Kabir Singh

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. Kapoor plays the title character, a surgeon with anger management issues who spirals into self-destruction when his girlfriend, Preeti, marries someone else.

Kabir Singh
Kabir Singh.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySandeep Vanga
Produced byMurad Khetani
Ashwin Varde
Bhushan Kumar
Krishan Kumar
Based onArjun Reddy
Starring
Music byScore:
Harshavardhan Rameshwar
Songs:
Mithoon
Amaal Mallik
Vishal Mishra
Sachet–Parampara
Akhil Sachdeva
CinematographySanthana Krishnan Ravichandran
Edited byAarif Sheikh
Sandeep Vanga
Production
company
Cine1 Studios
T-Series
Distributed byAA Films
Release date
  • 21 June 2019 (2019-06-21)
Running time
172 minutes[1]
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi
Budget60 crore[2]
Box officeest. 379 crore[3]

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 its toxic masculinity, though Kapoor's performance was praised. It grossed over 379 crore, becoming the third highest grossing Bollywood film of 2019.[4]

PlotEdit

Kabir Rajdheer Singh is a house surgeon at the Delhi Institute of Medical Sciences. Despite being a brilliant student and surgeon, he has severe anger management problems that earn the wrath of the college dean. Kabir's aggressive nature has gained him a reputation among his juniors as a college bully. After a brawl with students from another college, the dean orders Kabir to either apologise or leave the college. Kabir initially elects to leave, but changes his mind upon catching sight of shy first-year student Preeti Sikka.

Kabir and his friends enter a classroom of male medical students to announce that Kabir has claimed Preeti, warning them that she is exclusive to him. Although initially timid, Preeti begins adjusting to Kabir's overbearing attitude. She eventually reciprocates his feelings and they develop a passionate, intimate relationship. Kabir graduates with an MBBS degree and leaves for Mussoorie to pursue a postgraduate degree in orthopaedic surgery. Kabir and Preeti's relationship strengthens over the next few years, despite the long distance. After Preeti graduates, Kabir visits her home to meet her conservative Sikh parents, but her father Harpal catches them kissing and throws Kabir out.

Harpal opposes Preeti and Kabir's relationship despite Kabir's attempts to explain that he loves Preeti and wants to marry her. Enraged and with his ego wounded, Kabir demands that Preeti choose between him or her family within six hours, or he will end their relationship. By the time she manages to reach Kabir's house to speak with him, he has panicked himself into thinking Preeti does not want him, gotten drunk, and injected himself with morphine. He remains unconscious for two days and misses his older brother Karan's wedding. In the meantime, Preeti's family forces her into an arranged marriage. When Kabir awakens and learns of this, he runs to Preeti's house, crashes the wedding party and violently protests; Harpal has him beaten and arrested. After Kabir's release, his father, Rajdheer, ostracises him from the family for his antics.

With his friend Shiva's help, Kabir finds a rented flat and joins a private hospital as a surgeon. To cope with his emotions, he starts abusing drugs and alcohol, attempts one-night stands, buys a pet dog and names it after Preeti; all of these measures are unsuccessful. Within months, he becomes a successful surgeon and a high-functioning alcoholic both respected and feared by the hospital staff, due to his high surgery count and aggressiveness. Kabir's self-destructive behaviour and obsession with Preeti worry his friends. He persuades one of his patients, film actress Jia Sharma, to have a no-strings sexual relationship with him, which he ends when she professes love for him.

While hungover on a day off, Kabir is called in to perform an emergency surgery, which he unwillingly agrees to do. During the procedure, he collapses from dehydration. Suspicious, the hospital staff obtain his blood samples, which they find to contain traces of alcohol and cocaine. The hospital chief files a case against Kabir, and during an in-house hearing he admits to his alcoholism, violating medical ethics, and endangering patients; broken down, he states that he does not deserve to be a doctor. Despite Shiva and Karan having made arrangements to bail him out, Kabir's medical licence is suspended for five years and he is evicted from his flat. The next morning, he learns of his grandmother's death; at the funeral, he and his father emotionally reconcile and Kabir resolves to quit his self-destructive habits.

During a drive, Kabir spots a heavily pregnant Preeti sitting in a park, looking dejected. He later approaches her with Shiva by his side, begging her to listen to him. He insists that he will raise the child with her if she is unhappy in her marriage, and beseeches her to leave with him. Preeti initially sits silently and refuses to look at him, but then bursts into angry tears, yelling at Kabir for discarding her so easily and telling him to get lost. Shiva then explains about Kabir's overdose, which Preeti had been unaware of, and all that Kabir has gone through over the last nine months. Shocked, Preeti confesses that she actually left her husband three days after their marriage, cut herself off from her family ever since, and has been working in a clinic to support herself; having been overcome with anger, especially after hearing about Kabir's affair with Jia, she had refused to contact him. She reveals that the marriage was never consummated and that the child is, in fact, Kabir's. The couple marries and reunite with their respective families, and Harpal apologises to them. The film ends with Kabir and Preeti on a beach with their baby.

