Contributed By Sagar Ashtakoula
If there’s any film in the recent times that has redefined the definition of a cult movie in the Telugu Film Industry, it has to be Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s directorial debut Arjun Reddy starring Vijay Deverakonda and Shalini Pandey. When it comes to Telugu Film Industry, there were a few films that had set the path for other films and filmmakers to follow. Some of those films include Shiva, Pelli Chesukundam, Pokiri, etc.
With an entirely different take on love and life, Arjun Reddy has all the reasons to be considered a cult classic for generations to come. But, when Sandeep did try to make the same film in Bollywood, probably to take his idea of love to a much wider audience, the response was not quite unanimous as he would have liked.
The Hindi-version of Arjun Reddy, title Kabir Singh, opened to a raging response at the box-office and many people had declared it as the career-best performance of Shahid Kapoor, who portrayed the protagonist and his attitude extremely well on-screen. Box-office wise, both the versions in Telugu and Hindi did give profits to the producers and distributors alike and it became one of the most profitable films.
But, unlike the critics in Telugu who praised the filmmaker’s depiction of love on-screen, the well- celebrated critics in Hindi slammed the film for its ideology of love. Some of them even went on record stating that this film would be dangerous to society and there should be more vigilance over certain films.
Now, while watching Kabir Singh after almost two years of the release of Arjun Reddy, the response in the theater was quite different from its Telugu version. There were a few disagreeing reactions from the audience while watching some scenes especially in the one where Kabir slaps Preethi. Till then, everything seemed sweet on-screen and those in the audience who hadn’t watched Arjun Reddy were in a state of shock as to why he had to slap her irrespective of whatever the situation might be.
Even though there was an explanation given to it by Sandeep during one of his interviews after the release of Kabir Singh, people had started taking sides and the justification given by the film-maker had lost its way amidst varying reactions from people on social media.
Now, before its release in Telugu, there were some people in the twin states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana who objected to the release but after the film was certified with an “A”, it was left for the audience to decide. The same thing cannot be said about Kabir Singh and the reactions, especially from the critics were extremely adverse when compared with the Telugu version.
Let us try and understand the reasons behind this.
1) The main reason people and critics in Telugu loved Arjun Reddy was because of its unapologetic take on certain nuances of life, especially relationships. Added to that was the charming popularity of Vijay Deverakonda who was riding high with the success of his previous film, Pelli Choopulu. His transformation into the skin of Arjun Reddy was liked by every section of the audience.
2) Also, with the film’s writing being raw and close to the discussions people have in real life, most of them got connected to the conversations between Arjun and his friend, Shiva. This is one of the unique and stand-out points in Arjun Reddy. Shiva’s character was the result of top-notch writing and it flowed quite naturally with the audience watching in the theater.
So, with these reasons, Arjun Reddy was liked by everyone. Now, let’s go to Kabir Singh. By the time reviews were out for Kabir Singh, the audience had given their verdict and across all the centers, it garnered a block-buster talk.
While giving their review of the film, many critics solely focused on how Kabir Singh was excused for all he did in his life and had a happy ending. And also, the film-maker was largely criticized for writing the heroine’s characters so poorly as she barely spoke throughout the length of the film.
Even though they seemed to be valid in their own right and when one watches the film after listening or reading any Bollywood critic’s review, there might be a few agreements and few disagreements on how they perceived the motion picture.
All in all, the film did manage to create this thundering rage, especially among youth in both the versions, but the debate of how a character could be shown never happened and whenever it seemed like someone is going to raise a logical debate on the film’s characters, it didn’t end with a proper answer and even the critics were not able to generalize the concept of this film and gave a genuine review.
Like so many things in this country, the audience stands divided while watching this film and this was one of the primary reasons for it to become a classic in the future as the debate goes on about how people understand the notion of this particular film.