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If I start justifying characters, I can't be an actor: Shahid Kapoor on Kabir Singh's toxic masculinity

Shahid Kapoor stars as the short-tempered, drug-addled doctor in Sandeep Reddy Vanga's remake of the cult Telugu film Arjun Reddy (2017). 

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Our Correspondent

The trailer of Sandeep Reddy Vanga's Kabir Singh (2019) opened to a good response. While fans of Shahid Kapoor were praising the actor's latest turn as the depressed, heartbroken doctor spiralling into a haze of drugs and alcohol, it also raised questions about the toxic masculinity in the film's portrayal of its protagonist, Kabir Singh.

Speaking at the trailer launch, Kapoor clarified his stand, "You see the film and see what happens to him. Tommy Singh [in Udta Punjab (2016)] does much worse things than Kabir Singh. If I start justifying characters, I can't be an actor." 

Directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, Kabir Singh is a remake of the director's own cult Telugu film, Arjun Reddy (2017). While the Telugu film made Vijay Devarakonda a star, several critics questioned its portrayal of an alpha male who is possessive and obsessed with his ex-girlfriend to a dangerous level.

Addressing the concern, Kapoor said, "Anger is a very special quality. There is nothing wrong in using anger as a tool. It can be used in any way an individual wants. I don't think the opinion of critics, what they mentioned during the Telugu film [was] playing at the back of my mind." 

Raising the point about portraying 'real' characters in cinema, Kapoor said, "We are hypocritical about how we tend to look at cinema made in India. We then watch things made internationally and praise them for the fact that they are so honest, straight and not trying to be politically correct all the time.

"Cinema is meant to showcase different people. It's not about wonderful, perfect people," he added.

Kabir Singh also features Kiara Advani, and will be released in theatres on 21 June.