In a thought-provoking address at the Ajanta Ellora International Film Festival in Aurangabad, renowned lyricist Javed Akhtar delved into the contemporary landscape of cinema, expressing his concerns about the types of films finding success in today’s era. While he refrained from explicitly mentioning Sandeep Reddy Vanga‘s latest venture, ‘Animal’, featuring a star-studded cast including Ranbir Kapoor, Rashmika Mandanna, Anil Kapoor, and Bobby Deol, Akhtar’s words hinted at the underlying critique.

Addressing the audience, Javed Akhtar highlighted his unease with the success of films that portray disturbing scenarios. “If there’s a film in which a man asks a woman to lick his shoe, if a man says it’s okay to slap a woman… and the film is a super hit, that’s dangerous”, he remarked, alluding to a particular scene in ‘Animal’ involving Ranbir Kapoor and Triptii Dimrii’s characters. Notably, Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s previous film, ‘Kabir Singh’, had also faced criticism for a scene depicting the protagonist slapping his love interest.

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Akhtar emphasized the pivotal role of the audience in shaping the industry’s direction. He urged the audience to take responsibility for the content they consume, as it directly influences the types of films and music that gain prominence. “More than the filmmaker, the onus lies with the audience today. You take responsibility too for the kind of films you watch. That’s what decides what kind of films will be made”, he declared. “You decide what’s made and what should be rejected. The value and moralities shown in our films lie in your hands”.

As ‘Animal’ continues to stir polarizing opinions, with criticisms of perpetuating toxic masculinity and simultaneous praise for Ranbir Kapoor’s performance, the film has achieved commercial success at the box office. Javed Akhtar’s insightful commentary adds a layer of reflection on the societal responsibility associated with the consumption of such cinematic content.

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