Perspective ‘Animal’ and the Arrival of the New Era in Bollywood Blockbusters

‘Animal’ and the Arrival of the New Era

Director Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s controversial action film ‘Animal,’ starring Ranbir Kapoor, has sharply divided Hindi cinema audiences. Despite this, Vanga has achieved the commercial success he aimed for: the movie ranks as the fourth highest-grossing film of 2023 and continues to draw crowds.

Just a week into its theatrical run, ‘Animal,’ made with an estimated budget of Rs 100 crore, has already raked in around Rs 600 crore globally. These numbers surpass expectations, even for hardcore Ranbir Kapoor fans. What’s more intriguing is its enduring stay in theaters; its final box office tally remains a mystery.

animal box office collection

Critics have labeled ‘Animal’ disturbing and offensive due to its unabashed portrayal of misogyny, toxic masculinity, and gratuitous violence. However, dissenting voices are outnumbered by satisfied audiences. Ranbir Kapoor’s portrayal of a troubled man grappling with daddy issues showcases his remarkable talent, reaffirming his position as one of the most gifted actors of his generation. His stellar performance anchors the film, making ‘Animal’ a cinematic experience that’s challenging yet impossible to overlook. Despite its flaws, this contentious film has resonated with the average moviegoer.

Comparing the landscape to fifteen years ago when ‘Ghajini’ became the first Hindi film to cross the Rs 100-crore mark, the industry has undergone substantial changes. Budgets have soared, star fees multiplied, ticket prices skyrocketed, and streaming platforms reshaped audience preferences. A phase of commercial setbacks has come and gone.

The top-grossing films of 2023 share a common trait: they all belong to the action genre. Shah Rukh Khan’s comeback as an action star in ‘Pathaan’ and ‘Jawan,’ Siddharth Anand’s and Atlee’s thrillers respectively, stands out as a defining narrative of the year. Sunny Deol’s return as Tara Singh in ‘Gadar 2,’ a sequel to the widely popular ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha,’ proved the enduring appeal of the character. ‘Animal’ further solidifies Ranbir Kapoor’s versatility and ability to take on challenging roles, despite not winning everyone’s favor.

Among these successes, ‘Jawan’ and ‘Pathaan’ have grossed over Rs 1,000 crore globally. ‘Gadar 2’ has reportedly earned around Rs 690 crore, while ‘Animal’ has crossed the Rs 600-crore mark. ‘Tiger 3,’ Maneesh Sharma’s addition to the series, falls behind but still boasts earnings of over Rs 450 crore worldwide. Although not catapulting Salman Khan back into the top tier, it remains a significant success for him.

Has social media played a role in these successes? While hashtags like #BoycottBollywood affected films last year, their absence seems to have benefited the industry this year. Viewers rejected subpar movies, leading to some flops, but the industry saw a return of enthusiastic audiences seeking entertaining films.

Anticipation surrounds the release of Rajkumar Hirani’s comedy-drama ‘Dunki,’ slated for December 21. Starring SRK, the film promises Hirani’s trademark humor, emotions, and music. It faces competition from Prashanth Neel’s Telugu action drama ‘Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire,’ featuring Prabhas and Prithviraj Sukumaran. Neel’s previous ‘KGF’ films set the box office on fire, but going up against the eagerly awaited Hirani-SRK combo in the Hindi film market poses a different challenge.

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