OTTplay Logo
settings icon
profile icon

Animal review: Ranbir Kapoor is the 'mane' event, overpowering the screenplay that has bitten off more than it can chew

Ranbir Kapoor is a wild rider in Sandeep Reddy Vanga's Animal who needed a safari guide.

Animal review: Ranbir Kapoor is the 'mane' event, overpowering the screenplay that has bitten off more than it can chew
Ranbir Kapoor in a still from Animal

Last Updated: 03.05 PM, Dec 01, 2023

Animal story:

Animal is the story of a man (Ranbir Kapoor) whose love for his father (Anil Kapoor) is limitless and unbounded. As the father-son relationship deteriorates, a series of extraordinary events cause the son to go through a remarkable change.

Animal review:

Ranbir Kapoor recently called Animal the "adult-rated" Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. This I agree to, while also singing Hum Saath Saath Hain with the same decibel B Praak sings Saari Duniya Jala Denge. The Sandeep Reddy Vanga film is all things 1990s, but filled with gore and unimaginable violence.


The film is filled with weapons, words, and stares with stoic silences. If Kabir Singh's slap is still a topic of discussion four years after the film's release, Vanga has intensified the controversy, with multiple slaps being planted across Ranbir's face throughout the film. But the violence in this film is so loud and clear that it's still reeling in my mind. 

If violence takes centre stage in Animal, the screenplay conveniently tries to drive from the backseat. The film promises a faltering relationship between a father and son, but that's not the case when it comes to displaying it on screen. The failed relationship is hardly explored and that becomes too jarring to follow, but Vanga makes sure he covers it up by slashing people left, right, and centre. 

Ranbir plays a middle child caught between an elder and a younger sister. He taunts everyone and claims his innocence when questioned about his wrongdoings (i.e., crime), assuming that a father would typically be in charge of such matters. He wants to be validated, but also shows that the absence of his father made him take on an untold responsibility at a younger age, which became a crazy obsession. If the film's basic premise was to show a father and son's strained relationship, the intention was just a catalyst to take the story forward to something else, which is not something Ranbir Kapoor deserves to be in. 

The actor, who is brilliant and shoulders the film entirely with utmost responsibility, has a screenplay that doesn't support him. While Ranbir shines in the film, the sequences become chaotic, leaving you as bewildered as Anil Kapoor's character, who remains perplexed about what is happening around him.

The first half commences with an introduction to Ranbir's character, followed by a time jump that transports us to the future, only to subsequently go back in time. The protracted interval sequence engrosses the audience as they endeavour to unravel how the story will ultimately align, captivating their attention and earning the accolade of being the finest since Jawan, which premiered earlier this year.

The interval sequence was so well-suited for a climax that it gave the impression that you'd watched an entire movie with nothing left. The second half drags so much that the filmmakers added songs to it, making it more appealing and grabbing the right attention.

In one scene in the second half, Ranbir says, "Unfortunately, it's a man's world," all while his character defines "alpha male" at the beginning of the film. If you believe them, you should reconsider and read it again. Amid the drag of the second half, the best sequence is between Ranbir and Rashmika Mandanna (yes, the teeth-clenching one). It is a bold sequence, with all shields broken, in the literal sense.

At the end of the day, Animal is Ranbir Kapoor's world, and the rest of the cast is just living in it. He disrespects everyone, and although I don't want to say it, he still comes across as a man-child trying to be the man of the house. The actor bares it all, from talking crass to obscene action and even going full monty. You have to wait, watch, and also come to terms with the context here. 

This is Ranbir's boldest role to date, and there was never any doubt about it. The connection and backstory between Ranbir and the villains, especially Bobby Deol (the main antagonist), cause the entire storyline to plummet. A villain without a backstory would have worked to an extent in Animal, and that's what makes the final act of the film the weakest. 

It negates the entire buildup of the film, which would have ended in two hours, give or take. The long dialogues and bloodcurdling action sequences make the film suck you in entirely, only to make it come out as an add-on to make up for a weak screenplay in which Vanga didn't realise how to make a twist or put an end to it entirely. 

The 90s family drama seems inspired by Ekta Kapoor's series, where a twist takes about 10 episodes and the story conveniently jumps 20 years into the future. However, Animal fails to effectively portray the character's journey towards maturity, rendering it all for nothing.

Calling a spade a spade, what works in Animal is Ranbir Kapoor, and he is present in all possible frames. Ranbir delivers his dialogue without any remorse or even attempting to make the audience hate him at any point. There's no sequence in which the actor does not give a bang-on performance.

Supporting him very well in the film is Anil Kapoor, but the actor is underutilised; you wish there was more of him. The story had the potential to tap into the father-son relationship in a better way with depth, which was indicated in the trailer. The set-up is brilliant, but if you hope for more, the film will try to end, but you keep on waiting for it.

Rashmika Mandanna delivers a decent performance and is an extension of Preeti's character in Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh. She blindly follows her love but is equally rebellious, not hesitating to be submissive or even enter a borderline abusive relationship with her partner.

A major disappointment is Bobby Deol, who has little to offer in a three-and-a-half-hour-long film. Three scenes don't make up for what the character could have been and fail the actor in bringing out his best. 

Triptii Dimri is added to the film without any conviction. She is there solely to introduce a new character arc for Ranbir's character. A wasted opportunity here!

Animal will initially captivate you with its glory in the first half, but it starts to feel like a series with unnecessary episodes added simply to prolong the film.

Animal verdict:

Ranbir Kapoor is as shiny as his long black hair in the film, with only excessive violence overshadowing the compelling narrative, which was the initial promise of the film.


    Get the latest updates in your inbox