Animal Movie Review: Ranbir Kapoor Transforms Into A Wild Beast, Delivering A Career-Defining Performance

Animal Movie Review: Ranbir Kapoor Transforms Into A Wild Beast, Delivering A Career-Defining Performance

Despite its notable flaws, the Sandeep Reddy Vanga directorial captivates viewers with a compelling central act

Vijayalakshmi NarayananUpdated: Thursday, January 25, 2024, 01:26 PM IST
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Director: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Tripti Dimri, Charu Shankar, Saloni Batra, Anshul Chauhan, Siddhant Karnick, Shakti Kapoor, Suresh Oberoi, Prem Chopra, Babloo Prithveeraj

Where: Running in cinemas

Rating: 3 stars

In a former interview, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga asserted that Kabir Singh should not be labeled as a violent film. He issued a challenge to critics and trolls, vowing to showcase what a violent film entails. With Animal now playing in theatres, the film serves as Vanga's defiant response to those who criticized him for Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh.

As a cinegoer with a critical eye, it is crucial to approach films with objectivity and purpose. In the case of Vanga's previous works, I often found myself taking a clear stance in the ongoing debates, challenging his messaging. However, Animal presented a different scenario, leaving me in a state of perplexity. Despite being deeply engrossed in the evolving storyline, the film's execution appeared rushed and incomplete, not to mention the problematic messaging.

Clocking in at a lengthy 3 hours and 23 minutes, Animal narrates the tale of Rannvijay Singh (Ranbir Kapoor), who yearns for approval from his father, Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor), the head of the Swastik Steel conglomerate. Balbir, despite showering affection on his daughters Reet (Saloni Batra) and Roop (Anshul Chauhan), remains skeptical about his son's intentions, much to his wife Jyoti’s (Charu Shankar) chagrin. Rannvijay's determination to win his father's validation intensifies when Balbir places the future of Swastik in the hands of his son-in-law Varun (Siddhant Karnick). Simultaneously, an old adversary, Abrar Haque (Bobby Deol), embarks on a mission to eliminate Balbir and his heirs. Upon his father's fatal assault, Rannvijay is consumed by fury and is prepared to take extreme measures to annihilate those responsible for Balbir's plight. The pursuit of vengeance directs him towards a destructive path that will strip away everything precious to him, including his harmonious family life he shares with his wife Geetanjali (played by Rashmika Mandanna).

Written, edited, and directed by Sandeep, a significant portion of Animal's script is the collaborative effort of Sandeep himself, his brother and producer Pranay Reddy Vanga, along with Suresh Bandaru and Saurabh Gupta. This is where Animal faces significant challenges, attempting to incorporate multiple themes and becoming overly indulgent in its duration, which frankly wasn’t needed. You are bound to feel dissatisfied, as several plot points are left unresolved without proper closure. There is never a complete understanding of why Rannvijay resorts to violent acts, seemingly under the guise of extreme protectiveness towards his father. Similarly, the intense determination of Abrar to eliminate Balbir lacks a clear explanation. Even though a backstory is provided, its rationale feels somewhat arbitrary (for the lack of a better word). Delving into the film's troubling messaging is, frankly speaking, an endless debate that could extend for weeks.

Strictly from the film's viewpoint, redemption is found in the haunting background score composed by Harshvardhan Rameshwar. Each scene emanates an atmosphere of doom and dread, foreshadowing events before they unfold. Similar to Vanga's past directorial ventures, the soundtrack of Animal stands out as its primary strength. During a casual conversation with the media, Vanga openly admitted to being an ardent fan of Punjabi music. The incorporation of rich Punjabi lyrics in certain songs reflects his diverse musical taste. In addition to its expansive soundtrack, the action choreography by Supreme Sundar is another noteworthy highlight. The pre-interval action sequence is skillfully executed, featuring an unconventional song as its backdrop. Each moment from the said sequence deserves applause and cheers from the audience.

Animal relies heavily on the capable shoulders of its lead actor, and boy, does Ranbir deliver an outstanding performance. He effortlessly showcases the best of his career, keeping the audience captivated whenever he graces the screen. Surprisingly, Rashmika isn't merely confined to the role of the hero's muse. As Geetanjali, she commands attention with her no-nonsense attitude, eliciting cheers in many scenes. While Kapoor Sr. stands tall as the patriarch, his role in the film is unfortunately limited, a sentiment that applies to Bobby as well. Among the supporting cast, Siddhant as Varun, Saloni as Reet, and Tripti Dimri as Zoya bring substantial weight to their respective roles. Shakti Kapoor as Mishra Uncle and Suresh Oberoi as the grandfather, despite their limited screen time, assert their presence effectively.

Animal had the potential for greater impact if the excesses were reduced, and more focus was placed on the narrative. The attempt to shock the audience with graphic depictions of throats and organs being sliced, like the lead hero is playing Fruit Ninja, dominates the film, leaving viewers craving a more substantial storyline. However, if you're a fan of the leading man, a trip to the nearest cinema screen might still be worthwhile.

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