CastEdit

The cast is listed below:[5]

  • Shahid Kapoor as Dr. Kabir Rajdheer Singh
  • Kiara Advani as Dr. Preeti Sikka
  • Soham Majumdar as Dr. Shiva, Kabir's best friend
  • Arjan Bajwa as Karan Rajdheer Singh, Kabir's elder brother
  • Nikita Dutta as Jia Sharma, a film actress and Kabir's patient[6]
  • Kamini Kaushal as Sadhna Kaur Singh, Rajdheer's mother
  • Suresh Oberoi as Rajdheer Singh, Kabir's father
  • Adil Hussain as Vijay K. Patkar, the medical college dean
  • Kunal Thakur as Dr. Kamal
  • Anusha Sampath as Dr. Keerti
  • Swati Seth as Dr. Vidya
  • Anurag Arora as Harpal Sikka, Preeti's father
  • Vinay Sharma as Dr. Kalyan "Sir"
  • Amit Sharma as Amit
  • Geetika Mehandru as Preeti's roommate
  • Suparna Marwah as Bhavna Sikka
  • Dolly Minhas as Mrs. Singh, Kabir's mother
  • Harsh A. Singh as Kabir's lawyer
  • Vanita Kharat as Pushpa, Kabir's maid
  • Urvashi Panchal as Nurse Durga
  • Siya Mahajan as Nurse Rani
  • Vipul Deshpande as a hospital doctor
  • Parakh Madan as Preeti's sister
  • Mitansh Lulla as Preeti's brother
  • Ankush Deshmukh as Lakshman
  • Ramakant Dayma as Shiva's father
  • Gagandeep Singh as Jatinder
  • Meneka Kurup Arora as a judge
  • Abhay Dheeraj Singh as Preeti's brother-in-law
  • Aanchal Chauhan as Karan's wife
  • Teena Singh as a patient's fiance
  • Rajat Aroraa as a patient
  • Danish as Shiva's future brother-in-law
  • Anagha Joshi as the lady on the roof

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

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."[7] In April 2018, however, it was officially announced that Shahid Kapoor would star, with Vanga returning as director.[8]

Bhushan and Krishan Kumar of T-Series also produced the film.[9] The dialogue was written by Siddharth–Garima. Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran was selected as the cinematographer, and Aarif Sheikh as editor.[5] 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."[8] The film's title Kabir Singh was announced on 25 October 2018.[10]

WritingEdit

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."[11] 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."[12]

CastingEdit

 
Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani at a promotional event for the film

Shahid Kapoor portrays the title character, Kabir Rajdheer Singh.[13] Although Kiara Advani was Vanga's first choice for the female lead character Preeti, things failed to materialise.[14] Tara Sutaria was then announced,[15] but left when a delay in the production of her debut film Student of the Year 2 (2019) caused scheduling conflicts.[16] The makers then went back to Advani to play the role of Preeti,[17] Vanga cited her performance in M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) as one of the reasons.[18] 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".[19] Arjan Bajwa was initially uninterested in playing Kabir's elder brother Karan Singh,[20] but accepted at the insistence of Vanga, for whom he was the only choice to play the character.[21] Amit Sharma, who appeared as Amit in the Telugu original, was chosen to reprise his role.[5][22]

FilmingEdit

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.[23] Principal photography eventually began on 21 October 2018 at Mumbai,[24] four days before the announcement of the title.[10] Filming also took place at Delhi and Mussoorie.[5] 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."[25] He went through substantial workouts to portray Kabir 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".[26] Principal photography wrapped on 29 March 2019.[27]

SoundtrackEdit

Kabir Singh
Soundtrack album by
Released14 June 2019[28]
Recorded2018–19
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length42:27
LanguageHindi
LabelT-Series
External audio
  Official Audio Jukebox on YouTube

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.[29][30] Harshavardhan Rameshwar composed the score.[31] The song "Bekhayali" became a chartbuster even before its release, with several cover versions available on YouTube.[32]

Track listing
No.TitleLyricsMusicSinger(s)Length
1."Bekhayali"Irshad KamilSachet–ParamparaSachet Tandon6:11
2."Kaise Hua"Manoj MuntashirVishal MishraVishal Mishra3:54
3."Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage"MithoonMithoonArijit Singh4:44
4."Mere Sohneya"Irshad KamilSachet–ParamparaSachet Tandon, Parampara Thakur3:13
5."Tera Ban Jaunga"KumaarAkhil SachdevaAkhil Sachdeva, Tulsi Kumar3:56
6."Yeh Aaina"Irshad KamilAmaal MallikShreya Ghoshal5:11
7."Pehla Pyaar"Irshad KamilVishal MishraArmaan Malik4:32
8."Bekhayali" (Version 2)Irshad KamilSachet–ParamparaArijit Singh6:10
9."Tujhe Kitna Chahein Aur" (Film version)MithoonMithoonJubin Nautiyal4:36
Total length:42:27

