CAST: Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Rashmika Mandana, Bobby Deol

DIRECTOR: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

“Animal,” directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, emerges as one of the most polarizing films of 2023, not just for its explicit violence but also for its exploration of complex social and romantic dynamics. The film, which clocks in at over three hours, weaves a narrative rich in controversial themes and character development, particularly for its protagonist, Ranvijay Singh (played by Ranbir Kapoor).

Ranvijay Singh (played by Ranbir Kapoor) is portrayed as a complex anti-hero, deeply idolizing his father, Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor). Throughout his childhood, Ranvijay yearns for his father’s affection and approval, but his efforts are met with consistent neglect. This unfulfilled quest for paternal love profoundly impacts his formative years, sowing the seeds of deeper issues that manifest later in his life.

The film takes a dramatic turn when Ranvijay returns home after eight years, following an assassination attempt on his father. The once boyish Ranvijay has now transformed; he sports a rugged beard and longer hair, embodying a more menacing and formidable presence. His character becomes increasingly intense and driven, singularly focused on avenging his father by targeting Abrar Haque (Bobby Deol), who is implicated in the attack.

A flashback sequence to Ranvijay’s high school days reveals a defining moment of his youth. In a fierce display of protective rage, he confronts those who bullied his sister at her college, armed and dangerous. This act of aggression leads to severe repercussions from his father, including a harsh physical reprimand and being sent away to a boarding school in the US. Ranvijay’s return for his father’s 60th birthday only further complicates his life, as he becomes embroiled in a confrontation with his brother-in-law Varun (Siddharth Karnick). Amid these familial conflicts, a romantic subplot unfolds with Geetanjali (Rashmika Mandanna), leading to another departure to the US due to their families’ rejection of their inter-caste relationship.

Animal movie review: Ranbir's action tale is misogynistic yet it entertains  | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

These sequences in “Animal” effectively set the stage for Ranvijay’s tumultuous journey, marked by unfulfilled paternal longing, impulsive decisions, and a life constantly in flux, shaped by intense emotions and strained family dynamics.

Kapoor’s portrayal of Ranvijay is central to the film’s impact. He embodies a character with deep-rooted daddy issues, stemming from his unfulfilled childhood desire for his father’s (Anil Kapoor) affection. This background sets the stage for Ranvijay’s transformation into a ruthless and unapologetically misogynistic figure, whose actions and attitudes towards women are particularly contentious.

The movie’s narrative complexity is evident in its treatment of family dynamics and Ranvijay’s tumultuous relationship with his father. The father-son relationship, layered with emotional neglect and a quest for approval, forms the crux of the story. This dynamic is further complicated by Ranvijay’s interactions with other family members, including his sisters and his wife, Geetanjali (Rashmika Mandanna), whose relationship with him is marked by a range of problematic and emotionally charged encounters.

Animal cast salary: Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna & others

Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s direction shines in how he integrates music into the narrative. The score, composed by Harshvardhan Ramesh, is not just an auditory experience but an integral part of the storytelling, enhancing the emotional depth and intensity of key scenes. The film’s action sequences, particularly a standout interval block, are noted for their choreography and execution, with each move synced to the film’s music, adding a rhythmic and visceral quality to the violence.

The film also delves into themes of Sikh history and family feuds, although these elements seem underexplored compared to the focus on Ranvijay’s personal journey. Notably, Bobby Deol’s character, who represents a significant antagonist, could have benefited from more screen time and development.

Animal Teaser: Bobby Deol Impresses Netizens With 'Deadly' Look As Villain  Opposite Ranbir Kapoor

While “Animal” excels in its technical aspects and acting performances, particularly from Kapoor and Anil Kapoor, its treatment of social issues, especially its portrayal of misogyny, is likely to be contentious. The film’s graphic violence and problematic portrayal of relationships make it a challenging watch, one that is not suited for all audiences.

“Animal” is a cinematic experience that’s bound to leave audiences divided. Its technical prowess, powerful performances, and intense narrative are noteworthy, but the film’s contentious themes and explicit content may limit its appeal to a broader audience. It’s a bold exploration of dark and complex human emotions, framed within a narrative that doesn’t shy away from controversy or discomfort.

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