Kabir Singh Teaser: Shahid is as Good as I Expected

Yep, this is an Arjun Reddy remake all right. Shot for shot, moment for moment. And is that good or bad?

As I see it, there are 3 options for a cross-language remake:

  1. A substantially changed story in order to fit within the new language industry, for example Hum in Hindi to Baasha in Tamil.
  2. An identical shot for shot remake with only the language and actors changed, like Holiday and Thuppakki.
  3. An attempt to make the film more “commercial” that ends up changing what made it special to begin with, like OK Jaanu and OK Kanmani.

Of these options, the first is of course the best one. A remake that justifies its assistance by adding something new and different to the existing story, to the degree that it becomes almost unrecognizable. And the third is by far the worst option. And the middle option is not as bad, or as good, as it could be.

It was pretty clear that Kabir Singh would be an option 2 version of a remake. The director is the same, and he handpicked the cast, there is no “new vision” that could come in and change things. And now we have the first teaser that confirms, yes, this is just Arjun Reddy but in Hindi.

The biggest change Telugu to Hindi is that the cast is now established actors instead of struggling newcomers willing to take a chance on an untested plot. But, as this teaser confirmed, they are talented established actors. I was just talking with filmilibrarian about how Shahid is arrogant and has a chip on his shoulder about not getting his due, but then he has a point. He is odd and arrogant and so on in his interviews and personal appearances, but then he is also extremely talented and really doesn’t seem to get enough credit for that. Shahid was handpicked by the director and worked closely with him for almost a year on building this character. And sure enough, based on this teaser, he has nailed it. I won’t say he made me forget Vijay Deverakonda in one teaser, but he at least equaled him. For people who missed the Telugu original, I don’t think they will be cheated by seeing the Hindi version instead.

And for those of us who care about the careers of Shahid Kapoor and Kaira Advani, I am glad they are going to get such great roles in such a good film.

At least, that’s how I feel. How do you feel? Would it be better for the Telugu version to just have gotten a Hindi dub? Or should the director have tried to make something new instead of just the same thing but in Hindi?

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14 thoughts on “Kabir Singh Teaser: Shahid is as Good as I Expected

  1. I thought it was a great teaser. It looks exactly like Arjun Reddy and so far that’s OK. I like just the fleeting glimpse of Kiara at the end. This is a role perfect for Shahid (in retrospect, Arjun Kapoor would have been terrible!) and I’m so glad he changed his physique so it makes sense in the context. Just a few extra pounds brought back that baby faced Shahid that made him look young enough to play the role at least and then later he looks like he’s puffier from drinking.

    I still think the film is unnecessary (especially if it’s going to be shot for shot), but I’m reassured that it won’t be awful like OK Jaanu solely based on the fact that I usually trust Shahid 100% when it comes to his acting ability and Kiara is coming into her own, too, and her career is on the rise. Perfect timing with Lust Stories, the song in Kalank, and then this. Smart choices. Karan is clearly helping her, too.

    Arjun Reddy was a cult film for a reason. That role was meant for Vijay D. But the female lead was kind of forgettable. I don’t think Kabir Singh will actually be able to top it, but I do hope that it’s enjoyable (and after all, it does have a happily ever after, and I’m always up for that!).

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    • It is a great teaser, which is good because it means the Hindi version will do it’s main job, showing this story to people who wouldn’t watch the Telugu version. This teaser is intriguing and different and exciting and should get folks in theaters for a different kind of film.

      It also accurately sells the film, the Telugu version arrived with so much clutching of pearls, I am glad the Hindi version is giving a teaser that shows what it will really be about.

      On Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 8:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. No me gusto en lo absoluto, no me emociona ya que para mi gusto este papel debió ser otorgado a Ranbir Kapoor que encaja perfectamente en esta clase de personajes y la protagonista femenina debio ser alguien debutante, Y personalmente para remake prefiero Varma el remake tamil ya que siempre estos cautivaran la escencia del sur, es mas realista , Ya que se tiene al actor Dhruv que tiene coincidencia con Vijay Deverakonda que notienen fama establecida. Ademas que se dejo visto que por mas el mismo director vuelva a dirigir el remake hindi, depende de los actores.

