We Should Stop Glorifying Rashmika Mandanna’s Geetanjali From Animal!

I get that it’s Rashmika's movie, but as an actor and a woman, a bit of social responsibility wouldn’t hurt, right?

A lot has already been said about Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s film Animal, and I’m super late to the party. After enduring the 3-hour 21-minute film, I was left utterly disgusted by the violence, craziness, brutality, misogyny, and toxicity. As the credits rolled, I thought if there’s anything more to write about the film, it’s definitely about Gitanjali, portrayed by Rashmika Mandanna.

I recall Rashmika’s Instagram post, where she described her character Gitanjali as “the only force at home holding her family together. She is pure, real, unfiltered, strong, and raw.” After watching the film, I firmly believe that the word “strong” is unconvincing. How is enduring a toxic, misogynistic, and criminal family the epitome of strength? Sure, a lot of women do that even today, which is extremely unfortunate. But that definitely doesn’t need to be glorified!

Describing Gitanjali as “strong” is a bit questionable

Strong women don’t tolerate abuse. They don’t settle for less, and they sure as heck don’t compromise their self-respect.

Gitanjali was attracted to Ranvijay’s violent defence of his sister. Later, she called off her engagement after he flaunted his so-called ‘alpha male’ traits and commented on the size of her pelvis, but yet went back to him. In what world is that even remotely impressive? He clearly waved an entire red carpet on her face, and she fell for him with her eyes wide open!

Gitanjali glorified Ranvijay and his behaviour to others

One other scene that stood out for me as highly problematic was when Gitanjali defended Ranvijay to her parents. She glorified him for supporting her during pregnancy and labour. Hold on, isn’t that like a husband’s basic duty? It’s 2024, and it’s disheartening that many women still settle for the bare minimum and glorify it!

While I do appreciate that, unlike Preeti from Arjun Reddy (Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s previous film), Gitanjali doesn’t take Ranvijay’s crap without hitting back. She does stand up for herself against Vijay’s toxic and abusive behaviour. But what next? She forgives and forgets faster than cooking Maggi!

She tolerates all his abuse, including a near fatal gun shot, from him

She finally decides she’s had enough and asks Ranvijay for a divorce after learning of his infidelity. Unsurprisingly, Ranvijay aims a gun at her and fires at the glass door behind her, all while the kids are sleeping in the same room. Despite this near-death experience, Gitanjali is seen reconciling with him in the very next scene. In what world would a “strong” woman do that? If this isn’t tolerating abuse at its peak, I don’t know what is!

Towards the end of the film, we see Gitanjali informing Ranvijay that she is leaving him and heading to the US with the kids, but guess what? In the next scene, she is seen with tears streaming down her eyes as she sees her son hugging the man who abused her, cheated on her, and almost shot her. I’m no fortune teller, but with Sandeep Vanga Reddy as the director and going by Gitanjali’s character arc, my money is on Gitanjali giving Ranvijay yet another chance in Part 2 of the film.

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As a feminist woman, I’m all about sisterhood, and I don’t intend to throw shade at Rashmika. But maybe acknowledging Gitanjali’s flaws or just refraining from glorifying the character would have been appreciated. I get it’s her movie, but as an actor and a woman, a bit of social responsibility wouldn’t hurt, right?

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Kalyani Ganesan

Hey! I'm Kalyani Ganesan, a passionate writer who believes in the transformative power of words and strive to harness that power to inspire a change. When I'm not glued to my keyboard, you' read more...

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