Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s controversial film Animal will be released on OTT platform Netflix on January 26. Animal stars actors Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Bobby Deol, Tripti Dimri, and others.
Sharing the announcement, Netflix wrote on X, “The air is dense and the temperature is rising. Witness his wild rage in Animal, streaming from 26 January on Netflix in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.”
In Animal, Ranvijay Singh (played by Ranbir Kapoor) is the son of a business tycoon. He is pathologically obsessed with his father Balbir Singh (played byAnil Kapoor), and perpetually seeks his validation. But Balbir overlooks his son’s needs and deprives him of the care and attention as he is occupied with managing his business empire. Ranvijay leaves the house after Balbir does not approve of his marriage with Geetanjali (Rashmika). He returns to India to seek vengeance following a murder attempt on his father.
Animal is Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s third film after Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh (the Hindi remake of Arjun Reddy). The film landed in a lot of controversies as many critics found fault with the film’s regressive portrayal of women. The film was also seen as Vanga’s reply to film critics who had trashed his earlier films for being misogynistic. Critics said that Vanga doubled down on his regressive narrative in Animal.
In her review on TNM, film reviewer Sowmya Rajendran called the movie an overlong, tedious circus of low-IQ alpha males. “Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s movie has the kind of writing you’ll find in BDSM erotica like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, but presented with the same earnestness of “pure love” that we saw in ‘Arjun Reddy’,” she said.
The Guardian wrote, “Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s bombastic action film is high on shock tactics and low on substance.” While criticising Vanga’s previous film which too were misogynistic, the review said, “Animal sinks even further into regressive depths, resulting in one of the vilest protagonists to have graced the big screen.”
Another critic Sucharita Tyagi, wrote, “Animal isn’t written to present finesse in cinematic storytelling, character development, sub-plot, conflict, catharsis, or pathos. The film is a 3-and-a-half-hour-long bait for cultural commentators. It’s almost sad really.”
Responding to her review, the official X account of Animal wrote, “#Animal remains invictus at the Box Office”
In reply to this provocation, Sucharita wrote, “yes. Please do enlighten me. Email me at email@example.com.”
Writer, poet and popular lyricist Javed Akthar also had criticised the film. At a film festival discussion, he had said, “I believe it’s a testing time for the young filmmakers today as to what kind of characters they want to create that the society will applaud. For instance, if there’s a film in which a man asks a woman to lick his shoe or if a man says it’s okay to slap a woman, and if the film is a super duper hit, then that’s very dangerous.”
Again offended by the criticism, the X account of Animal wrote, “Writer of your calibre cannot understand the betrayal of a lover (Between Zoya & Ranvijay) then all your art form is big FALSE & If a woman (betrayed and fooled by a man in the name of love) would have said "lick my shoe" then you guys would have celebrated it by calling it feminism. Let love be free from the politics of gender. Let's just call them lovers. LOVER cheated and lied. LOVER said lick my shoe. Period.”
Many believe that the account is handled by Vanga himself.
Lashing out at critics for dissing his films, Vanga dubbed them as “illiterate.” “You’re making money, fame, name, everything by criticising my film, then go ahead. That’s what happened with most of the critics during Kabir Singh. Their shot to fame was criticising ‘Kabir Singh’…Nobody speaks about the craft, the editing, sound design, because they are literally illiterate, uneducated when it comes to films. They have no sense of how to criticise the film or review the film,” he said.
“In a way, I understood their mental status and their IQ…If morality comes into the picture, then you can’t make this film. “If everybody is going to focus just on morality, we should stop making films. Let’s just make cartoons,” Vanga had said.
Despite the strong criticism against the film, Animal became a huge blockbuster.