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Arjun Reddy to Kasaba – 10 Polarizing South films that divided audiences before Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal

Here are the 10 polarized South films including Vijay Deverakonda’s Arjun Reddy, Mammootty’s Kasaba, and Thalapathy Vijay’s Sivakasi, that divided audiences before Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal.

Arjun Reddy to Kasaba – 10 Polarizing South films that divided audiences before Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal
Mammootty in Kasaba, Ranbir Kapoor in Animal, Vijay Deverakonda in Arjun Reddy

Last Updated: 11.33 PM, Dec 05, 2023


Animal, the recently released Ranbir Kapoor starrer has been performing extraordinarily at the box office. The action thriller is now set to emerge as one of the biggest hits of the year. However, the Sandeep Reddy Vanga directorial has been called out by a large group of audiences, for its extreme violence and the highly problematic and misogynistic ideas it puts forward.

As social media is now divided over the audiences’ takes on Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal, let’s have a look at the 10 polarizing South films that were bashed heavily by the viewers for their problematic content...

1. Arjun Reddy


The Vijay Deverakonda starrer, which marked the directorial debut of Animal director Sandeep Reddy Vanga, definitely deserves the first place in this list. The love story glorified misogyny, toxic relationships, and domestic violence unapologetically, leaving a large section of its audience deeply disturbed. Arjun Reddy is getting heavily trolled and criticized by the netizens, even after 6 years of its release. However, director Sandeep Reddy still justifies his creative choices, calling it an ‘expression of love’.

2. Sivakasi

The 2005-released movie that starred Thalapathy Vijay in the lead role, was a major box office success of that year. However, the Perarasu directorial was later heavily criticized on social media for its ‘justifications’ for eve-teasing. In a highly problematic scene, leading man Vijay is seen insulting the heroine, played by Asin Thottumkal, for wearing Western clothes that provoke men, when she stands up against an eve teaser. However, for me, the most difficult part was the visual of a young boy who claps hard as the hero continues to shame the woman for her choice of clothes.

3. Kasaba

The 2016-released cop drama featured megastar Mammootty in the role of Rajan Zachariah, a police officer. The Nithin Renji Panicker directorial was heavily criticized by both the audiences and celebrities, including actress Parvathy Thiruvothu, for portraying women in a poor light. In one of the many disturbing scenes in Kasaba, Mammootty’s character is seen pulling a lady police officer close by holding her belt while passing a derogatory comment. It was extremely tough to sit through the film, which has misogyny and sexism sprinkled all over it.

4. Meesa Madhavan

This Dileep starrer helmed by Lal Jose left its audience deeply disturbed with a supposedly ‘romantic’ scene, featuring the hero, and leading lady Kavya Madhavan. In the scene, the protagonist, who is a small-town thief enters the bedroom of the woman he fancies, at night. While she is still asleep, he steals her waist chain and casually cracks some rape ‘jokes’ during the process. Recently, writer Ranjan Pramod revealed that the scene was not written by him and it was not a part of the original screenplay. Well, the scenarist's revelation made Meesa Madhavan an even bigger nightmare for me, who watched the film in theatre as a kid.

5. Pogaru

Dhruva Sarja and Rashmika Mandanna’s 2021-released Kannada film received immense flak on social media for its extremely sexist narrative. Especially, the ‘Karabbu’ song in which the leading man is seen stalking and torturing the female lead to gain her affections, was hated by not just the Kannada audiences, but also the cine-goers across the globe. The Nanda Kishore directorial eventually ended up as a box office disaster.

6. Govindudu Andarivadele

This family entertainer starring Ram Charan and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles, earned immense love from the fans of the stars. However, Govindudu Andarivadele baffled neutral audiences with the supposedly ‘comedy’ scenes, in which Ram Charan’s character who meets Kajal Aggarwal in a pub, clicks her pictures without her permission. Later, he blackmails her and forces her to spend some 'romantic' time with him and all this atrocity is projected as 'humour' in the film. The Krishna Vamsi directorial has been considered one of the most problematic mainstream Telugu films of recent times.

7. Narasimham

The ‘iconic’ proposal scene of this Mohanlal starrer still deeply disturbs many of the neutral audiences including me, who loved the film at the time of its release. Induchoodan, played by Mohanlal proposes marriage to female lead Anuradha (played by Aishwarya) with a lengthy dialogue in the climax. He begins by stating he wants a woman whom he can kick for fun whenever he gets drunk. In another scene of this Shaji Kailas directorial, the hero throws his lady love into a pond as an expression of his love, and she takes it all with devotion.

8. Sullan

This Dhanush starrer helmed by Ramana, which ended up as a below-average grosser is one of the most disturbing films in the National Award-winner’s career. In this film, the leading man is seen pretending to be differently-abled to get physically close to the leading lady. He touches her inappropriately whenever he gets a chance, and his friends motivate him to continue with this atrocity. Well, when the girl finally finds out the truth, he gives a speech about his 'true love', and all the creepy acts are forgiven.

9. iSmart Shankar

This masala film that stars Ram Pothineni has been heavily bashed on the internet ever since its release, for its deeply problematic take on rape. The hero stalks the girl he likes, follows her to her home, and forces himself on her. And guess what, the girl, who initially calls the police for help, suddenly realizes her ‘mistake’ and begins to enjoy the act. When the police come home to rescue her, the lady refuses to take their help stating that she ‘liked’ the guy. Well, such scenarios are only possible in the cinematic universes created by director Puri Jagannadh.

10. Upendra

The celebrated Kannada star directed and played the titular role in this 1999-released film, which is named after himself. The extreme sexism and misogyny in the film have made it one of those films that didn’t age well. Even though the loyal fans of Upendra, the actor still defend the movie stating it doesn’t glorify the acts of its protagonist, it is still deeply sexist, problematic, and an extremely tough watch.

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