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Animal Collective Challenges Javed Akhtar’s Critique, Unveiling the Truth Behind Feminism in Film


Animal Collective Defends Artistic Integrity: Responds Assertively to Javed Akhtar’s Critique on Film and Challenges Misconceptions about Feminism

Javed Akhtar’s recent criticism of Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s film, Animal, sparked a spirited response from the team behind the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer. Akhtar, known for his outspoken views, expressed concern over certain scenes in the film, including one where a man asks a woman to ‘lick his shoe.’ He went on to caution that if such a film becomes a ‘super duper hit,’ it could be deemed as dangerous.

In response, the official handle of Animal took to X (formerly Twitter) to assertively counter Akhtar’s remarks and took a dig at his understanding of complex emotions.

The team behind Animal didn’t mince words, asserting that if a writer of Akhtar’s ‘calibre’ couldn’t grasp the nuances of a lover’s betrayal portrayed in the film, then his entire art form could be considered a sham. They also took the opportunity to jab at the notion of feminism, suggesting that if a woman were to demand a man to ‘lick my shoe’ after being betrayed in the name of love, it might be celebrated as feminism. The statement emphasized the need to let love transcend gender politics and simply acknowledge the characters as lovers who experienced deceit, lies, and, in the specific scene, a controversial demand.


Javed Akhtar had criticized Animal and Kabir Singh during a speech at the Ajanta Ellora International Film Festival in Aurangabad. He expressed concern about the impact of films where characters exhibit behavior like asking a woman to lick a man’s shoe or endorsing violence against women, especially if such films achieve massive success. The reference to Kabir Singh was made in relation to Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s previous film, which had faced its share of criticism for its portrayal of toxic masculinity and abusive relationships.

The Animal team’s response highlighted the particular scene involving Ranbir Kapoor’s character, Rannvijay, demanding that Triptii Dimri’s character, Zoya, lick his shoes as a test of her love. The controversy surrounding this scene had already sparked discussions about the film’s portrayal of misogyny and brutal violence.

Despite the criticisms, Animal emerged as one of the biggest blockbusters of 2023. However, its success was accompanied by debates about its thematic choices and depiction of sensitive subjects. The film featured an ensemble cast including Rashmika Mandanna, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Suresh Oberoi, and Prem Chopra. Notably, Animal concluded with a post-credits scene teasing a potential sequel titled “Animal Park,” suggesting a continuation of Ranbir Kapoor’s character with the prospect of a double role.


In essence, the clash between Javed Akhtar’s critique and the Animal team’s response not only highlights the ongoing discourse around cinematic choices but also underscores the film’s ability to provoke strong reactions and generate discussions about its thematic content. The controversy surrounding Animal becomes a part of its narrative, further fueling conversations about the responsibilities of filmmakers in portraying complex and contentious themes.

Beyond the immediate response to Javed Akhtar’s comments and the ensuing social media exchange, the controversy surrounding Animal raises broader questions about the role of cinema in shaping societal values and the responsibility of filmmakers in depicting complex emotions and relationships.

Javed Akhtar’s apprehension about the impact of films that normalize troubling behavior reflects a concern shared by many in the film industry and society at large. As cinema is a powerful medium with the potential to influence public perception, the responsibility lies with filmmakers to navigate the fine line between artistic expression and the ethical considerations of the content they create.

The team behind Animal, in its response, not only defended the artistic choices made in the film but also questioned the ability of a seasoned writer like Akhtar to comprehend the intricacies of a lover’s betrayal portrayed in the narrative. This exchange underscores the subjective nature of art and the diversity of perspectives that audiences and creators bring to the interpretation of cinematic content.

The larger conversation sparked by Animal delves into the ongoing debate about the portrayal of women in cinema and the need for nuanced storytelling that goes beyond perpetuating stereotypes. While the film was a commercial success, its critique for allegedly depicting misogyny and endorsing violent behavior highlights the evolving expectations of audiences and critics alike regarding responsible storytelling.

The inclusion of a post-credits scene teasing a sequel, Animal Park, adds an intriguing layer to the narrative. It suggests that the filmmakers are not only aware of the discussions surrounding the film but also intend to continue exploring the themes and characters in a sequel. This decision invites further scrutiny and anticipation, as audiences may look for an evolution or resolution in the storyline.

As the cinematic landscape evolves, filmmakers find themselves navigating the delicate balance between pushing creative boundaries and maintaining social responsibility. The Animal controversy serves as a microcosm of the larger discourse within the film industry, where creators grapple with the impact of their work on societal attitudes and values.

the clash between Javed Akhtar’s critique and the Animal team’s response extends beyond a mere exchange of words; it reflects the ongoing dialogue about the role of cinema in shaping cultural narratives.

Whether films like Animal contribute to societal progress or reinforce problematic tropes remains a subject of debate, underscoring the need for continued discussions about the responsibilities and ethical considerations associated with storytelling in the ever-evolving world of cinema.

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