Sandeep Reddy Vanga's ‘Animal’ unleashes Ranbir Kapoor in a devilish, menacing and unhinged form, along with a wicked narrative filled with violence and gore

Animal: Flawed, misogynistic, yet entertaining

TBS || Shining BD

Published: 12/6/2023 5:11:52 AM

Violence reaches its zenith. Gore takes centre stage. It's a bloodbath all over. It's wild and wicked. Sandeep Reddy Vanga's much-awaited Animal has been unleashed, sending Ranbir Kapoor in a devilish, menacing and unhinged avatar. Do we love him? Yes, of course! Do we resent him, hell yes! Animal's problematic premise has already been discussed since its teaser and trailer were unveiled.

What the full film offers is a series of events, emotions and sequences leading up to a rather underwhelming climax, which is so rushed that you keep waiting if something more is yet to come post the end credits.

Animal is wild and wicked

Animal takes you on a bloody, noisy, gory and violent journey and for a large part of it, you don't complain. It immerses you in its gripping tale and scale, but often leaves you in bewilderment each time the hero is in action. Glorified as an anti-hero, Ranvijay Singh (Ranbir Kapoor) idolises and worships his father Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor), and spends most of his childhood seeking his love and attention but all in vain. So 'daddy issues' start pretty young in his life and have obvious repercussions on most of his formative years.

The premise and main characters

In a high school flashback, Ranvijay had entered his sister's college with a gun to teach a lesson to those who ragged her, earning slaps from his dad and subsequent exile to a US boarding school. Returning for his father's 60th birthday, he clashes with his brother-in-law . Soon after, a love angle is introduced. Facing family resistance to their inter-caste marriage, he flees to the US with Geetanjali (Rashmika Mandanna). Eight years later, he's back following a shooting attack on his father, transformed into a fierce, bearded Ranvijay. His mission: waging a war to kill Abrar Haque (Bobby Deol), who is after his father's life, Ranvijay is on a mission that nobody can stop him from achieving.

Ranbir Kapoor as an epitome of misogyny

If filmmaker Sandeep Reddy Vanga's Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh bothered you, wait till you watch Animal that presents Ranbir as an epitome of misogyny, and he has no qualms about it. 

Whether it's telling his younger sister to drink wine and not whiskey, or taking a jibe at the elder one, a Harvard graduate, he's loved, hated and misunderstood all at once. As the entitled, rich spoilt brat, Ranvijay considers himself the man in-charge after his father, so if the ladies of the houses (read sisters) are in any trouble, he would take law in his hand to serve people right.

That being said, Ranbir is in top form, and becomes Sandeep Reddy Vanga Vanga's Animal in its truest sense. He is a fine blend of vulnerability and villainous traits. He instantly makes you fall for him, and even when he is getting shot or being punched in the face, you feel bad for him, and never wish for him to be dead.

What does not work

At 3 hours 22 minutes, one of the longest films I watched in a very long time, Animal is determined to give you a headache as the high-pitched dialogues are certain to pierce through your ears causing discomfort. Then, there are portions you wish were underplayed – visually and verbally.

For instance, when Ranvijay is discussing about his sex life with a psychologist post his accident. The screenplay that Sandeep has co-written with Pranay Reddy Vanga and Saurabh Gupta takes care of all gripping elements and ensures that each frame offers a cinematically visual treat. But, amid all this logic takes a backseat, and the story is continuously being dragged, especially in the second half.

What works

Ranbir and Rashmika share enticing on-screen chemistry, but Sandeep takes a dark turn, portraying the hero as a casual chauvinist and misogynist, glorifying toxic relationships. Instances like pulling her bra string and infidelity echo the controversial Kabir Singh legacy. 

Among other parts, Anil Kapoor delivers an earnest performance, and he evidently was feeding off Ranbir's energy on screen. You'd find their scenes together relatable whether it's violent ones or the emotional bits. I felt cheated watching Bobby Deol's screen time. Firstly, he comes in the film only after 2.5 hours, and with barely two full-fledged scenes and no line to speak, I felt he was terribly wasted in what actually could have been the best opportunity to cash in. But, I must say, even in the two-three scenes we see Bobby in, he leaves you startled.

Animal is an absolute messy, entertaining and extremely violent thriller which doesn't believe in conforming to the norms. The bloodshed isn't for the weak hearted to watch, so practice caution if you decide to watch it because there's a lot of it, and you might not be able to take that much.

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