Sandeep Reddy Vanga, director of Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, has been facing a lot of flak after an interview with film critic Anupama Chopra went viral. While defending some of the scenes from Kabir Singh in the interview, he made certain statements that did not go down well with a certain section of the audience.

Amongst criticism that the director has faced from film critics across the bandwagon, he also received criticism from Sacred Games star Kubbra Sait and Telugu actor Samantha Akkineni.

The Telugu actor recently posted his interview as her Instagram story and went on to write “deeply disturbing” along with it. Although Samantha has never worked with Sandeep Reddy Vanga, she has worked closely with Arjun Reddy‘s lead actor Vijay Deverakonda for the critically acclaimed film Mahanti.

After Sandeep defended the slapping scene in the film, where Kabir slaps Kiara, stating, “When you are deeply in love and deeply connected to a woman (and vice-versa), if you don’t have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don’t see anything there,” celebrities and audiences across the internet criticized the filmmaker with charges of “toxic masculinity” among others.

In response to the interview and the statements made, Kubbra Sait shared a video and wrote on Twitter, “This is what love will look like if men and WOMEN are taught that slapping is being emotional.” In a slow motion video, Kubbra and filmmaker Goldie Behl are seen on a dim-lit terrace, slapping each other with their oven mittens on.

In another video, the actor slaps herself on the face and says, “If you can’t slap yourself, you haven’t really loved yourself.”

Badminton player Jwala Gutta also wrote on Twitter, “Movie was a movie…but justifying physical abuse?? If u love someone u have the right to slap? Gosh…this guy needs to be shown all the love without physical hurt!! Pathetic!!”

While Reddy then clarified his comments in an interview, stating that he was misquoted, he received support from an unexpected quarter, Rangoli Chandel- Kangana Ranaut’s sister.

“You took me completely wrong. It’s not assault. When you’re so close to each other, when you can’t handle your worst thing with each other. And you don’t have the liberty of showing your worst side. The worst thing is not like ‘iss din daaru peeke aake maar rha hai’. It’s about the liberty of the expression between a couple who is deeply connected. It works for a woman also and it works for a man also. I spoke for both the sides. But sadly, they are quoting in a very wrong way,” he told Times Now.

Rangoli Chandel, in a series of tweets, supported him, wrote “all outsiders must protect Sandeep Reddy Vanga”.

Comparing the violent nature of Safeena (Alia Bhatt) in Gully Boy and Kabir (Shahid Kapoor), she drew parallels to suggest that in fact, Alia’s character was more “violent, abusive and criminal” than Kabir Singh. Stating that while Safeena’s violence was applauded by the ‘feminazis’ Kabir slapping Kiara Advani’s character, Preeti, was criticized.

She later commented on the relationship arch between Alia, Ranveer and Kalki in the Zoya Akhtar film and asked “what is feminism about it?”

Kabir Singh is the Hindi remake of Telugu hit Arjun Reddy. It released on 21 July and has been smashing box-office records ever since. Despite that, a large section of film critics in India has sharply rejected the film and what it stands for.

In an interview last week on Film Companion with film critic Anupama Chopra, Sandeep Reddy Vanga clarified why he made the choices he did with the material, characters and clarified his stance on the same.