A heavy, demanding drama that will leave you with a racing heartrate and a numb mind! Shahid Kapoor, take a bow!
Rating – 3.5 / 5 ⭐️⭐⭐½
Statutory warning – this is probably the first review you’ll read today that has not called Kabir Singh misogynistic, but rather, a raw and honest insight into a flawed and complexed character and essentially, a personality growth curve analyzing the lead’s egocentric actions and how they change over time. Starting off with some unsparing scenes with Shahid Kapoor using a knife to unbutton a woman’s clothes (only cause he was struggling to do it the traditional way), or beating up the entire opponent football team just cause one of the players hurt his ego – Kabir Singh was definitely not an easy watch, but it’s surely worth your time! Here’s why…
Based on the original 2017 Telegu superhit Arjun Reddy, the story revolves around our protagonist Kabir Singh (Shahid Kapoor), a medical college topper and brilliant doctor with major anger issues, who falls crazy in love with a shy, pretty, first-year student Preeti (Kiara Advani). The two share a heated, romantic love story, to say the least, until Preeti’s father denies their marriage, causing a cascade of self-destruction, featuring full-blown alcoholism, drug abuse and electrifying anger by a heartbroken Kabir.
To start with, the film fulfils its purpose in every way possible – to sketch a character so powerful, so unapologetic it consumes you, forming the meat of this 2 hour 55 minute drama. The revelation of the plot is preceded by some solid character development as we see Kabir icing his crotch and desperately looking for girls to meet his needs – all familiarizing you to his short-tempered, impulsive yet deeply intense nature and setting the stage for what’s to come. Having executed this in an unconcealed manner was half the battle already, and the latter half determined the winning status of the film!
“Kabir, what do you like in me?” – “I like the way you breathe.”
Kabir Singh did one hell of a job is bringing out some surreal emotions and a passionate romance (yes, despite those unnecessary back-to-back make out sessions), lying just on the brink of overdoing it. Fighting the same battle with his own father as well his girlfriend’s father and almost-flatlining several times due to drug OD, it’s no secret that some of the segments were stretched out and repetitive in order to reinforce Kabir’s unpredictable unashamed personality. Regardless, the film simply doesn’t let you get bored, not even for a second. Why? Because it bribes you to believe that under Kabir’s self-destructive nature lies an empathetic and caring man, struggling to come out amidst all the heartache. The rest of the film, so to say, is like peeling an onion.
The man of the hour, Shahid Kapoor is at the epitome of his acting skills – the ease with which he embraces an oh-so-complex character like Kabir Singh is impeccable and bound to leave you floored! Kiara Advani was the ideal choice for Preeti Sikka with her soft innocent looks and above-average performance. But a very very special mention goes to Soham Majumdar, who plays the role of Kabir’s loyal (and only) friend Shiva – the compassion and urgency with which he sticks to Kabir, trying everything he can to make his friend’s life better was heartwarming! Lastly, a tremendous performance by Arjan Bajwa, seen as Kabir’s elder brother and only blood relation to give a damn about him.
So, to answer your ‘to watch or not to watch’ question – definitely watch. Whether it’s for the adrenaline rush or for your mancrush Shahid Kapoor, doesn’t matter. A film as unique and experimental as this one demands a visit to the theatre and specially for those of you who haven’t seen Arjun Reddy, Kabir Singh is 200% recommended!
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