In the world of Bollywood, where narratives often dance between the realms of fantasy and reality, ‘Animal’ emerges as a unique beast, both in its ambition and execution. Ranbir Kapoor takes center stage as Ranvijay, a character whose journey from opulence to rage forms the crux of this cinematic tale.
The Plot Unveiled:
The film unfolds in a non-linear fashion, with a prosthetically aged Kapoor narrating a seemingly unrelated story about a monkey in the year 2056. As the plot delves into flashbacks, we witness the transformation of Vijay from a privileged young man into what the film labels an “animal” – a creature driven by uncontrollable instincts.
A Man’s World of Excess:
‘Animal’ portrays a world where the ultra-rich wield power with impunity. Vijay’s actions, including mass murder, seemingly go unchecked in a society dominated by his father Balbir, portrayed by Anil Kapoor. The movie’s violence, unlike some of its contemporaries, lacks the depth to comment on the trappings of masculinity or societal injustices.
A Familiar Echo:
The film echoes certain themes from director Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s previous work, ‘Kabir Singh.’ It challenges critics and audiences with a twisted take on commentary from the earlier film, portraying Vijay as a tragic hero with a penchant for violence. The movie plays with gender dynamics, presenting a different shade of misogyny and power play.
The Cast and Their Struggles:
Anil Kapoor’s portrayal of Balbir, a distant father consumed by his empire, adds depth to the narrative. However, the character seems to struggle within the script’s inconsistent justification of Vijay’s rage. Ranbir Kapoor’s entry into the film feels like a déjà vu of his previous roles, with the movie attempting to redefine audience expectations.
A Symphony of Shock and Superficiality: ‘
Animal’ sacrifices storytelling finesse for shocking sequences, often relying on gratuitous violence and provocative sexism. The film’s attempt to bait cultural commentators with its treatment of women and its portrayal of a ‘new age Indian man’ falls flat, lacking both depth and conviction.
The movie exists in a reality that neither mirrors our own nor fully embraces the fantastical elements of Bollywood. Loose ends and underdeveloped subplots leave the audience grappling for coherence, while the film’s portrayal of the ultra-rich getting away with murder feels disconnected from any recognizable world.
The Cultural Quandary:
‘Animal’ attempts to tie its narrative to contemporary India, using elements like a havan and references to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat.’ However, it stumbles when it comes to portraying diversity, stereotyping the antagonist based on his religious identity and perpetuating harmful clichés.
In its pursuit of provocation, ‘Animal’ may succeed in generating discussions, but it lacks the substance needed to leave a lasting impact. The film’s descent into shock value and superficiality, combined with a meandering plot, results in a 3-and-a-half-hour spectacle that struggles to hold the audience’s attention beyond the midway mark.
‘Animal’ may attract attention for its audacity, but it falls short of delivering a cinematic experience that transcends its shock and awe tactics. As debates around the film inevitably unfold, one cannot help but question whether it’s the cinema we deserve or the cinema we need in 2023.