Animal Review: Sandeep Reddy Vanga Serves Violence Marinated With Misogyny And A Side Of Sexy Ranbir Kapoor!Watch it for the chaos!
Sandeep Reddy Vanga is back to serve us a platter full of misogyny and hypermasculinity in his third feature film, Animal, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna and Bobby Deol. Unlike Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, this time SRV’s protagonist is not all about his relationship with a woman. This time around, the protagonist is a hypermasculine man with Daddy issues who did not go to therapy. Edited and directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, Animal has been co-written by the filmmaker along with Pranay Reddy Vanga and Saurabh Gupta. Animal was released in theatres across India on Friday, December 1.
Trigger Warning: There are mentions of domestic abuse, guns, violence, death, and blood which may be triggering and traumatising for some audiences. Animal also consists of the same along with graphic scenes. FYI, this review contains spoilers.
The Plot of Animal
Animal follows Ranbir Kapoor’s Ranvijay Singh Balbir who shares a love-hate relationship with his father, Balbir Singh (played by Anil Kapoor) and struggles with real daddy issues. Their rocky relationship hits pause when the father-son duo have a falling out and Ranvijay moves to the US with the love of his life, Geetanjali (played by Rashmika Mandanna). But when his father is shot, he returns to protect his family and seek revenge on the man who shot his father and Ranvijay’s solution to every problem is violence. He sets out to find the man who attacked his father, and the man turns out to be his cousin Abrar Haque (played by Bobby Deol). The story follows Ranbir Kapoor’s Ranvijay as turns to his animal instincts to guide him as he wages a war to seek revenge while simultaneously seeking validation from his father which may cost him every other relationship.
Ranbir Kapoor as Ranvijay Singh Balbir: Ranbir Kapoor owns the unhinged animal that is Ranvijay. The actor seems to be living, breathing and eating his character as he eases into the role. He looks every bit menacing as he brings his animalistic character to life with his spectacular acting. Ranbir Kapoor will make you empathise with his character of a son seeking love, validation and attention from his father while also making you hate how he acts like a neanderthal and speaks without thinking. It’s a wild character that the actor has owned and how. He’s sexy, dangerous and the clichéd toxic man women are conditioned to fall for.
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Rashmika Mandanna as Geetanjali: It would be hard to portray misogyny and hypermasculinity if there’s no woman to victimise and Rashmika Mandanna’s Geetanjali served the purpose well. Sandeep Reddy Vanga created the character to be pushed around by Ranbir Kapoor’s Ranvijay. She’s the love interest of the alpha male who decides to treat her like crap and it only gets increasingly worse. NGL but that dialogue delivery had everyone in the theatre straining to understand what she said. As a woman, it was easy for me to dislike her for putting up with Ranvijay’s dumb fuckery but I could also empathise with her and understand that love makes us stay in toxic relationships.
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Anil Kapoor as Balbir Singh: Anil Kapoor’s Balbir Singh was the father who was used to as a prop for Ranbir Kapoor’s unhinged character to justify his insanity by blaming it all on daddy issues. The actor played his shoddily written character with conviction and tried to do justice to the father-son bond which barely scratched the surface. AK also portrayed the regret of a failed parent beautifully.
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Bobby Deol as Abrar Haque: Dekho, tha toh ye silent but shor bada macha diya. The trailer of the film made us all want to watch this film for Lord Bobby but SRV decided to let us down. Lord Bobby’s villain looks menacing, edible and bloodthirsty but the lack of background story left me with so many unanswered questions. Despite being a mute character, the actor nailed every single expression to the point that it sent shivers down my back while giving me pussy quivers.
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Tripti Dimri as Zoya: Tripti Dimri is known to be a nuanced actor and she proved it yet again by acing this role of a shallow character that needed more depth. But there’s no reason to be disappointed because the end credit scene hints that we’ll get to see more of Zoya. She’s the other woman you will share a love-hate relationship with.
— Gabru (@veevooveevoodub) December 1, 2023
Also Read: Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal Is Proof Women Bear The Brunt Of Toxic Masculinity. These Men Need Therapy, Not Guns!
The supporting cast featuring Shakti Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Suresh Oberoi, Siddhant Karnick and more played their roles with honestly. Siddhant Karnick’s character made me hate him with a passion for Ranbir Kapoor’s Ranvijay. It’s easy to develop a quick dislike for. Shakti Kapoor is the clichéd supportive uncle and the actor plays the role with conviction. The rest of the cast also gave their 100% but Ranbir Kapoor stole the limelight along with misogyny and hypermasculinity.
