Kabir Singh is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film written and directed by Sandeep Vanga. It is a remake of his own Telugu film Arjun Reddy (2017). Jointly produced by Cine1 Studios and T-Series, the film stars Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani. It focuses on the title character, an alcoholic surgeon who goes on a self-destructive path after his girlfriend is forced to marry someone else.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sandeep Vanga|
|Produced by||Murad Khetani|
|Story by||Sandeep Vanga|
|Based on||Arjun Reddy|
|Cinematography||Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran|
|Edited by||Aarif Sheikh|
|Distributed by||AA Films|
|Box office||est. ₹372.30 crore|
Principal photography began in October 2018 and ended in March 2019. The film was theatrically released in India on 21 June 2019 and received mixed reviews, with criticism directed at it for glamorising misogyny and toxic masculinity, though Kapoor's performance was praised. At the box office, it became Kapoor's highest-grossing film as a sole male star and emerged as the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2019.
Kabir Rajdheer Singh is a house surgeon at Delhi Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. Despite being a brilliant student, he has severe anger management problems that earn the wrath of the dean of the college. Kabir's aggressive nature also earns him a reputation among his juniors as a college bully. After having a brawl alongside his friend Kamal against members of the opposing team during an inter-college football match, the dean asks Kabir to either apologise or leave the college. Kabir initially chooses the latter but stays back after meeting first-year student Preeti Sikka.
Kabir and his friend Shiva enter a third-year classroom and announce that Kabir is in love with Preeti and asserts that she is exclusive to him. Initially afraid, Preeti starts adjusting herself to Kabir's overbearing attitude. She eventually reciprocates his feelings and they develop an intimate relationship. Kabir graduates with an MBBS degree and leaves for Mussoorie to pursue a Master's degree in orthopedic surgery. Over the course of three years both came back to Mumbai to their respective homes but till then Kabir's and Preeti's relationship becomes stronger. Months later, Kabir visits Preeti's house in Mumbai, where her father sees them kissing and throws Kabir out.
Preeti's father opposes her and Kabir's relationship since he dislikes Kabir's personality. Kabir demands that Preeti must make a decision within six hours otherwise he will end their relationship. By the time she manages to visit Kabir's house, he is drunk, injects morphine into himself, and becomes unconscious for two days. Preeti is then forcibly married to someone from her caste. Kabir learns about the marriage from Shiva and goes to her house in protest. He is assaulted and gets arrested for making a scene. Kabir's father ostracises him from the family home for damaging his reputation.
With Shiva's help, Kabir finds a rented apartment and joins a private hospital as a surgeon. To cope with his emotions, he starts taking drugs, attempts one-night stands, buys a pet dog and names it after Preeti and drinks alcohol; all of which are unsuccessful. Within months, he becomes a successful surgeon and a high-functioning alcoholic who is feared by the hospital's staff members, one of the reasons being his high surgery count. Kabir's self-destructing behaviour and refusal to move on worries Shiva and Kamal. He persuades one of his patients, Jia Sharma, a leading film star, to have a no-strings relationship with him, which he ends when she falls in love with him.
On a day off, Kabir unwillingly agrees to perform a life-saving surgery and collapses with dehydration. The hospital staff examine his blood samples, which show traces of alcohol and cocaine. The hospital chief files a case against Kabir, who accepts the truth on the grounds of violating his professional ethics during an in-house court hearing, despite Shiva making arrangements to bail him out. Kabir's medical license is cancelled for five years and he is evicted from the flat. The next morning, Shiva manages to reach Kabir to convey his grandmother's death; he meets his father, and they reconcile. Kabir gives up his self-destructive habits soon after.
While leaving for a vacation, Kabir sees a pregnant Preeti sitting in a park. Convinced that she is unhappy with her marriage, Kabir meets her after returning from his vacation. Preeti reveals that she left her husband days after their marriage and continued to work in a clinic. She tells Kabir that he is the child's father, and they reunite. The pair marries, and Preeti's father apologises for misunderstanding their love for each other.
