Animal is all about toxic masculinity, Alpha Male, family, cigarettes, sex…

Anil Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor in Animal. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Mind you, you can’t take your picks from above. For a record 203 minutes, you have to bear (or enjoy, depending on your mindset and your stand on cinema as entertainment) the whole concoction that panders to today’s star-hungry, violence-crazy audiences.

Make no mistake: Brahmastra, released last year, was probably Ranbir’s only truly wholesome film for the audience in recent times. His characters have always defined the new morality, even the lack of it, and he has always, more than a bit quirkily, made his characters memorable, as in even Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar earlier this year,

To say that he towers in a role that will have his fans metaphorically eating out of their hands (though I guess some of the female species might find this screen character off-putting) is stating the very, very obvious. The Kapoor is at his effortless best, getting into the skin of his totally deviant and amoral persona as Rannvijay like no else could have probably done. Hats off also to the styling and prosthetic team that has given Ranbir multiple looks at various ages and in his youth, which has also helped this best actor among Gen-Zee carve a magnificent performance that ranks among his best-ever.

This film will earn him fans galore, maybe even the much-awaited superstardom (if not attained already, that is! He is even billed in the credit titles as “Superstar Ranbir Kapoor!), but I wish that the Kapoor legacy had been kept substantial at a deeper cinematic level.

But then, that’s my personal nitpick. If this film succeeds in making him get his due in the age when six superstars are ruling and one more (Ranveer Singh) is also aiming for that tag, it will have served its purpose.

At base, Animal (its intended sequel is announced as Animal Park and will surely be made!) is another emotional drama from Sandeep Vanga Reddy of Kabir Singh fame. It has another deviant hero, a long-suffering heroine and a rich tycoon named Balbir (Anil Kapoor) whose family history is the reason for his mental make-up and the story. Rannvijay’s love for his father Balbir, knowing that he is far from being an ideal parent, showcases his basic kink as never before.

That said, the storyline is simple, but peppered with the kind of gore that makes the combined cinema of Ram Gopal Varma, Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj look like a children’s outing! Logic, of course, is as conspicuous by its absence as the sun is at nights. The smallest example is: we do not know how Rannvijay and his wife live contentedly in the US for eight years, when he is thrown out of his house. The characters smoke even in hospital. You got it?

Women are treated as objects that can be dominated and extramarital flings are ‘punished’ with a kiss by the wife—these are just some small examples of where the film goes. A murder for revenge is needlessly executed in public when it could have been done very easily in private. Harmless Punjabi young men turn master shooters and fighters. The police are never seen, no matter if murders by the dozens are executed by everyone, not just in India but also in Scotland.

There are scenes that are supposed to illustrate the ‘Animal’ (Ranbir) and justify his kinks but really show mental psychosis akin to Kabir Singh’s weird behavior as a medico in the same director’s film of that name.

I could go on…

But since comparisons here are inevitable, Kabir Singh, however deviant again, was rescued by a couple of good songs, and, for me, had a climax that was the emotional highlight of the film. These plus points are missing in this blood-fest.

From the supporting cast, Rashmika Mandanna shines only occasionally, and, frankly, Anil Kapoor is just another version of his character in The Night Manager. Bobby Deol is another major downer—not his fault at all, as he is wasted in an all-too-brief role where he just kills, fights and (not a spoiler at all!) dies. Seasoned actors Prem Chopra, Shakti Kapoor and Suresh Oberoi are completely wasted. Upendra Limaye amuses in his cameo.

The dialogues are from good to outrageous, much like the script when not surrendering to the action director and VFX team. The director has a bloody (pun intended) grip on the story that is not for the faint-hearted or lovers of wholesome cinema.

300 crores or more, here we come. But this time, I am going to make an exception—I will NOT give a rating!

I cannot.

T-Series Films’, Cine1 Studios’ & Bhadrakali Pictures’ Animal  Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Murad Khetani & Pranay Reddy Vanga  Directed by:Sandeep Reddy Vanga  Written by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga, Pranay Reddy Vanga, Suresh Bandaru & Saurabh Gupta  Music: Vishal Mishra, Manan Bhardwaj, Shreyas Puranik, Jaani, Ashim Kemson, Harshavardhan Rameshwar, Gurinder Seagal & Jam8  Starring: Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Tripti Dimri, Prem Chopra, Shakti Kapoor, Suresh Oberoi, Ahmad Ibn Umar, Charu Shankar, Siddhant Karnick, Vivek Sharma, Gagandeep Singh, Upendra Limaye, Mathew Varghese, Indira Krishnan, Saloni Batra, Neeven Vaid, Anshul Chauhan, Sanvir Sachdeva, Myreen Grover & others



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