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Geethanjali From Animal : A Woman Empowered Or A Victim Of Manipulation?

What do you think?

Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s film “Animal” is centered around the complex father-son relationship between Ranbir Kapoor’s character, Ranvijay, and his father Balbir Singh, portrayed by Anil Kapoor. The story revolves around Ranvijay’s admiration for his father, who perceives his son as a threat to the family and society.

While the film is often criticized for its portrayal of toxic masculinity by Ranbir Kapoor’s character, it is also important to acknowledge the character of Geethanjali, portrayed by Rashmika Mandana.

Geethanjali is an unpredictable character, who can be strong and stand up for herself at times, but also vulnerable enough to fall prey to Ranvijay’s manipulations. In her introduction scene, she is getting engaged to a man chosen by her parents. But, Ranvijay enters the scene and confuses her into believing that she deserves an “alpha male” as her partner, specifically, Ranvijay himself, rather than the guy she was engaged to. He even comments on her pelvis as a way to woo her, and she falls for it that she cancels her engagement and elopes with Ranvijay. This particular scene shows her weak state of mind where she is being easily manipulated by Ranvijay.

In the later scenes where, Ranvijay returns home along with Geethanjali and his kids after being gone for 8 years upon hearing the shootout of Balbir Singh, Ranvijay’s sister questions him about not contacting them for 8 years for which Geethanjali stands up for her husband and raises questions why didn’t they either. Here, Geethanjali is portrayed as someone who stands up for herself and her family.

That is soon erased when she doesn’t raise her opinion when Ranvijay takes an oath to slit the throat of whoever was a part of the assassination attempt on his father. Ranvijay’s oath was purely out of rage and impulse to hurt whoever hurt his father but never once he thought about the lives of the people that he’d be putting in jeopardy because of that. Even though Geethanjali doesn’t support this impulsive decision, she doesn’t oppose it openly either. 

In another scene where, Ranvijay is shown as a chain smoker despite being on the donor list for a heart transplant, Geethanjali shows her frustration and asks Ranvijay to quit smoking. Her anger is immediately erased by Ranvijay’s manipulation as he reminds her of their intimate times. This scene shows how easy it is to divert, manipulate, and mold her the way Ranvijay wants to.

In the scene where Ranvijay confesses to Geethanjali about his infidelity, all of her bottled-up emotions are scattered as she finally lets Ranvijay know what’s going on inside her mind and how much he’s hurt her. Despite her anger and disgust towards Ranvijay’s infidelity and despite her announcing that she needs a divorce, the later scene shows that she accepts the glass of milk given to her by Ranvijay and they share an intimate moment. 

Geethanjali’s weak characterization peaked here. She was a woman who just found out that her husband was having an affair with Zoya, played by Tripti Dimri, he refused to kill her despite her plea, and he justified this affair by saying that he did it to avenge those who were attempting to kill his father. Despite standing strong on her decision to need a divorce, she continues to live with him a little longer.

The climax is again uncertain when Geethanjali walks out of the house with her kids, finally taking a stand for herself but that is again a question mark when her kid stops the car and runs towards his father and Geethanjali is shown walking back to them, teary-eyed.

Women written by men, specifically by Sandeep Reddy Vanga in this matter, are nothing more than a dysfunctional robot that switches to human now and then to show emotions but are immediately shut down by their man’s manipulation. While sacrifices are important in a relationship, losing oneself in the process isn’t a sacrifice worth making for in any relationship. 

 

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