We should actually salute this Sandeep Reddy Vanga guy. Fete him for his ‘honest’ views, so that all women can cross the road to the other side when they countenance him. It would take a rather masochistic and desperate woman who would look beyond the cinematic manifestation of his emotional disturbance and bizarre fantasies of slapping women in the name of 'love'.
Yep, we get the movie and the thought behind it. But really, to say that is the truth about love? On a show with a leading female critic who not only listens patiently while he drones on, but seems, to my mind, to relish it when he is uncomplimentary and mean about a rival film critic — yeah, that "fat man" who is so stupid to give this Fellini of Indian cinema a mere two stars.
The lady listens, does not interject or protest — puke-worthy!
Since he is so brutally honest (no pun intended), here is hoping that he allows us the same courtesy to manifest our emotions directly, too.
After all, that is the raison d'être of his creative oeuvre, though all these fancy French words are probably lost on this very basic creature who so easily justifies an animal instinct! Using filmy license to say things which would probably land him in prison in real life might make him believe that he is giving expression to "real feelings". But ladies, do not be dazzled.
This is not Tarantino’s toe-sucking fetish. This is a real-life slap-or-be-slapped kind of situation. Try not to date this man or his prototypes even if his film has made Rs 250 crores or so.
Creepy or what?
That box office success is the only reason he is able to skunk his way with such extreme statements. Success, it seems, can still allow you to get away with the kind of drug-induced behaviour which went out of fashion after the ODs of the roaring 70s.
Reddy, however, is apparently OD’ing on himself.
First, he uses lost words like ‘pseudo’ for those who have been horrified with all that male toxicity in Kabir Singh — he thinks that they are all frauds.
Yet, he doesn’t seem to realise that this very toxicity seems to cling to him like a smell of stale sweat. The sweat which is kinked with hatred and dislike and a mind which is unable to come to terms with the twinned success of Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh aka Vanga himself: “I have arrived, so you will tolerate me and my extremism.”
We have seen too many destructive relationships in Bollywood and beyond, and have always wondered at the women who allowed themselves to be beaten black and blue.
When the sexy siren of the 70s was dragged by the hair by her so-called husband, while his wife — yes, the 'real wife' — egged him on, would you not wonder what manifestation of 'love' this was — the wife’s jealousy, the man’s power or the helpless victim?
Or a former Ms World who sat in the front row of an award show where she was pushed down the stairs by her lover, a much-feted top actor who can take any film to Rs 300 crores. That very public break-up kept a few gossip columnists well-fed and watered, but there was such little serious discussion that the man did get away with mistreatment.
One slap can quickly turn into daily beatings. How long should one put up with it? And why? Photo: YouTube screenshot)
That people in love can raise their hand to demonstrate how deeply they are connected is a deeply flawed argument.
Though one gets Vanga’s explanation, that extreme love leads to extreme emotion — of possessiveness, envy, jealousy, ownership, et al. What is unpalatable and indigestible is the justification that in the heat of the moment, you can slap each other around because you love so much. This is just fodder for the psychobabble crowd who love a Bollywood-type controversy to tear into people who are too famous.
The problem with a celluloid description of acceptable physical assault is about boundaries. It can be a simple yelling scene which degenerates into throwing things at each other, and further down into fists and kicks. But would murder and bloodletting be the pinnacle of the human emotion of being lost in a love which consumes us?
Love is always elevating. It may not last but it does not damage the psyche of the woman or leave a mark on a face. Love as extreme madness has always been there. Remember Waheeda Rehman and Rajesh Khanna in Khamoshi. Do watch it and say how far and off the mantle love can drive you.
But if subsuming yourself in love means that he can beat you up, then ask the countless silent women who suffer from domestic abuse. That one slap can quickly turn into a habit of daily beating and a battle of power and ownership — would that make you feel loved?
If yes, you too need some expert therapy and some urgent self-esteem.
Meanwhile, Mr Vanga can take his dark tales to celluloid and give us another lesson on what to eschew.
Love, be damned.