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Bloodshed, bloodshed, and then some…

6 Dec 2023 Animal reveiw By HUBERT VAZ

Movie Review: Animal Genre: family Drama Starring: Ranbir Kapoor Rashmika Mandanna, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol

With Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal, Bollywood seems to have arrived. And though this three and a half hour potboiler is devoid of the usual time-tested masala that the Khans have been marketing over the past decade, it keeps you gripped and entertained throughout.

The absence of any ‘item number’ or illogical song sequences shot in the deserts of the Arabian Gulf – with kilometres of chiffon fluttering over the horizon – is not felt as the vibrant screenplay of this movie provides enough drama for you to be oblivious of the tub of popcorn in your lap. After all, who can keep munching corn or slurping cola when the screen is often covered with splashes of blood that seem to come into your face, even in the non-3D format.

Directed and edited by Sandeep Reddy Vanga (credited with the success of Kabir Singh, one of the highest grossers of Hindi cinema) this movie has overtones of the central character similar to the Shahid starrer. However, Ranbir does it with more punch (no pun intended) and mannerisms that reminds one of his role in Sanju.

The story revolves around Vijay Singh (Ranbir), the son of Balbir Singh, a Delhi-based business baron heading an established steel company – Swastik Steel with a generational conflict in its history. Vijay’s family includes his father Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor), mother Jyoti, and sisters Reet and Roop. The tension between father and son stem from Vijay’s adoration for his busy father who has no time for him since childhood.

Following an incident during his childhood, wherein a teen-aged Vijay brings an AK-47 to school and hurts a group of boys who bullied his sister, Balbir sends him away to a boarding school in United States. Vijay returns to Delhi after completing his education, where he attends the engagement of his former school classmate, Geetanjali (Rashmika) whom he secretly loved and convinces her to break her engagement and marry him.

The plot picks up momentum when Vijay returns from the US with his wife and two kids, after a long gap of no contact, when he learns that his father was shot. His mission to get to the core of the assassination attempt, brings the innate animal within him to the fore.

He visits his native village in Punjab and ropes in a batch of his male cousins to form his own task force to get cracking. They ultimately track the culprit and gun him down in cold blood. Shortly afterward, Vijay goes to meet an arms dealer, Freddy, at a hotel, where he faces a backlash from a volley of assailants and what follows is a rollercoaster of bloodshed (akin to a brutal video game). And if the director does need a kick in his pants for a faux pas, it would be for making this ruthless task force mouth Punjabi lyrics while Ranbir single-handedly undertakes his killing spree.

If you want to see some real acting by the key characters – Anil Kapoor, Ranbir, Rashmika, and Bobby Deol, who is seen in a unique role that he has not played till date and which will shape the future of his acting career on sound lines, this movie delivers. The 18+ rating accorded to the movie is mainly for the excess violence and bloodshed, as well as (limited) foul language used, rather than anything else.

Be prepared to see some barbaric scenes till the end (even when you’ve stood up to leave). And if you’re chicken-hearted, just stay home and watch The Smurfs.

****

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