- Shahid Kapoor as Kabir Rajdheer Singh
- Kiara Advani as Preeti Sikka
- Soham Majumdar as Shiva
- Arjan Bajwa as Karan Rajdheer Singh
- Suresh Oberoi as Rajdheer Singh
- Adil Hussain as the college dean
- Nikita Dutta as Jia Sharma
- Kamini Kaushal as Kabir's grandmother
- Anurag Arora as Harpal Sikka, Preeti's father
- Suparna Marwah as Preeti's mother
- Dolly Mattoo as Kabir's mother
- Kunal Thakur as Kamal
- Swati Seth as Vidya
- Anusha Sampath as Keerti
- Vinay Sharma as Kalyan
- Amit Sharma as Amit
- Parakh Madan as Preeti's sister
- Mitansh Lulla as Preeti's brother
- Gagandeep Singh as Jatinder, Preeti's husband
- Teena Singh as a fractured patient's fiance
- Rajat Aroraa as the fractured patient
- Ankush Deshmukh as Jia's manager
- Ramakant Dayma as Shiva's father
- Danish as Shiva's future brother-in-law
- Anagha Joshi as the lady on the roof
- Meneka Kurup Arora as a lady judge
- Geetika as Preeti's roommate
- Harsh A. Singh as Kabir Singh's lawyer
- Vanita Kharat as Kabir's maid
- Aanchal Chauhan as Karan's wife
- Urvashi Panchal as nurse Durga
- Siya Mahajan as nurse Rani
- Abhay Raj Singh as Preeti's brother-in-law
- Vipul Deshpande as a hospital doctor
- Meneka Kurup as a lady judge
After the success of the Telugu film Arjun Reddy (2017), its writer and director Sandeep Vanga wanted to remake it in Hindi with Ranveer Singh. When it did not work out, he approached Shahid Kapoor. However, producers Murad Khetani and Ashwin Varde of Cine1 Studios, who acquired the remake rights for Hindi, wanted Arjun Kapoor to play the male lead. Disappointed, Vanga said,"I've come to know that the remake rights of Arjun Reddy have been sold and it would star Arjun Kapoor. I am caught in a dilemma, as I've already locked Shahid for the role. It's a very embarrassing situation for me. I don't know how I'll face Shahid." In April 2018, however, it was officially announced that Shahid Kapoor would star, with Vanga returning as director.
Bhushan and Krishan Kumar of T-Series also produced the film, while Vinod Bhanushali received a co-producer credit. The dialogue was written by Siddharth–Garima. Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran was selected as the cinematographer, and Aarif Sheikh as editor. Vanga was confident that the remake would be even more hard hitting than the original: "When I made Arjun Reddy, I wasn't sure where to draw the line in terms of representation of certain things. I don't think I'd have to restrict myself when it comes to the Hindi version. I believe I'll have more freedom in Bollywood." The film's title Kabir Singh was announced on 25 October 2018.
Like the Telugu original, Kabir Singh too begins with a voiceover from the hero's paternal grandmother, but this time she is reciting a Kabir Doha. There are also geographical changes; the remake is set primarily in Delhi and Mumbai. Instead of caste conflict as in Arjun Reddy, the heroine's father takes offence to Kabir's smoking and not being a turban-wearing Sikh. For the remake, Vanga said he deployed less English than the original. "I've also tried to retain the colloquial quality in the Hindi dialogue." About the name Kabir Singh, he said, "There's a lot of melancholy in the name Kabir and a poetic side too." Vanga explained his reasons for choosing this as the film's title: "When we started work on the Hindi script, it was a very exciting journey. Kabir Singh, as the protagonist's name, came naturally, considering the character's graph. Kabir Singh has the same punch and madness of Arjun Reddy."
Shahid Kapoor portrays the title character, Kabir Rajdheer Singh. Although Kiara Advani was Vanga's first choice for the female lead character Preeti, things failed to materialise. Tara Sutaria was then announced, but left when a delay in the production of her debut film Student of the Year 2 (2019) caused scheduling conflicts. The makers then went back to Advani to play the role of Preeti, Vanga cited her performance in M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) as one of the reasons. According to Vanga, "Kiara epitomises the female character in the film to the T. She has the perfect combination of innocence (in terms of looks) and maturity (in terms of performance) that's so important for the character". Arjan Bajwa was initially unwilling to play Kabir's elder brother Karan Singh, but accepted at the insistence of Vanga, for whom he was the only choice to play the character. Suresh Oberoi portrays Kabir and Karan's father Rajdheer Singh. Amit Sharma, who appeared as Amit in the Telugu original, was chosen to reprise his role.
The makers considered beginning the shoot in August, but it was delayed to September as Vanga wanted Kapoor to grow his beard more for the role. Principal photography eventually began on 21 October 2018 at Mumbai, four days before the announcement of the title. Filming also took place at Delhi and Mussoorie. Kapoor dons three different looks for the film. Regarding this he said, "There's a certain mind space and the present which the character is in and there's also the past which he has been part of. Along with this, there's the culmination. So, there are three distinct energies that the film needs." He went through substantial workouts to portray Kabir Singh in two time periods; to achieve the character's "college boy" look, he shed 14 kilos of weight, and for the "puffy, groggy alcoholic" look, he worked out in a way that he would look "bigger but not muscular". Principal photography wrapped on 29 March 2019.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||14 June 2019|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
The soundtrack is composed by Mithoon, Amaal Mallik, Vishal Mishra, Sachet–Parampara (a duo consisting of Sachet Tandon and Parampara Thakur) and Akhil Sachdeva with lyrics written by Irshad Kamil, Manoj Muntashir, Kumaar and Mithoon. Harshavardhan Rameshwar composed the score. The song "Bekhayali" became a chartbuster even before its release, with several cover versions available on YouTube.
