The Misogyny in Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh is not Exceptional #MondayMusing

A lot of debate is going on around the movies Kabir Singh/Arjun Reddy. I have not watched Kabir Singh but I did watch the original Telugu Arjun Reddy. I watched it simply because I like Vijay Deverakonda, the actor who played Arjun Reddy in the Telegu version.

I agree the movie is misogynist and sexist, but, at the same time, I consider it unfair to single out this particular movie because let’s admit, most of our movies are sexist. This weekend, I was watching Californication and that series has a similar story. It is almost like a Hollywood version of Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh. Popular culture loves to show a male protagonist who tries to forget his “true love” by indulging in substance abuse and sleeping with numerous random women. Be it Hank Moody from Californication, Arjun Reddy or Devdas, they all do the same. However, can you think of any movie Bollywood or Hollywood where the girl tries to get rid of her heartbreak by sleeping with random men? Very Rare. Female protagonists get married to get over a heartbreak while the male protagonist “destroy”(tch!tch! poor baby, heartbroken and out of his mind) themselves. They stop earning, they become alcoholics/addicts and sex maniacs. Popular culture all over the world loves to repeat this story.

In real life also I have met men who do the same thing. They feel that in order to mend his own broken heart he has the right to break numerous other hearts. These men get into relationships and then they say they cannot commit to the new girl because his heart still belongs to his ex. He has no qualms in sleeping with these girls but he cannot love her. Almost some kind of a Madonna-Whore complex.

Men find it macho to talk about their substance abuse and sexual encounters. The more women they sleep with, the more “Alpha Male” they feel like. Men even exaggerate the number to feel uber cool. It boosts their masculinity, whereas when a woman does the same she becomes a slut. Our popular culture inherently loves to sympathize a fallen and wronged hero. In popular culture, there is a common perception that women love “bad boys” and “good boys” are boring. Women love “bad boys” but gets married to “good boys”. These stereotypes are everywhere and society endorses this. Thus, “bad boys” are given some sort of license in popular culture to abuse the women verbally, physically and emotionally. When they do it they are not shown as the abuser but as a victim, there is always a parallel narrative to justify his abuse and perhaps also bail him out. He is always shown as a person good at heart yet abusive, who loves to abuse his woman, either under the influence of a substance or else his love for the lady is so powerful that it makes him blind towards physical violence. He feels “everything is fair in love and war” including slapping, punching, etc. Even women start believing this and many victims of domestic violence justify their partners by saying “he loves me a lot and so he hits me”, exactly what the director of Arjun Reddy, Mr. Sandeep Reddy Vanga said “If you can’t slap, if you can’t touch your woman wherever you want, if you can’t kiss, I don’t see emotion there.” According to him, slapping is not an act of abuse but only an emotion.

Even in the past, we have seen movies where women have been slapped, abused, abducted, raped, threw acid in the name of love. Misogyny in movies influences real-life sexism or the vice-versa is not known. These movies gross hundreds of crores in the box office and that clearly proves that a large section of the society love these kinds of stories and perhaps they also relate to it. For many, this is also a reality. Arjun Reddy/ Kabir Singh is neither the first nor the last movie that depicts deep-rooted patriarchy.

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Linking this with Monday Musings by Corinne.

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16 thoughts on “The Misogyny in Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh is not Exceptional #MondayMusing

  1. Modern Gypsy says:

    I haven’t seen either movie, so I can’t weigh in on it. What I think, though, is that it’s ok to show such characters, but there should be some nuance. The glorification of such characters is what people have been protesting against, I think….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      You got me there..critics are behaving as if this is the first time they are watching this kind of a movie..go and watch any Salman Khan movie (well, the man also has real life examples 😁) and you will know what misogyny is.

      Like

  2. Lata Sunil says:

    I watched Arjun Reddy and promptly fell in love with the actor Vijay Deverakonda. I can’t understand why people cannot just take this as a movie. Movies do influence real life, but I am sure when Preeti did not react when Arjun Reddy kissed her the first time, without consent, we felt aghast. Surely, no one behaves like that.

    Like

    • Lata Sunil says:

      Since we are all abusing Arjun Reddy, I feel the girl should also not let him treat her like that. And the message I will take away from the movie is to never be like Preeti. Morons are everywhere. (I was not done commenting when it got posted :))

      Liked by 1 person

      • Balaka says:

        Honestly, even I felt that singling out this movie and bashing it is unfair..Both Hollywood and Bollywood are guilty of making these kinds of movies, why target this one? And I also loved Vijay..not a fan of Shahid..so d not want to watch Kabir Singh..I have a feeling Shahid would not be as good as Vijay..because Vijay had an innocent almost childish face..Shahid looks more mature..

        Like

  3. the bespectacled mother says:

    I haven’t seen the Hindi movie (Telegu is out of the question for me). I couldn’t even bear the trailer. It was gross for me. I wasn’t okay with the story of the movie but then in one way, it could pass for just being a movie. The fact that the writer-director spoke those lines straight from his own mouth made me extremely uncomfortable with the likes of such mindsets living in society for real.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Damyanti Biswas says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot about both movies–don’t know if I’ll watch either. Misogyny is internalised over centuries of patriarchy–so many women actually fall in love with an abusive man.

    It is unfair to single out a movie, when most movies show misogyny one way or the other, but I can’t say I’m sad it has generated discussion–at least some people are waking up, and that’s not a bad thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. writershilpa says:

    I haven’t seen the movie neither do I wish to.
    Just yesterday I read an article on the topic in TOI, and today I saw your post. True, misogyny is an underlying plot in many a movie and gets justified because it has a heartbroken man at the center of it all. Poor men! And, they are supposed to be the Stronger Sex, right? Maybe that’s why their abusive actions get justified.
    I just wish women who are experiencing such abuse at the hands of the men in their lives speak up now, instead of mutely putting up with it all in the guise of love, and get out of such relationships for their own good!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Parul Thakur says:

    I haven’t seen these movies and I won’t.
    Patriarchy and misogyny are openly shared through TV shows and movies and this has been happening over decades. If these movies were released 20 years ago, I am sure no one would have thought anything. I think with time, we are all standing up against inequality in thoughts and actions. I think the day no one watches such content is when the real change would happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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