By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Kabir Singh”; Director: Sandeep Reddy Vanga; Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Arjun Bawa, Suresh Oberoi, Kamini Kaushal, Nikita Dutta, Soham Majumdar; Rating: ***1/2
A Hindi remake of the popular Telegu film “Arjun Reddy”, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s “Kabir Singh”, is the story of an academically brilliant medical student Kabir (Shahid Kapoor) who goes on to become an orthopaedic surgeon, but suffers from severe anger management problems, to the point of getting possessed with anger and getting violent and destructive.
With an unconventional mindset, Kabir thinks differently and does not feel the need to conform to societal norms. After getting violent in a football match where he mercilessly beats up the opponent, he is asked to apologise or leave. He opts to leave, but by happenstance, sets his eyes on a fresher, Preeti (Kiara Advani), who has just joined the medical college.
It is love at first sight and a determined him, stays back in college. His love borders on obsession and how it changes the course of his life, forms the crux of this two hour 55 minutes film.
Their love story is unconventional, yet, intense. The narrative begins on a preposterous note to the point of being repulsive, but does so with the intent of establishing Kabir’s character, his hot-headed nature and short fuse.
The self-destructive phase of Kabir’s life where he becomes an alcoholic and takes drugs, makes for a bit of tedious viewing post half time, but one is convinced of his pain and misery. He is not the archetypal Devdas kind of lover, but instead one who firmly believes, Preeti belongs exclusively to him and should thus be with him.
The film is Shahid Kapoor’s canvas and he portrays the noir and naturally flawed character, Kabir Singh with unmatched sincerity. A nuanced performance, inclusive of all the excesses his character is guilty of, Shahid makes them look real, even though in reality they may seem incredulous. His pain, anger, obsession, caring and even self-destruction appear raw and real.
Matching him is Kiara Advani as Preeti Sikka, a quiet and timid girl, who understands his obsessive love and gradually falls deeply in love with him. She exercises restraint and delivers a strong performance that leaves an impact.
Soham Majumdar as Kabir’s best friend Shiva is a treat to watch. Spontaneous and natural, he is convincing as the devoted friend, who will go to any lengths to see his friend happy and is distraught when Kabir is harming himself, yet stand by him in his darkest phase.
Arjan Bawa as Kabir’s doting elder brother, Karan is effective as are Kamini Kaushal as Dadi and Suresh Oberoi as his father. Nikita Dutta as Ria Sharma, an actress looks striking and is promising.
The back ground score and music complement the situations and mood of the film. “Bekhyali” and “Tujhe kitna chahne lage” stand out.
Overall, the film is engaging and worth a watch. (Agency)