Kabir Singh Movie Review: Powerful Portrayal and Stellar Storytelling Masks the Stale Storyline!

Kabir Singh Movie Review Poster

Kabir Singh Movie Review

Macho Devdas Hits It Out Of The Park!

Kabir Singh Movie Review | Analysis


(The following review contains spoilers. If you haven't already watched the film, you may want to skip the first three paragraphs.)

Kabir Singh is a story of a borderline mentally ill medical student and his crazy antics. The man, at the beginning of the film, starts as a noticeably mentally ill person with sudden bursts of anger, and progresses towards being a full-blown mentally ill person, aided by emotional ups and downs, alcohol and drugs. The film tells us about the title-character's mental condition very early on in the film, when his grandmother explains about his severe obsession with a doll during his childhood, and about his nervousness and anxiety when he loses the doll. It becomes clear as the movie progresses that Kabir Singh suffers from some kind of obsessive anxiety disorder, and on top of that, he is our stereotypical Indian man; and that's not a good combination to begin with! He likes to mark things & living beings as his own, and stamps his ownership on them. He gets severely obsessed with them and gets extremely anxious when he feels that he is losing his authority over his marked belongings or when someone else is trying to take what's "his". His severe anxiety comes out as a sudden violent anger, and when his anger cannot get things done and subside his anxiety, he resorts to alcohol and other intoxicating substances to calm himself down.

Because of his personality, Kabir Singh gets severely obsessed with a girl named Preeti (Kiara Advani), who he thinks he loves, during his days as an intern at the Delhi Medical College. But, Kabir wants Preeti only because she is "his",  and only to satiate his sexual desires, because he is obsessed with sex as well; there are almost no other emotions in Kabir towards Preeti. He keeps count of the number of times of they 'did' (549), and once Preeti is not there to satisfy him, he starts seeking it in the other women. Kabir Singh, in his desperation to get sex, goes on to threaten a woman to undress, tells her to just remove her lower garments as he will be all done in just two minutes! He goes on to tell the women who he is attracted to, to "help him in satisfying his physical needs"; he tells them that he only wants sex, and no emotional attachments or relationships! He leaves a girl in middle of a lustful session when she says 'I Love You' to him!

The film is quite clear about who Kabir Singh is, and how it wants to present him. It is obvious in the film that there are more negatives associated with Kabir Singh than the positives, and the film mostly tries to paints him as such, even though at the outset he might appear to be slightly heroic. But, as the film progresses Kabir Singh appears more like a sore-loser. Kabir Singh is just a lead character of the film with massive shades of gray, and not a 'Hero'; if anyone buys him as a 'Hero', then it is with that person and not the movie. It's unerring to dislike Kabir Singh the character, as he is quite despicable. The film, on the other hand, is just a cinematic account of a negative character's detestable acts, that has mostly restrained itself from glorifying or justifying his acts. No, there are no heroic background music when he hits women, or when he is intoxicating himself, or while performing surgery in an inebriated state. No character in the film says or even suggests that it's okay to hit women, abuse alcohol and drugs and attend patients when drunk. Kabir Singh loses his medical licence when he himself admits his wrongdoings that it was wrong on his part to perform surgeries while intoxicated and deserves to be punished. However, the film definitely tries to make us become sympathetic towards Kabir Singh, but I don't see anything wrong with that. Although, he should've gotten a more severe punishment for his medical negligence and misconduct, but we all can still sympathize with a mentally ill person, right?

 - End of spoilers -

The film begins with the establishment of its title-character, Kabir Singh. It gives us a hint about his mentality very early on through a short briefing about his childhood, and goes on to present a young Kabir Singh as a hot-headed yet cool macho man who is afraid of nothing; which is actually only one of the aspects of the character's multi-faceted persona, and only at the surface level. Because, as the film throws more light on Kabir Singh's character and dwells deeper on his personality, we can observe that he is actually more of an egoistic entitled man-child with mental illness. The film very firmly establishes its characters, through its progressive character development where we get to see multiple aspects of their personalities as the film moves forward. There is an amazing depth to Kabir Singh's character, which gives a solid foundation to the film's overall architecture.

The characters have been well-portrayed, the screenplay is engaging, and most part of the story has been kept close to being realistic; but cinematic liberties have been taken in some of the scenarios for the sake of the entertainment value. The fine storytelling and nice acting makes this stale story a very engaging watch. And, you can clearly see why this film and its original Telugu version 'Arjun Reddy' have become such a rage with the youth; the action genre, filled with drugs, alcohol and abuse, which surrounds a college love story with a stereotypical rugged masculine male lead character, has definitely struck a chord with the young college-going audience and those who have recently finished their college. For the still college-going, it's mostly what they are doing right now at least in parts if not in totality; and it's a nostalgia trip for the recent pass-outs. The film has reached out to the inner Kabir Singhs inside of its target audience. And, the constant howling, whistling, clapping by the young audience inside the cinema hall when Kabir Singh is engaged in his acts is an evidence to that.

ALSO SEE - Kabir Singh Day-wise Box Office Collection

But, there is nothing really anything in the film that we haven't already seen. We have seen characters like this before, we have watched stories like this before. And, 'Kabir Singh' even has the same set of clich├ęs that are usually part of these kind of "Love" stories. 'Kabir Singh' is the same stale stereotypical "love" story of a macho young man who has male hormones oozing from every pore of his skin, and who acts dominant because he subconsciously thinks he is an 'Alpha'! It is the same old wine which is presented in a different bottle with a different label. But, what really made the difference is that the story has been neatly and very effectively narrated, and keeps you almost completely absorbed in the film, but, that is only if you are not utterly lost in your dislike for the lead character. The narration is pretty much straight forward, except for a couple of back-and-forth jumps. And, even though the film has a comparatively lengthy runtime of close to three hours, it almost never feels overlong or tedious, as the film is very evenly paced, and it makes sure to keep the audience interested even during its slow-paced portions. The storyline may be stale, but the storytelling is stellar!

ALSO SEE - Kabir Singh All Critic Reviews & Ratings

Shahid Kapoor totally excels at playing Kabir Singh, and so does Kiara Advani who plays Kabir Singh's obsessive interest, Preeti. The cinematography and background music are good. Overall, Kabir Singh definitely deserves a watch for its strong performances, solid script and impactful screenplay. The film is thoroughly engaging for the first-time watchers, but it doesn't have much repeat value. If you have already watched 'Arjun Reddy', you might want to skip this.

Rating - 4/5!

- Review by Aditya.

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