Animal: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Was Rannvijay Singh successful in avenging the attack on his father? Who is the character played by Ranbir Kapoor introduced at the end?
Animal: Ending Explained (In Detail)

If there was one film that qualified as controversy’s favourite child from the output of Hindi cinema in 2023, it was Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal, a drama centred on a son’s desperate need for validation and affection from his absent father, and the hell he raises when the “Papa” he so dearly loves is caught in someone’s crosshairs. From being brazenly misogynistic and proudly flaunting its toxic masculinity, Animal was also excessively (and rather boringly) violent, like a desperate ninth grader trying to be noticed by school seniors. Compound that with Vanga’s direct attacks on professional critics and people who disliked the film and it was all too obvious why Animal was the talk of the town.

Vanga, whose earlier credits include Arjun Reddy (2017) and Kabir Singh (2019) (essentially the same film made twice over), co-wrote and edited Animal, with producing duties handled by Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar for T-Series, Murad Khetani for Cine1 Studios, and Pranay Reddy Vanga for Bhadrakali Pictures. The film’s raging protagonist was portrayed by Hindi cinema’s favourite troubled son, Ranbir Kapoor, with Anil Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Triptii Dimri, and Bobby Deol essaying key supporting roles.

Rannvijay Singh, the Angry Young Man

Rannvijay (the younger Vijay is played by Ahmad Ibn Umar), the son of a Delhi-based industrial tycoon Balbir Singh (Anil Kapoor), yearns deeply (and obsessively) for an overtly loving relationship with his father, who is too busy expanding his business interests to be bothered with spending time with his children. He leaves parenting to his wife Jyoti (Charu Shankar) and only occasionally shows up for anything, including his own birthday.

Things naturally get out of hand and Rannvijay (now played by Ranbir Kapoor) grows into a maladjusted school-going teen, the kind who will barge into his sister’s college to threaten her bullies with an AK-47. Dispatched to an American boarding school by a seething Balbir, who is enraged at the thought of having a criminal for a son, Rannvijay returns several years later, only to go right back after a public spat with his brother-in-law Varun (Siddhant Karnick) and an argument with his father. The only difference is that on this occasion, he is taking with him Geetanjali (Mandanna), a young woman he has had a crush on since childhood.

Rannvijay Singh, the Angry Son

Eight years pass without a peep out of Rannvijay, and then bullets penetrate Balbir in Delhi, and his not-so-prodigal son returns with his wife and two children in tow. No one has a clue who attacked Balbir or why, just that the attempt on his life failed. With the backing of Balbir’s consigliere Mishra (Shakti Kapoor), Rannvijay travels to the family’s ancestral village and recruits his cousins en masse to help protect his father and seek out those who sought to kill him. He also arranges for a body double – Kailash Petkar (also Anil Kapoor) – to travel around town and draw out the hunters. When Kailash is murdered in cold blood, Rannvijay discovers Varun’s involvement in the assassination attempt and subsequently murders him in a crowded conference room. Amidst all this, he finds the time to wage a brief war on the domestic laundry staff, whose ill-thought choice of fabric softener for his underwear has given him a rash.

It then comes to light that a man called Asrar (Babloo Prithveeraj) and his unseen brothers are also part of the plan, so Rannvijay lures Asrar to a hotel with the aid of arms dealer Freddy Patil (Upendra Limaye). Though he succeeds in killing Asrar and his men (thanks in part to the Cousins, who hold their fire but exercise their vocal cords to great effect to cheer Rannvijay on), Rannvijay sustains injuries that put him in a coma. He survives, but medical treatment is difficult for a man of his make to digest, and Rannvijay retains a semblance of normalcy in life by continuing to be a raging bully, treating people (except his darling Papa) rudely, and threatening Geetanjali repeatedly. 

Elsewhere, a man named Abrar Haque (Deol) is getting married. He’s mute, his brother Abid (Saurabh Sachdeva) explains to Abrar’s bride, but only since he saw his grandfather die. Abrar and Abid are the unseen brothers of Asrar, and it is during the wedding that they learn of their brother’s death at Rannvijay’s hands. A plot is quickly hatched.

Back in Delhi, Rannvijay has had the transplant and embarks upon an affair with Zoya (Dimri), the woman whose fiancé’s heart now beats inside his chest. Zoya soon reveals that she was intended to be a honeytrap planted by Abrar. His youngest brother Aziz, a professional butcher based out of Istanbul, has undergone multiple surgeries to pass as a double for Rannvijay, the idea being that when the time came, Aziz would mow down Rannvijay’s entire family.

Rannvijay learns from his grandfather Rajdheer (Suresh Oberoi) the full story: The family firm was set up by Rajdheer and his younger brother Shamsher, who he later expelled from the fold when his shenanigans became too much to tolerate. Shamsher and his family left the country, and he subsequently committed suicide. His son Azim then sought out Balbir for his share of the company but was turned away, and now Azim’s sons – Abrar, Abid, and Aziz – are looking to exact revenge.

Before Rannvijay can set off for Scotland to find Abrar, Geetanjali berates him for his affair, which he justifies  by reasoning that he was doing it for his father. He claims that because she forgave him for the many murders he has committed, surely she can let the affair slide. It ought to be noted that of the many things Rannvijay gets away with throughout the film, arguments with Geetanjali are not one of them: she retaliates in every imaginable way, including slapping him across the face on multiple occasions when he pushes a point too far. Here too they argue and attack one another, including one instance of him pointing a rifle at her head, but ultimately make up because that’s just how couples in the Vangaverse are.

Rannvijay Singh, and the Other Animal(s)

Rannvijay and the Cousins finally reach Scotland where they conduct an assault on Abrar’s mansion and when he gets away, they give chase to the nearby airstrip from where he is trying to fly to safety. Cornered, Abrar exits the aircraft and he and Rannvijay exchange fisticuffs. In a slightly lewd way, once he has torn off Rannvijay’s shirt, Abrar decides to shed his own too. The sexual undertones are further amplified when Abrar decides to lie atop his cousin and light a cigarette. After some very pointed interjections by both parties’ seconds about their respective disabilities, Rannvijay realises that Abrar will never stop pursuing Balbir and he kills him.

When Rannvijay returns home, it is Diwali (naturally) but the news awaiting him is not particularly good: Balbir has leukaemia, and Geetanjali is adamant about leaving him. Unconcerned by the latter, Rannvijay attempts to make amends with Balbir but tempers erupt again. But after much screaming and shouting and accusing, father and son bury the hatchet and Rannvijay gets the one thing he has wanted the entire film (and his life): Balbir’s love.

As Gitanjali and the children leave for the US, the car stops suddenly and Rannvijay’s son runs back to him, perhaps suggesting that while he has been an absent parent for much of the film, that might not be the case in general. Or it’s an instance of history repeating itself, with Rannvijay having taken his father’s place and his son the spot he occupied, though the daughter is continually shortchanged by the narrative and her father, serving as more of a prop than a person in the character’s world.

Midway through the end credits, a figure carrying two butcher’s knives enters the frame, and two of Rannvijay’s Cousins are seen bound in the background. Aziz (also played by Ranbir Kapoor) is introduced with a flashback of what Zoya had told Rannvijay. He quickly flies into a murderous rage, dismembering one of the Cousins before consulting with Zoya, who is expecting a child (the father could be either Rannvijay or Aziz) and Abid on some matters. As he returns to kill the second captive, the frame is covered by a blood-red legend that reads (or threatens) Animal Park, suggesting the birth of yet another franchise and a continuation of this War of Cousins.

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