Mired in controversy, Sandeep Vanga’s Kabir Singh has become a raging success, ‘raging’ being the operative word.
“Very frankly, I knew the Hindi version would connect as much with the audience as the Telugu version did. But I never expected Kabir Singh to do so well. Of course, there are speed-breakers (the critics’ reaction, the feminist interpretations of Shahid Kapoor’s abrasive character). But nothing can take away from the wholehearted love the audience has given us,” says Sandeep happily.
Nevertheless, the director is floored by the extent of the film’s success. “I knew it would work, But to this extent? Never! I thought I had already said what I had to in Arjun Reddy, but I ended up directing the sequel. And in spite of so many scenes being identical in both films, I’ve managed to make the remake dance to its own music.”
Speaking about the exact moment when he realised that Kabir Singh would work as effectively at the box office as the original Telugu film, Sandeep says, “The day after it released, I was persuaded to visit Mumbai’s monumental Gaiety-Galaxy twin theatres. I was curious. Why was the response at these landmark single-theatres so essential? But when I reached there, I knew this was the audience that made or broke a film. The crowds were cheering, screaming, jumping on their seats. That’s when I knew Kabir Singh would be as big a success as Arjun Reddy, if not bigger.”
The director is tired, but relieved. “When the reviews came out, I was worried they’d affect the collections, but that didn’t happen. I’ve given five years of my life to Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh. I am exhausted but also very happy. For those who think I am angry, all I can say is that’s not me. That’s Kabir Singh.”
He is now preparing to direct his next film, which is far removed from the two movies. “My next film will be a crime thriller, a totally different universe from Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh. Would it be in Telugu or Hindi? Probably both. I’ve now started working on the script. But for now, after giving five years of my life, I am spending some time with my family. The last few years, I’ve been travelling back and forth between Hyderabad and Mumbai. I finally have some time for myself and my family,” Sandeep concludes.