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Animal: A chilling psychological portrait of a man who is desperate to get love and affection from his father

Ranbir Kapoor and Anil Kapoor bring their A game but the conundrum of Sandeep Reddy Vanga persist

By

Prabhatha Rigobertha

December 1, 2023

Sandeep Reddy Vanga is one of the few directors who became a big sensation with his very first film. Arjun Reddy (Kabir Singh in Hindi) was not just a box office success but it was also intensely scrutinized given the extreme raw nature with which he had depicted the love story of his protagonist.

Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna and Bobby Deol

With Animal the director dwells into another dark tale. This time it is about a father and son; Ranvijay Singh (Ranbir Kapoor) is the son of a successful industrialist Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor). Ranvijay considers Balbir as the best father in the world, this in spite of having many issues with him. He is sent out of the house twice by his father; first when he went with a gun to threaten his sister’s classmates for ragging her and the second time for a huge argument with his brother-in-law on the occasion of his father’s 60th birthday.  

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After a brief love story, marriage and two kids in US Ranvijay returns to India when he comes to know his father was attacked and grievously injured. He decides to find out who his father’s enemies are. In this process his path crosses with that of Bobby Deol who turns out to be his stepbrother thirsting for revenge. Rashmika Mandanna is the disgruntled wife of Ranvijay. She bears the brunt of her husband’s violent actions and his obsessive love for his parent. Soon enough there are no traces of the man that she fell in love with.

A big strength of Animal is easily the twisted father and son dynamics. Sandeep Reddy Vanga doesn’t waste any time in establishing how much Ranvijay craves for his father’s affection along with the workaholic nature of the father. There is a wild streak in Ranvijay from a young age itself.

Anil Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra and Bobby Deol

As mentioned above there is a scene where Ranvijay’s sister comes home crying after a ragging incident. She calls up her father multiple times but Balbir doesn’t lift the phone. Later she pours out her frustration to Ranvijay who immediately goes to her college with a gun. Not surprisingly Balbir gets pissed with his son and ends up slapping him.

This scene successfully sets the base for the friction between father and son. The gradual progression of Ranvijay into an ‘Animal’ has been well staged and does send a chill down the audience’s spine.

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The emotional bits between father and son in the later stages are also directed well. There is a scene in the pre-climax where Ranvijay does a role reversal with his father, that is, Ranvijay acting as the dad and Balbir acting as the son. The long years of inner frustration and Anil Kapoor’s repentance packs a big punch.

Ranbir Kapoor and Rashmika Mandanna

Bobby Deol appears only in the second half. His scenes are few but Bobby makes a solid impression just with his eyes and overall physical demeanor. The climatic fight between him and Ranbir has lot of raw action and is definitely a delight for those who like this kind of action.

But the overdose of blood and violence is a definite put off. The scenes of Ranbir hacking and killing several men gets nauseating after a point.

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Another major flaw with Animal is the depiction of its female characters. They are mostly there only to bear the brunt of men. The best example of this is Rashmika’s Geetanjali. There is an important scene in the second half when Geetanjali has a severe argument in a high pitched tone with her husband. This is because of an affair that Ranvijay had behind her back.

Ideally the viewers should have rooted for Geetanjali but Rashmika’s screaming makes it difficult to empathize. Another example of a badly written female character is that of the one played by Tripti Dimri. She is a moll who is sent to seduce Ranvijay by Bobby Deol. Ranvijay knows that she is a moll but still ends up having a physical relationship and also makes her lick his shoes to prove her love. This is, to say the least is in very bad taste. Sandeep Reddy Vanga, director

The music composed by Pritam, Harshavardhan Rameshwar and others make for a good listen. The songs that stand out are Satranga and Pappa Meri Jaan.

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Not surprisingly it is Ranbir and Anil Kapoor who lead the acting department. Both the actors get into the zone of Sandeep Reddy Vanga with zero inhibitions.

Animal is not a film that can be slotted as either good or bad. Still there is enough to enjoy if you are a fan of Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s style of filmmaking or if you like Ranbir and Anil Kapoor’s acting. But it is clear that Sandeep Reddy Vanga hasn’t learnt anything from the criticism of Arjun Reddy.

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Prabhatha Rigobertha
Prabhatha Rigobertha
Rigobertha Prabhatha has been writing on movies, web series, books, etc. on social media platforms like Facebook for a few years. He has a YouTube channel "prabhathalovesmovies" in which he posts video reviews. "I have only two windows to my world - movies and books" reads it's tagline. He is a student of English literature and currently working as Content Writer at Pudami Publications based in Hyderabad.

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