MarketingEdit

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.[33]

ReleaseEdit

Kabir Singh was released on 21 June 2019, worldwide on 3616 screens including 3123 screens in India.[34] It is distributed by AA Films within India.[35] Khetani chose not to release the film in Pakistan, following the 2019 Pulwama attack.[36] The film received an 'A' (adults only) certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with the CBFC 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.[37] It has been made available for online streaming on Netflix.[38]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

The film received mixed reviews, with criticism directed at it for glamorising misogyny and toxic masculinity.[39][40] 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."[41] 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."[42] 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.[43]

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."[44] 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."[45] Rajeev Masand of News 18 gave the film 2 out of 5 stars and said, "Kabir Singh is an unmistakably misogynistic film, but the sad part is that it's exactly these troubling portions that the filmmakers peddle as intense love."[46]

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.".[47] 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."[48] 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.[49]

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."[50] Raja Sen of Hindustan Times gave the film 1.5 out of 5 stars and said, "This Shahid Kapoor film is perhaps the most misogynistic Indian film in a long time – the hero is a bully, an abuser of women, an insensitive lout, an alcoholic surgeon, and a foulmouthed hothead."[51] Arnab Banerjee of Deccan Chronicle also rated the film 1.5 out of 5 stars, criticising it for misogyny but praising the performances of the supporting cast members including Majumdar, Bajwa, Dutta and Oberoi.[52]

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".[53]

Box officeEdit

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.[54] On the third day, the film collected 27.91 crore.[55]

As of 10 October 2019, with a gross of 331.24 crore in India and 47.78 crore overseas, the film has a worldwide gross collection of 3790.2 million.[3]

Kabir Singh is the third highest grossing Bollywood film of 2019.[4] Going by domestic net collection, the film has made it to 10th 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.[56]

Home mediaEdit

The film became available as VOD on Netflix on 19 September 2019.[57]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Date of ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
8 December 2019 Screen Awards Best Film Kabir Singh Nominated [58]
[59]
Best Director Sandeep Vanga Nominated
Best Actor Shahid Kapoor Nominated
Entertainer of the Year (Shared with Ranveer SinghGully Boy) Won
Best Supporting Actor Soham Majumdar Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kamini Kaushal Won
Best Music Director (Shared with Gully Boy) Akhil Sachdeva
Amaal Mallik
Mithoon
Vishal Mishra
Sachet–Parampara
Won
Best Male Playback Singer Sachet Tandon ("Bekhayali") Won
15 February 2020 Filmfare Awards Best Actor Shahid Kapoor Nominated [60]
[61]
Best Supporting Actress Kamini Kaushal Nominated
Best Music Director (Shared with Gully Boy) Akhil Sachdeva
Amaal Mallik
Mithoon
Vishal Mishra
Sachet–Parampara
Won
Best Lyricist Irshad Kamil ("Bekhayali") Nominated
Mithoon ("Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage") Nominated
Best Male Playback Singer Sachet Tandon ("Bekhayali") Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer Shreya Ghoshal ("Ye Aaina") Nominated
Parampara Thakur ("Mere Sohneya") Nominated
19 February 2020 Mirchi Music Awards Song of The Year "Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage" Nominated [62]
[63]
Album of The Year Kabir Singh Nominated
Listeners' Choice Album of the Year Nominated
Listeners' Choice Song of the Year "Bekhayali" Won
Male Vocalist of The Year Arijit Singh ("Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage") Nominated
Female Vocalist of The Year Parampara Thakur ("Mere Sohneya") Nominated
Music Composer of The Year Mithoon ("Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage") Nominated
Sachet–Parampara ("Bekhayali") Nominated
Lyricist of The Year Irshad Kamil ("Bekhayali") Nominated
13 March 2020 Zee Cine Awards Best Music Director Akhil Sachdeva
Amaal Mallik
Mithoon
Vishal Mishra
Sachet–Parampara
Won [64]
27–29 November 2020 International Indian Film Academy Awards Best Film Kabir Singh Pending [65]
Best Director Sandeep Vanga Pending
Best Actor Shahid Kapoor Pending
Best Music Director Akhil Sachdeva
Amaal Mallik
Mithoon
Vishal Mishra
Sachet–Parampara
Pending
Best Male Playback Singer Sachet Tandon ("Bekhayali") Pending
Best Female Playback Singer Shreya Ghoshal ("Ye Aaina") Pending
Best Lyricist Irshad Kamil ("Bekhayali") Pending
Kumaar ("Tera Ban Jaunga") Pending

ReferencesEdit

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