Kabir Singh: actor, ‘the macho’ and actress as his ‘jagir’
Since past two days I have been reading the entire debate going on Social media and elsewhere about the recently launched bollywood movie Kabir Singh. There are people who think that it’s ok to make such films because the movie only gives expression to writer’s imagination and has nothing to do with reality. Also, the movie is just a representation and not glorification of misogyny and abuse.
This is a very naive argument as writer cannot imagine in vaccum, his imagination is always affected by the environment he lives in, incidents he witnesses and discourses he believes in. Imagination and reality are not two extremes, rather there is an overlapping between both of them. Imagination is inspired from reality while reality is an expression of imagination. Those who don’t understand this, think that whatever is shown in Kabir Singh is a phenomena of some other universe.
All of us have seen what apps like Tik Tok have done to the people. One thing that became very clearly evident through these Tik Tok videos circulating all over social media is that a very large section of people including children and teenagers are highly influenced not only by the looks of their movie stars but also the way they behave and carry themselves. It is very difficult for these viewers to distinguish between the real movie star and the character he/she plays in particular movie. The cult of these actors lure people to look and behave exactly in a manner that their favourite characters do in their respective movies. People tend to copy not only their get up but also the characteristics of the particular character they play. If they see their favourite characters passing comments on women or abusing them on screen, they feel that it is justified to do that. This is how misogynistic attitude and patriarchal mindset is transferred from one generation to other. Domestic violence normalizes for a child if his father beats his mother in front of him. Violence is justified because his father, his hero is doing it. So is the case with girls who think that being tortured or abused is ok, just because they have seen their mother suffering all of this and never opposing it.
The climax of the movie has a bigger role to play. Off course if you have to present an story on screen, there will be someone who is going to play the role of an abuser. But if at the end, the person who abuses or torture women gets punished in some way or the other, the abuser actually becomes a villian and people tend to develop a kind of replusion and hatred towards that particular character. However, problem arises if the abuser is never shown in a bad light and his abusive instincts are always glorified. Even at the end, he remains the hero and instead of getting punished he is rewarded by the trophy of being the owner of the woman whom he kept on abusing throught the film. This impression on the minds of audience is something that replicates immediately through their behaviour in real lives. They think it’s ok to beat a woman, to abuse her, to bully her as she is not going to slap him in return anyway, she is not going to say a no, whatsoever. The word ‘consent’ never finds a place in any discourse and the actor, the ‘macho’ figure of the movie tends to declare the actress as his ‘jagir’ to get the validation of his masculinity from his make friends. Expression of this machoness is the triumph of misogyny and patriarchy, the mindset which make the lives of half of population hell. The constant sense fear and anxiety is the worst feeling ever.
Therefore, it is very important to have a conversation on the content of movies that we watch. This creates a possibility of neutralization of venom that these movies fill in the minds of our friends and colleagues. Ignoring everything and saying “oh, it’s just a movie, stop being so judgemental about everything”, won’t help. The social implications that follow after you come out of theatre praising movies like this are disastrous.