Bollywood’s ‘Animal’ Sparks Concerns Over Toxic Masculinity and Misogyny

animal sparks controversy

Sandeep Reddy Vanga, the director who carved his niche with films like ‘Arjun Reddy’ and ‘Kabir Singh,’ is once again in the limelight with his latest offering, ‘Animal.’ Known for his portrayal of rogue, toxic, and often violent characters, Vanga’s films have sparked both admiration and controversy.

The recently released ‘Animal,’ starring Ranbir Kapoor as ‘Ranvijay Singh,’ has garnered attention for its intense depiction of obsessive behavior. Ranvijay’s pursuit of his father’s rivals reinforces the ‘alpha male’ image, a portrayal bound to raise eyebrows, especially among feminists. On the flip side, the character ‘Geetanjali,’ played by Rashmika Mandanna, is portrayed as submissive and silent.

The film, as described by critics, weaves a narrative where Ranvijay’s compliments to Geetanjali delve into uncomfortable territory. From scenes of apparent violence to instances of mansplaining and infidelity, Vanga seems to have perfected the art of creating characters that could be deemed a nightmare for many women.

In an interview with CNN-News18, Sandeep Reddy Vanga addressed the criticism received by ‘Kabir Singh,’ stating, “I didn’t think much about it. I don’t think that Kabir Singh was a misogynistic film. Only four-five people felt offended, and created noise about it. I never took them seriously.” Brushing off the criticism, he downplayed the concerns, emphasizing that the negative reactions were from a limited perspective.

Despite ‘Kabir Singh’ being a box office hit in 2019, it faced backlash for glorifying toxic masculinity and misogyny. Vanga’s response, dismissing the critique as the perspective of a handful, stirred further debate about the responsibility of filmmakers in shaping societal values.

Recently, Ranbir Kapoor shed light on the title ‘Animal,’ explaining, “I think the reason why Sandeep Reddy Vanga called this film Animal is because an animal behaves out of instinct. They don’t behave out of thought.” Kapoor elaborated that his character acts on impulse to protect his family, providing insight into the director’s choice of the title.

As ‘Animal’ continues to stir conversations, it remains to be seen how audiences and critics will respond to Vanga’s unapologetic portrayal of characters and the thematic choices that have become synonymous with his directorial style. In the ever-evolving landscape of Indian cinema, discussions around the impact of such films on societal perceptions persist, making ‘Animal’ a focal point in the ongoing dialogue about responsible storytelling in Bollywood.

The concern raised by Kirkire is not isolated but part of a broader dialogue on the responsibility of filmmakers to depict characters and narratives that align with progressive values. Critics argue that movies have a powerful role in shaping perceptions and attitudes, and there is a need for greater awareness about the potential consequences of perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

As debates on the impact of popular culture on societal values continue, it remains to be seen how Bollywood responds to such critiques and whether it will take steps to address concerns about the portrayal of toxic masculinity and misogyny in films like ‘Animal.’ In the meantime, the discussion sparked by Kirkire’s comments sheds light on the ongoing struggle to balance artistic expression with the responsibility to promote positive social change.

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