Sandeep Vanga about his controversial interview where he justified violence against women.
Sandeep Vanga is controversy’s favourite child at the moment. The director of Arjun Reddy and the recently released Kabir Singh has found himself in the eye of a storm yet again after his now-infamous interview with journalist Anupama Chopra went viral. In the interview, Sandeep goes on an offensive, hitting out at critics, feminists and other detractors. Despite being slammed for his toxic views, Sandeep remains unapologetic. “I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. I speak my mind unfiltered. And this was my first interview after Kabir Singh released. If my film had come and gone quietly no one would have bothered,” says Sandeep about the controversy alleging that his comments were taken out of the context. “I had to say what I had to say. And then they cut out portions of my comments. Now people don’t know what I said before and after those comments. The content was edited in a very wrong way. So that a section of women got another chance to attack me. But I was trying to explain my protagonist’s mindset. How Arjun Reddy or Kabir Singh feels is not exactly what I feel. Violence may be his way of expressing love. It’s not mine,” he clarifies. One comment that took the internet by storm was his views about “slapping a partner” in a relationship. Sandeep jumps to his defence and says, “I never said one “needs” to slap. All I meant was, one needs to be fully honest in a committed relationship. And that honesty can take on a violent form. And why is only Kabir slapping his girlfriend Preeti being talked about? What about the fact that she too slaps him back? It works both ways. How they express their love is their choice. Why are some people judging them? And judging me for the way the character’s behaviour? My point is, in a true relationship the emotions can get raw and violent.”
In the interview, the director even took a nasty dig at film critic Rajeev Masand and called him “fat”. But Sandeep says, “It’s not as if I am hitting out at all critics. Some have been deliberately below-the-belt. You could literally see the hatred (for the film) in their eyes.” But how does it matter what some critics think? “You are saying this because Kabir Singh is a hit. You feel , why the need to get defensive? But it’s not about success or failure. It’s about the mindset of certain critics who get a kick out of pulling down any film that goes beyond the bandwidth of acceptable morality. You can’t take two points from my film and make a review. I later got to know that this guy (Masand) is famous and people listen to his reviews.”
The director gloats that the film went beyond reviews. “It has connected so deeply with the youngsters that such reviews didn’t matter at all. But reviews can affect a less successful film,” he adds.