor and help immensely in adding the emotional heft required for this film. Kiara Advani as Preeti does well in a role that is a foil to the turbulent Kabir. Preeti is as submissive as Kabir is volatile and it works in favour of the story
The clever writing by Reddy and his team coupled with slick editing does not allow the tempo to slacken even for a bit and the background score along with the soulful songs only add to its appeal. A particular scene in the college where freshers lined up for ragging are being asked to undress, was as well-crafted as it was entertaining. In fact, whether it’s the testosterone-laden football match or the collective excitement in the campus about the passionate romance brewing between Preeti and Kabir, the campus shenanigans are refreshing and capture the pulse of college life rather well.
Reddy’s direction is impressive. He knows his material well and keeps it on a tight leash, never skipping a beat. Let’s face it, the love story genre is well loved but it is also one of the toughest to crack. Reddy despite a brooding despairing protagonist takes things many notches higher and makes it one helluva trippy ride.