The movie Animal is a recent hit at the box office, directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga and featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Anil Kapoor, and cameo appearances by Bobby Deol and Tripti Dimri. It revolves around a son seeking revenge for his father and is packed with bullets, blasts, and bloodshed. While the director promised intense violence that many were eager to see, this article won't focus on that.
Instead, it raises a toast to a different aspect—scenes highlighting the fine line between masculinity and toxic masculinity. While being masculine is acceptable, the film inadvertently touches on the darker side, where excessive masculinity veers into misogyny. There's a seamless shift that I observed, and let's take a look at them.
A Woman Does Not Require An 'Alpha' Male To Survive
Ranbir Kapoor's character, Ranvijay Singh manipulates a woman's beliefs until she calls off her engagement, all to prove the point that a woman supposedly requires an 'alpha' male to survive this world. She fell for the manipulation, as many might, but a partnership isn't solely about seeking protection; it seeks love, care, and respect every single day.
In the same sequence, he says, "You have a big pelvis; you can produce healthy children." It came across as inappropriate. However, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga discussed this controversial scene during an interview with Galatta Plus. When questioned about this scene, Vanga acknowledged adding it for its shock value. He referred to it as a compliment.
He said, "He is giving a reason that I’m seeing a future with you that we’ll get married and have babies. I thought that was a compliment. I never thought…how you found it ugly."
Being Masculine Is Fine But Being Toxic Is Not
Singh pulls his wife's bra strap multiple times until it hurts her so much that she slaps him. He tells her to undress in front of the house help. And the cherry on top? He tells her not to marry anyone else if he dies, seeking revenge; it's like she's not just his love but some kind of possession he wants to own even after he's gone. That's him taking "being masculine" to the next level that he becomes completely toxic.
Infidelity Can Not Have Any Validation
In Ranvijay Singh's world, it's totally fine for him to have a reason to cheat on his wife for what he sees as a valid reason. But when she suggests doing the same and asks for forgiveness, he shouts that he'd kill her. Classic sexism at its finest, and honestly, it left me speechless but this guy got cheered in the theatres.
Mocking Period Pads Is Unjustified
So, Ranbir Kapoor's character insensibly equates his unsteady behaviour to women's periods, claiming he changes them 40 times a day, whereas a woman does it four times a month (or something like that). Using such comparisons casually or mockingly is disrespectful and dismissive of the actual struggles women face during their menstrual cycles. Then, he shows his double standards when he roams around naked in his yard to celebrate his new-fit body just to seek validation from everyone. Can he let his wife celebrate her body in the same way to seek validation? I mean, making that fit body involves the same serious hard work too, regardless of gender.
Mother Caught Agonising Struggle
The character of the mother undergoes an agonising struggle. Witnessing such helplessness is something anyone could never bear to see in their own mother. She's depicted as lacking respect from her husband, deprived of love from her son, and caught in the middle of their conflict. One scene where the husband orders that she intervene with their son and the son urges her to stay away from the situation left me pondering—why her?
Views expressed are the author's own.