Verdict: Ranbir Kapoor Roars In Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Film Starring Hypermasculinity And Misogyny
Instead of doing my usual review with a good old verdict, I’m going to dive deeper into everything in this film that needs to be talked about and I promise you there’s a lot.
Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor’s Father-Son Bond
Animal explores a damaged father-son bond between Ranbir Kapoor and Anil Kapoor’s characters. Essentially, Ranbir Kapoor’s Ranvijay has only one identity, he’s Balbir Singh’s son. And this papa ka beta seems to hate his father but is also out to prove his undying love for his father who couldn’t spare 10 minutes for his son. While the rocky father-son relationship has been established in the film, it fails to set the premise and delve deep into their complicated rishta. There were several moments where I wondered by Anil’s Balbir disliked his son when Ranvijay wanted nothing but his father’s approval and attention. A majority of what Ranvijay does seems to be something done out of rebellion to get his father’s attention and the NEED to be the “man of the house” because women need a man to keep them in check (of course). FYI, don’t you dare say a word against “papa” because Ranvijay will shoot at you to intimidate you into silence!
Too Much Violence Keeps One Entertained
The action sequences are engaging and keep you sitting on the edge of your seat as Ranbir Kapoor emerges as the invincible man who survives being shot at which leads to a failing heart, and so much more. Throughout the movie, the action scenes are badass with Ranbir Kapoor who comes out with guns blazing and how. The film is so detail-oriented that one can see the actor’s muscles movies as he shoots his shot at his enemies with his big gun. The blood and gore are real and it’s absolutely mind-blowing how SRV keeps one on the edge in a scene where all you can hear are guns and all you can see is a bunch of men being killed by RK. The scene where Ranbir is dressed in a white dhoti kurta which turns red after being soaked in his own blood mixed with that of those he killed is absolutely engaging. The violence paired with the kickass background score kept me on the edge of my seat.
The fight between Bobby Deol’s Abrar and Ranbir Kapoor’s Ranvijay is animalistic in nature as they engage in hand-to-hand combat while B Praak’s Saari Duniya Jalaa Dunga plays in the background. There was not a moment when I looked away from the screen, especially with Lord Bobby looking so menacing with his veiny arms. Though all the violence seems pointless in the end, it’s still worth it considering how riveting the action is.
Sandeep Reddy Vanga Did Bobby Deol Dirty
Sandeep Reddy Vanga promised us a bite of Bobby Deol in the trailer of Animal but all we got was a tiny piece in all of 2 scenes which is beyond disappointing. I took an instant dislike to Bobby Deol’s Abrar and wanted nothing more than to witness his story and character arc but SRV gave us a dhoka. The actor’s role was not meaty at all and that’s the one place where we did not get what we were promised. The maker failed to do justice to Bobby’s character by not diving deeper into his story. Too much focus on Ranbir seems to have spoilt this dish for all of us. Bobby was underutilized and how. There’s no forgiving this wasted potential unless SRV gives us a Abrar Haque spin-off! I might be very forgiving in that case. Overall, I’d say Bobby was a cameo but we were promised a menacing villain.
“Look How They Massacred My Boy”
There was so much potential in Bobby Deol’s character that could have been explored further, adding layers to the story and presenting a menacing antagonist wreaking havoc on the screen. #Animal pic.twitter.com/B4Aw9L7Us4
— The Cinéprism (@TheCineprism) December 1, 2023
Also Read: Sigmund Freud’s Theory Explains Ranbir Kapoor’s Daddy Issues In Animal, Tamasha And Wake Up Sid; Here’s How It Affects Women!
Sandeep Reddy Vanga Comes Guns Blazing At Women
Let’s face it, Sandeep Reddy Vanga dislikes women. None of his female characters have any depth, they only exist to serve the alpha male. Be it Rashmika’s Geetanjali (who has to put up with a husband who promises to be loyal but cheats on her and then wants her to forgive him because murder ke liye maaf kar diya toh cheating to kya hi hai?) or be it Ranbir’s Ranvijay’s sisters (his sisters are only allowed to fall in love with men he approves because he’s the man of the house but the same doesn’t go for his wife), every woman in the film is being controlled and oppressed in some way or the other. Not that it’s surprising because that is the reality of our society.
