Renowned lyricist Javed Akhtar recently sparked controversy at the Ajanta Ellora International Film Festival in Aurangabad with his pointed remarks about the current trend in films, notably singling out Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s blockbuster, ‘Animal.’ Without explicitly naming the movie, Javed Akhtar’s concerns about the success of films portraying scenes that propagate problematic behaviour, citing instances where a man asks a woman to lick his shoe or justifies slapping a woman, presumably referencing controversial scenes from Vanga’s previous film, Kabir Singh, and Animal.
Team’s Defiant Response
The response from the official Twitter account of Animal was swift and confrontational. They directly addressed Javed Akhtar’s comments, defending the film’s context and suggesting that Akhtar had misunderstood the scene in question. This response not only defended the film but also questioned Akhtar’s understanding of art form and asserted how love transcends gender politics.
Writer of your calibre cannot understand the betrayal of a lover (Between Zoya & Ranvijay) then all your art form is big FALSE 🙃 & If a woman (betrayed and fooled by a man in the name of love) would have said "lick my shoe" then you guys would have celebrated it by calling it…— Animal The Film (@AnimalTheFilm) January 7, 2024
Pattern of Defensiveness Against Critics
This isn’t the first time the team behind Animal has reacted strongly to criticism. They’ve previously clashed with writer-actor Swanand Kirkire, film critic Anupama Chopra, and journalists who’ve raised concerns about the movie. This recurring pattern of aggressive responses to detractors suggests a reluctance to engage with critical viewpoints.
Do not let your knees fall ahead of your toes or cave in towards each other. Keep feet shoulder-width apart to maintain a good base of support for balance. Land softly on the balls of the feet to help absorb the force of the landing.— Animal The Film (@AnimalTheFilm) December 6, 2023
Yes…. now it landed perfectly 😘… pic.twitter.com/OxTOE0vlvI
Box Office Success Amid Polarised Reactions
Animal has undoubtedly been a box office success, breaking records and becoming one of the most talked-about Bollywood films of recent times. However, its success has also brought about polarising opinions. While some praise its audacity, others criticise its portrayal of toxic masculinity and problematic themes.
Importance of Constructive Criticism in Creative Arts
Constructive criticism is a vital component in the realm of creative arts. However, the responses from the team behind Animal imply a deep reluctance to consider criticism. Their defensive reactions and dismissive tone towards detractors might stem from their overwhelming success, potentially leading to a blind spot hindering their growth and development as creators.
The controversy surrounding Javed Akhtar’s remarks and the subsequent strong response from the Animal team underscores the complexities of artistic interpretation and the responsibility of filmmakers when handling sensitive subjects. It highlights the significance of open dialogue within the creative sphere for fostering growth and understanding diverse perspectives.