Ranbir Kapoor has built a reputation for completely transforming himself for his roles, disappearing into his characters. This chameleonic ability was on full display in 2018’s Sanju, where Ranbir embodied Sanjay Dutt in a critically-acclaimed performance. But years later, in Ranbir’s latest film Animal, some shades of Sanjay Dutt still seem to linger. Has Ranbir still not shaken off the Sanjay Dutt hangover?
In Animal, Ranbir plays an intense, brooding character with a muscular physique and an air of simmering violence. With his long hair, stubble, black vest and intense droopy-eyed gaze, Ranbir seems to channel the on-screen intensity, raw magnetism and shades of darkness Sanjay Dutt exhibited in films like Vaastav, Yalgaar and Khalnayak.
While Ranbir has proven his talent for transformation time and again, the echoes of Sanjay Dutt in Animal do raise the question — is Ranbir unable to break out of Sanjay’s shadow? Or is he deliberately evoking Sanjay’s powerful on-screen persona for this gritty character? Perhaps after embodying Sanjay so completely in Sanju, traces of that performance still persist in Ranbir’s approach today.
But only time will tell whether Ranbir will continue to tap into the Sanjay Dutt vein for future roles. For now, in Animal it does appear Ranbir Kapoor is still riding a bit on the Sanjay Dutt hangover, especially in the final scene here he confronts his father with past memories.
But knowing Ranbir’s talent, we can expect him to surprise us with an entirely new transformation in his next film. Sanjay’s persona may loom large once-in-a-while, but Ranbir has proven he has plenty of his own characters yet to unleash on screen.