Actor Ranbir Kapoor on Thursday said he has played the “most complex character” of his life in Animal, a film that he described as an adult-rated version of Karan Johar’s family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga of Kabir Singh and Arjun Reddy fame, the film’s trailer showcases a violent world set against the backdrop of a troubled relationship between Ranbir’s Arjun Singh and his father Balbir Singh, played by Anil Kapoor.
At the trailer launch, Ranbir was asked to describe the film and he said: “Animal is basically the adult-rated Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.” “If I had to describe this story in a line, then it’s about a man who goes to any length to protect his family. That’s what the core of the film is,” Kapoor told reporters at the trailer launch here. The event was also attended by Sandeep, Bobby Deol, Rashmika Mandanna, and producers Bhushan Kumar and Pranav Reddy Vanga. Animal will hit the screens on December 1.
Ranbir said it was inspiring to work with an original voice like Sandeep, adding he would not like to call his character dark but a departure from his usual chocolate boy roles. “I won’t call it darkness but it is the most complex character I have played. Sandeep has given many colours to not just mine but every character. He gives all characters different emotions, complexities and that is very exciting to portray.” Playing a complex role can take a toll on any actor, which is why Ranbir said it is important for a performer to learn the art of switching on and off. “When I was starting this film, I became a father. Raha was born. So, I was doing all these things on set and coming back home playing with my daughter, it was surreal. When you’re inspired, you work with a lot of ease. We finished shooting in 100 days,” he added. Deol said Vanga decided to cast him in the role of the antagonist in “Animal” after he saw the actor’s photograph from the days when he used to play in the Celebrity Cricket League.
“Sandeep reached out to me one day over text and asked to meet him. When I got the text, I thought it was a prank. But I went to meet him anyway. When we met, Sandeep showed me a photograph from the days when I was not working, when I used to play in the Celebrity Cricket League. “In that photograph, I am looking somewhere far away. He showed that photo and said I want you to do this film because I want the expression that you have in this picture. I said ‘Chalo, bekaari ke din kaam aa gaye (My days of unemployment were of some help after all)’. I love you Sandeep for giving me this opportunity,” he added.
They may play adversaries baying for each other’s blood in the movie but the bromance between Bobby and Ranbir was one of the highlights of the trailer launch. Bobby praised Ranbir for his acting chops and his down-to-earth nature.
“I am a huge fan of this man out here. I have worked with many people, stars, superstars, but haven’t seen such a humble and down-to-earth person. I would get lost in his eyes while working with him. He is so mesmerising as an actor. There was a lot of hard work involved as I had to go bare with my body,” he said.
Ranbir said he grew up watching Bobby and when he got a chance to work with the Aashram star, he realised they were similar as people.
“We both are Punjabis, so there was an instant connection. We were shooting shirtless in London in minus 4 degree temperature but there was so much warmth between us… This is a bond that we will cherish for the rest of our lives,” he added.
The 3.32 minute-long trailer of Animal gives the viewers a glimpse into the hyper-masculine and violent world with a machine gun-toting Arjun, who is obsessed with trying to impress his father.
Violence is not really about action, but more about the human mind, Ranbir said.
“That you hit someone and blood comes out, you’ll get bored after 10 seconds. Violence is about the mind, what it thinks, what the human mind is capable of? What is right or wrong, where society is concerned? Is Bobby sir the antagonist or I am the antagonist? Who is right, who is wrong? These are questions as a society, audience, we will start asking after this film,” he added.
The actor said he had not experienced these things in real life, but when he was listening to the director narrate the story of Animal, he was reminded of his late father, veteran actor Rishi Kapoor.
“Eventually, subconsciously, I remembered my father… The way he would talk, he was a very passionate and aggressive man,” he said. Rashmika said Ranbir made her feel comfortable on the sets of the film which reflects in their on-screen chemistry. The actor plays Geetanjali, wife to the actor’s character in Animal.
“He makes it easier for his co-stars than himself. The first question he asked me was ‘Do you want to rehearse before the scene or should we roll?’ That was a question I was never asked before… I didn’t think I was good enough to star opposite him. When you rehearse with your co-actor, the performance comes out beautifully, the chemistry builds, the conversations get better,” she added.
She also praised the filmmaker for being “unapologetically real” with his stories.
“Everyone sugarcoats things in cinema and he doesn’t do that. That’s something I appreciate. He’s a smart director. There is so much anticipation around the film because we are living the lives of people who are so real,” the Pushpa: The Rise star added.
The director, who courted trouble over his previous Hindi film Kabir Singh for allegedly glorifying toxic masculinity and domestic violence, said nothing has changed for him post the controversy.
“I didn’t change anything. Preeti (Kiara Advani) was a very important character in ‘Kabir Singh’ and Geetanjali is more important than that in Animal. (All that debate) it made no difference to me,” Sandeep said. “If Animal does well, there can be a chance for a sequel or two,” Ranbir teased.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)