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  3. I do not like it at all, it does not excite me, because for my taste this role should have been granted to Ranbir Kapoor, who fits perfectly in this class of characters and the female protagonist must have been a debutante, and personally for a remake, I prefer “Varma” “The Tamil remake, since they always captivate the essence of the south, is more realistic, since you have the actor Dhruv who has a match with Vijay Deverakonda, who have no established fame. Besides that it was seen that no matter how much the director directs the Hindi remake, it depends on the actors.

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    • I can’t imagine Ranbir in this role. Shahid is very good in my opinion, and has this good boy/ bad boy vibe, Ranbir doesn’t have. If not Shahid, than Avinash Tivari, who is not famous.
      Tamil remake maybe won’t be bad, but after all this drama with changing all the crew, director and stuff, I don’t feel like watching it.

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      • Yeah, I feel the same. Both about Shahid pulling off the bad boy in a good boy’s skin feeling, and the Tamil remake seeming very troubled.

        On Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 2:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • But I must admit – this tamil remake is fascinating. I will not watch it, but I can’t wait to hear how it is, and most importantly, I hope the people who worked on the first version will tell us why their work was discarded, and how terrible Dhruv is.

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          • I really hope it is like Manikarnika and everyone is just trying to be nice and let the film release without scandal, and then is telling the truth.

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  4. I’m a big Shahid fan because he really is a freaking fantastic actor. Unlike a lot of Bollywood stars, he is SO different in each of his good roles that you really believe he IS the character (for example, I never thought, in Kaminey, about the clever camerawork in the scene where Charlie and Guddi fight, because it legit seems like two different people fighting each other.) And Charlie and Haider and Tommy are each very different from each other, even though they’re all “bad boys.”
    What impressed me about this trailer was his commitment to looking the part – like debauched, drunk, drug-addict Kabir Singh doesn’t have six-pack abs and a muscly chest: he looks like someone who has let himself go; it’s something along the lines of when George Clooney did Syriana. That’s pretty impressive commitment to the role from a guy who clearly is very into working out 🙂
    I thought the actress in Arjun Reddy was a completely unmemorable non-entity to I’m interested to see if Kiara Advani gets to do more.

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    • Shahid is such a good actor, sometimes it makes him a bad star (I think). On the one hand, in movies like Rangoon and Padmavat, I thought he easily acted everyone else off the screen. But he did it so subtley that it didn’t feel like “acting”, it just felt like being onscreen. Ranveer or Kangana were the ones acting, Shahid was just existing. And then in movies like Dil Bole Hadippa and Shaandaar, he ends up putting in such a deep performance it almost unbalances the film. He was playing all tormented and subtle character notes, and the people around him were just doing fun Masala. If he was able to obviously overact more he would get more awards, and if he was able to just relax and enjoy the silly roles, he would be more popular.

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  5. Hmmm, Vijay D was so raw as AR, it looked to me that he *was* the character, that he was living his role, a Sylvester Stallone in Rocky type of role & performance. Part of that was because both Vijay and Sylvester were unknown actors and didn’t look conventionally like other actors of their era or genre or industry.
    By comparison, shahid is more seasoned, more polished, more actor-y. Plus I like him best in his quieter roles, like rangoon, JWM, Vivaah, and the first half of Haider. (In Padmavat he was almost too quiet, I don’t really remember him). He seems like he’s OTT, loud for the sake of being loud, in his showier roles (tommy, second half of haider). I haven’t seen kaminey, but I’m guessing it might be his best work, landing in the middle of quiet and showy.
    So this teaser looks like Shahid is playing Vijay in a BW biopic of Vijay’s life and career. It looks like an actor-y version of Vijay playing the role of Arjun. And given my impression of his more external performances, I’m not holding my breath. Maybe that will work just fine for the north Indian audience though. But I was under the impression that Arjun reddy was more than just a regional hit? Maybe not Bahubali level of pan-India hit, but at least a Sairat or a 2.0?

