Bollywood: Polarizing Opinions Surround ‘Animal’—Captivating or Concerning?

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Varad Bhatkhande

Mumbai, 4th December 2023: ‘Animal,’ directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, has been dominating the Bollywood Box Office since December 1st. Sandeep Reddy Vanga, an Indian filmmaker known for portraying male toxic behaviours in his films, helms this production. The movie boasts an impressive cast including Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Bobby Deol, Anil Kapoor, Shakti Kapoor, and other talented actors.

In terms of the plot, Ranvijay, also known as Vijay Balbir Singh (Ranbir Kapoor), deeply cherishes his relationship with his father, Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor), going to great lengths to gain his attention, approval, and validation as a good son. However, the narrative takes a turn when Ranvijay’s love for his father transforms into an obsession, leading him to take drastic measures that result in destruction. Ranvijay’s character is notably problematic and flawed, especially in his interactions with his wife Gitanjali (Rashmika Mandanna), a point that may raise concerns for some viewers.

Ranvijay’s perception of the alpha-male archetype prompts a critique of male mentality, drawing reactions, particularly from the female audience. While the story may not follow a conventional narrative logic, it presents a unique approach to addressing a sensitive and trending topic.

The film, spanning 3 hours and 20 minutes, captivates throughout, though some scenes in the second half may seem dull during character development. Action sequences, distinct from typical masala films, are skillfully shot, elevating the movie’s ‘messy’ appeal without compromising its elegance. The standout feature is the exceptional acting, notably from Ranbir Kapoor, showcasing a new level of method acting. Rashmika Mandanna defies expectations, delivering a commendable performance. Anil Kapoor and Bobby Deol, despite good acting, suffer from limited screen time and underutilized character potential. Overall, there are no notably weak performances.

Sandeep Reddy Vanga, known for his distinct style seen in Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, maintains his signature approach in this film. While some scenes and adult humour may trigger certain audiences, Vanga’s unique execution stands out. Serving as an editor, his touch is evident in different editing styles. Bobby Deol’s character introduction is innovative and well-received. Action scenes impress, but the editing falters at times, making the movie feel dragged. The script lacks strength for cinephiles seeking a robust storyline, but the well-written dialogues and strong cast performances compensate. However, the love story portrayal is disjointed and lacks coherence.

The film’s music and soundtrack, flawlessly executed, serve as a strong backbone. Harshavardhan Rameshwar, the composer of the film score, maintains the same excellence seen in Reddy’s previous works. Various talented composers contribute to the songs, with “Arjan Vailly” reaching its pinnacle during a key action scene.

Animal, despite evoking polarizing opinions, offers an adrenaline-packed experience with captivating performances and storytelling. Positives include originality, impactful action scenes, and Ranbir’s brilliant acting. However, negative aspects involve the film’s disrespectful portrayal of women, Rashmika Mandanna’s minimal impact, and a lack of depth in the storyline. Despite challenges in believability due to the Gen Z setting, the film ends on a sequel announcement titled Animal Park.