|1.||"Bekhayali"||Irshad Kamil||Sachet–Parampara||Sachet Tandon||6:11|
|2.||"Kaise Hua"||Manoj Muntashir||Vishal Mishra||Vishal Mishra||3:54|
|3.||"Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage"||Mithoon||Mithoon||Arijit Singh||4:44|
|4.||"Mere Sohneya"||Irshad Kamil||Sachet–Parampara||Sachet Tandon, Parampara Thakur||3:13|
|5.||"Tera Ban Jaunga"||Kumaar||Akhil Sachdeva||Akhil Sachdeva, Tulsi Kumar||3:56|
|6.||"Yeh Aaina"||Irshad Kamil||Amaal Mallik||Shreya Ghoshal||5:11|
|7.||"Pehla Pyaar"||Irshad Kamil||Vishal Mishra||Armaan Malik||4:32|
|8.||"Bekhayali" (Version 2)||Irshad Kamil||Sachet–Parampara||Arijit Singh||6:10|
|9.||"Tujhe Kitna Chahein Aur" (Film version)||Mithoon||Mithoon||Jubin Nautiyal||4:36|
The official teaser of the film was released on 8 April 2019 by T-Series. In a first-of-its-kind marketing deal, Kabir Singh became the first Bollywood film to have its very own theatre. As many as 15 PVR theatres in 15 cities across India would be renamed as "Kabir Singh Ka Theatre", with auditoriums reflecting the characteristics of the title character played by Kapoor. The film's official trailer was released on 13 May 2019. It has been viewed 55 million times since its release.
Kabir Singh was released on 21 June 2019, worldwide on 3616 screens including 3123 screens in India. It is distributed by AA Films within India. Khetani chose not to release the film in Pakistan, following the 2019 Pulwama attack. The film received an 'A' (adults only) certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with the board asking the makers to modify a scene where a character is seen snorting drugs, and also asked for insertion of static warning messages against drug abuse in all such scenes.
The film received mixed reviews, with criticism directed at it for glamorising misogyny and toxic masculinity. Nitya Prakash writing for Bombay Weekly rated the film with four out of five stars and finds it "visually compelling" having "haunting performances" and "nuanced writing". Praising cinematography, Kapoor's acting and score, he said, "Kabir Singh" is not a film; it's an experience that’ll stay with you." Ronak Kotecha of The Times of India rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, saying,"While Kabir Singh is a welcome change from stereotypical love stories, this kind of love affair needs some getting used to. Through his protagonist, Sandeep bets all his cards on his leading man, making sure you either love him or hate him, but you can't ignore him." Trade analyst and critic Taran Adarsh concurred with Kotecha on the film being an unconventional story and rated it three and half stars out of five. Declaring it "powerful", he praised Vanga's storytelling and Kapoor's performance. He felt that the film was a newfangled romantic tale.
Priyanka Sinha Jha of CNN-News18, praising Kapoor's performance, Vanga's story and direction, rated the film with three and a half stars out of five. She found editing and soulful music of the film appealing. She felt that the film was a rare story of star-crossed lovers which moves the audience. In the end, She says, "Reddy despite a brooding despairing protagonist takes things many notches higher and makes it one helluva trippy ride." Devesh Sharma of Filmfare said, "At 172 minutes, the film is too long by modern standards. Thankfully, Vanga has gone for a non-linear mode of storytelling and going back and forth in the timeline does keep the viewer engrossed."
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express giving the film one-and-a-half stars out of five, opined, "Kabir Singh (protagonist) is all flourish, mostly surface. You see him going through the motions, but you never really feel for him. And that, right there, is the problem: not enough pay off for three hours of pain.". Raja Sen of Hindustan Times, agreeing with Gupta, gave one-and-a-half stars out of five and felt that it was the most misogynistic Indian film that had come in a long time. He praised the cinematography of Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran but criticised the other aspects of the film. He said, "Kabir Singh actually applauds its pathetic protagonist, and ends up an obnoxious celebration of toxic masculinity." Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror rated the film two-and-a-half stars out of five, feeling that trimming the script by forty minutes would have helped.
Sandipan Sharma, writing for Firstpost, praised and defended the film, saying, "filmmakers should have the right to explore the mind of a flawed person." He slammed the critics for their orthodox remarks and terming the film as "glorifying misogyny, portraying toxic masculinity, obsessive love, celebrating alcoholism, etc." He further added "If Kabir Singh were to inspire Indian men to turn into alcoholics, raging maniacs, would it be safe to assume that in a few years we’d see a full generation of youngsters inspired by biopics and our prime minister? [...] his tragi-comic story is so entertaining. Somewhere deep down it also reminds us of our own struggles, failures and flaws."
In response to criticism of Kabir being portrayed as a misogynist, Kapoor defended the character, saying, "There are all kinds of people in real life, including alpha-males who feel territorial entitlement, and I have played this character truthfully".
Kabir Singh's opening day domestic collection was ₹20.21 crore. This is the highest opening day collection for a Shahid Kapoor film. On the second day, the film collected ₹22.71 crore. On the third day, the film collected ₹27.91 crore.
Kabir Singh is the highest grossing Bollywood film of 2019. Going by domestic net collection, the film has made it to 9th position in the list of Hindi films with highest domestic net collection. It also became the first A-certified Indian film to gross over ₹ 200 crore in India.
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