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    • Shahid is really wonderful in Kaminey. Nice mix of quiet and loud. You’ve got me thinking about it now, and I think I agree with you, Shahid is much better in his “quiet” moments than in his loud ones. Have you seen Udta Punjab? His character is so over the top and almost cartoonish for most of the film, which makes the few minutes right at the end when he gets quiet and serious that much more powerful.

      I see what you mean about Shahid feeling more like he is playing Vijay than doing his own thing. It could also be a matter of having the same director,. if he has a really specific vision for that character, he might be directing his two actors to do the same thing. Especially in the showy moments like what we see in the trailer. Perhaps the quieter moments where there is more room for actor interpretation are where Shahid will be able to build his own performance.

      I has the same feeling as you, that Arjun Reddy was more like Sairat. But then, the Sairat remake did fine. It wasn’t a blockbuster, but there were clearly audience members who hadn’t seen the original and were coming in for the remake. It’s a viable business plan, to take a proven success and count on making a nice profit from the few who haven’t seen the original. Probably less profit than if you were entirely original, but also less risk.

      On Thu, Apr 11, 2019 at 9:27 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Regarding Shahid being entitled, bitter, or resentful for not having the career payoff he expected by now, I also feel It’s the curse of the naughties (2000-2009). None of the actors launched in the Naughties quite reached their peaks, or reached peaks but then fizzled. Hrithik, Abhishek, Ranbir, Viviek, John, Ritesh, Emraan, Randeep, Prateik, Imran, and Shahid – all should be ruling the roost right now. Instead they are overshadowed by stars from the 90s (3 khans, ajay, akshay) or 2010s (varun, ranveer, vicky, ayushmann) in terms of consistent work or at least consistently working. (Maybe John is the exception, forging an Ajay Devgan style of career, 1 movie a year, either a comedy or a masculine role & theme, slightly under the radar). Even on the paralllel side, it’s either naseerudin Shah, irfan khan, manoj bajpayee, or else its nawaz or rajkumar (or Amitabh, ironically). Whatever happened to Rahul Bose? Sanjay Suri? Out of the naughties launches, only KK Menon is still thriving, but as a journeyman actor, not as a Name-above-the-title arthouse star.
    If you had asked me 10-15 years ago, I would have thought Ranbir, Hrithik, Shahid would have taken over the slots of SRK, Salman, and Aamir, respectively by now. While their careers have been interesting and commendable and long, their 2010s careers haven’t matched up to the 2000s careers (or even the 2010s careers) of their 90s star forefathers.

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    • You are kind of blowing my mind here. I already noticed this issue with the 2000s actresses, but I hadn’t realized it was the same with the actors. Well, actually, what I noticed with the actresses is that they were mostly really really bad and it was easy for the newer actresses to unseat them, and for the older 90s actresses to come back and over shadow them.

      But then it’s not quite the same with actresses, is it? I mean, Madhuri and Sridevi retired, there was space for someone else to rise to that height, and no one really did. Unless, do you think the Khan’s were overshadowing the actresses too? Is that possible? Rani never really got the notice she deserved, or the roles, because everyone thought only a movie with a big name lead actor could make money? Madhuri and Sridevi, and before them Hema and Meena Kumari and all kinds of actresses, were big enough to take lead roles in movies and launch heroes opposite them, and now Anushka and Dips and Kangana are doing that, but Rani and Priyanka and Kareena and the other oughties heroines never really had that chance.

      anyway, totally think you are right about Shahid’s curse of time. The really frustrating thing is that he is only a couple years older than Ranbir, he really belongs in that younger generation, but he started working so young that he has had the career of someone much older than himself by this point and directors don’t think of him as the “young star” as much. Now that I think about it, it came up even here, in our comments we said “Shahid is too old to play Arjun Reddy” and also “This feels like more of a Ranveer/Ranbir role”. But they are the same age! Shahid just FEELS older, even though he is only two years older than Ranbir.

      On Thu, Apr 11, 2019 at 9:55 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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