The Hindi movie Animal is directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga and stars Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Tripti Dimri, Shakti Kapoor, Prem Chopra

Where can you watch Animal in the UAE?

Animal is currently playing in cinemas across the UAE. You can book your tickets at VOX Cinemas or Novo Cinemas.

Animal Review

3 /5
Pros:
  • Ranbir Kapoor
  • Visceral approach
  • Intense emotion

Cons:

  • Decidedly long
  • Second half
  • No organic flow


Popular opinions on social media do not easily sway Director Sandeep Reddy Vanga. Right or wrong, he sticks to his guns and goes against conventional ideas. In an increasingly woke world, where liberals decide what is kosher or not in films, Sandeep didn’t hold back in thinking up a hero in his first film who was all toxic and nasty. It didn’t go down well with the liberals. But Sandeep couldn’t care less as his movie Arjun Reddy, and its remake in Hindi (Kabir Singh), did well at the box office. 

For Animal, he has unabashedly gone for similar tropes and, again —  going against established norms — has chosen a longish narrative. At 3 hours and 21 minutes of runtime, Animal has to be among the longest-running movies in recent times. This all points to Sandeep’s confidence and belief.

But this attitude can be a double-edged sword. We get to see both sides of this approach in Animal, which, as the trailer promised, is a father-son emotional drama that runs on the fuel of Ranbir Kapoor’s fiery performance.  He is the alpha male, the one who is not squeamish about talking politically incorrect things to women, the one who has no qualms about unleashing violence, the Arjun Reddy clone, if you will.

To create a character that many love to hate is one thing, but to fit him in the right kind of movie and script is another. That is where Sandeep falters. His protagonist, hate him or not, is compelling.

But a film is not just about one idiosyncratic individual. It needs a narrative. Ranvijay Singh (Ranbir Kapoor) is the man-child, the son of millionaire dad Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor). Balbir is a typical top-flying business honcho. A stentorian, he has little time for his son, who adores and admires to the point of obsession, which, as any psychologist would tell you, is a disaster for your mental makeup. The affection and love of his mom and sisters are somehow not enough for the daddy’s son. As the dad has no space for validating or acknowledging his son’s progress, the latter gets gremlins in his mind.

But they lie dormant as he grows up, first in a boarding school and then in the US. He is married to Gitanjali (Rashmika Mandana) after a strange romance, and when things look like they may settle down in Ranvijay Singh’s life, there is an attempt on his father’s life. He returns to India, looking to remove the malcontents who targeted his dad. For his part, the father understands what his son has become without the attention that he should have showered early on. But it is a bit late in both of their lives by now. What follows is bloodshed, violence and relentless attack, exactly the kind we are numbed to watching in many recent films.

In Sandeep’s universe, everything is visceral, and that impacts — in a good and bad way. In the first half, when it begins, it is interesting as the man bereft of the person he loves the most runs amok. The off-kelter things that he speaks to the woman who will become his wife later shock you in an acceptable sort of way. But post the interval, it gets tiresome when you get more of the same. Sandeep gets trapped in his own cliches. The arrival of a revenge-seeking villain, Abrar (Bobby Deol), doesn’t kick in any more pulsation, and the gore and action that follows stupefy you. It is all performative.  There is some extra-marital dangling, too, to further incur the wrath of feminists who, anyhow, have their fangs sharpened for Sandeep.

But Ranbir Kapoor’s conviction in a role that is strangely an extension of Sanju — a troubled son fond of violence and guns — is exemplary. He is all heart as a violence-loving man-child. The energy needed to carry this troublesome character is sustained right through. Anil Kapoor, as a helpless and hapless dad, is splendid. But he always is. Rashmika has a stretch in which she is very good. But her role is patchy, and the rest of the women in this man-dominated world of Sandeep have nothing much to do.  

Amit Roy’s camerawork is robust, exactly the kind the film needs. Harshavardhan Rameshwar’s background score has the right heft, while Saurabh Gupta’s dialogues are explicit and no-holds-barred. But they lack the organic forcefulness that makes such lines register. Sandeep Vanga’s fixation with intense characters is, in a sense, like Ranvijay’s equation with his dad — it brings out the best and worst in him.  

In the end, Animal is an alpha male but a bad beta.

Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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