It’s absolutely infuriating to watch Ranbir Kapoor’s Ranvijay belittling his wife because he’s in pain and discussing his sex life in front of their family. And let’s not forget that she does not have permission to talk about his father because that’s how he likes it. Not only does he treat Tripti Dimri’s Zoya for his own sexual gratification but the man (who claims to passionately love his wife) openly discusses his wife’s body without taking a moment to think how inappropriate that is. To make matters worse, he’s also the “alpha male” who comments on how Geetanjali has hips wide enough to bear babies because hum toh bas baby-making machines hain na? The crass and crude remarks on women’s bodies and disgustingly suggestive gestures which are nothing but a big “fuck you” to women. I fail to understand why SRV’s protagonist needs to be so casual with the way he discusses women’s anatomy, talks about his penis, sex life and chaddi. FFS, was that really necessary? No offence but the suggestive gestures just made it seem very sadakchaap.
But, I must add that Sandeep Reddy Vanga decided to bring a little more substance to his female characters. If I were to compare Kabir Singh’s Preeti and Geetanjali, the latter definitely had a backbone and chose to purposefully tick off her husband when he cheated on her unlike the meek and subdued Preeti who eventually went back to her toxic masculine, red flag boy with anger issues. It was refreshing to see how she fought back in her own way and did not let his bad behaviour slide. She might have forgiven him for murders but she wasn’t going to forgive him for being the “alpha male” who couldn’t keep it in his pants. On the other hand, Tripti Dimri was nothing more than an object for Ranvijay to play with because she was the spy out to get him but he DID NOT need to sleep with her to make her fall in love with him and speak the truth. Who is going to tell SRV that having sex does not make people fall in love? But then again, Ranvijay was quite literally an animal who lacked a brain and used violence as a solution to every problem. Chalo, thik hai.
The Gender Politics Of It All
I was told by someone to keep gender politics out of movie reviews but if characters and filmmakers have genders and are allowed to see stories with their gender perspective, so are critics. Critics also come with a gender and should be allowed to bring their gender perspective. If I were to put aside the gender politics, this film is worth watching for all the chaos it creates on the big screen but if I bring gender into it, it honestly isn’t worth it. Do we really want to sit here and allow men to use violence as a solution (as if there isn’t enough violence against women already)? Do we really want men to expect women to forgive them for their bad behaviour? Should we be okay with a man wooing a woman by telling her that she has the perfect body to bear kids? NGL but I’d slap the man who said anything like that to me, let alone discuss sex and nether region in a disgusting manner. But that also does not change the fact that this movie does not try to justify the protagonist’s bad behaviour. It just showcases his journey of how he destroyed everything good in his life because he did not want to go to therapy.
What Doesn’t Work For Animal?
The chip-thin plot is where the fault lies. While the action and performances take the cake, the editing and weak plot set up the viewers for a disappointing ending. The first half is engaging but the second half feels dragged. All the violence and gore seemed very pointless in the end when Lord Bobby’s character did not get the screen time, character arc and backstory that he deserved.
What Works For Animal?
The kickass performances by Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Bobby Deol truly make the film worth watching. The OG Sandeep Reddy Vanga violence and bloodbath with a gripping track kept me hooked so, there’s that. The dialogue might be crass in many places but the references, surprising comic timing and punchlines had the theatre cracking up. TBH, Anil Kapoor’s chest hair dialogue really had me giggling. Even the most cringeworthy dialogues were put in place to make the viewers laugh and they did but I’m not ready to discuss Ranvijay’s pubic hair yet. Kya zaroorat this uski? I’m not feeling very forgiving about it. Another thing to note is how SRV is silently sending us coded messages in his film that run deep. For example, RK’s Ranvijay loses his hearing after a big fight. He then turns to a hearing aid which helps him hear and it goes to show that he can hear but not listen or at least that’s what my perception of it is. Further, during the fight with Bobby, RK’s hearing aid falls off which means that he cannot listen and Bobby cannot or does not want to talk. Now, you know what I’m getting at.
There’s no doubt that Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal had the wrong message for our patriarchal society but at the same time, it’s art and the artist did warn us that it’s about to get worse. The story is so complex that it may take a person several days to completely fathom it or learn the hidden message which Vanga decided to let the viewers pick for themselves. Also, don’t forget to wait back for the end credits scene which promises more bloodshed in the Animal Park! With that being said, I couldn’t help but give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars for ensuring that waking up at 6 am was at least worth some of the mehnat (not completely but phir bhi).
Psst…this review may seem very complex but it’s just like Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s film Animal. Perceive it as you want, to each their own. Mic drop!
Also Read: Sam Bahadur Review: This Meghna Gulzar Film Is All Foreplay, No Action; Vicky Kaushal Shines!
FYI, Animal is currently playing in the theatres across India and it’s the one movie that I would recommend you watch on the big screen because baaki jo bhi ho, movie toh badass hai!