‘ANTIM’ REVIEW | 26 November, 2021

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Zee Studios and Salman Khan Films’ Antim (UA) is an action film about a gangster and an upright police officer. It is the story of good versus evil.

Rahul alias Rahulya (Aayush Sharma), son of farmer Datta (Sachin Khedekar), is a gangster. He does not get along with his father because he can’t forgive him for selling off the family land at a throwaway price due to financial problems. Although Datta now does menial jobs for a living, Rahulya adopts the easy path to earn money, by joining the underworld. He is trained by underworld don Nanyabhai (Upendra Limaye). Police officer ACP Rajveer Singh (Salman Khan) is out to weed out gangsters in his area (Pune) and, therefore, Rahulya is one of the top names on his list of people to be eliminated because Rahulya has, over time, become a gang lord of sorts in Pune. All along, Rahulya’s father wants him to leave the world of crime but to no avail.

Rahulya loves Manda (Mahima Makwana), a tea-stall owner, and she also loves him, but she hates gangsters in general. Rahulya has a best friend in Ganya (Rohit Haldikar) who blindly follows him. Pitya (Jishu Sengupta) and Daya (Nikitin Dheer) are two brothers who can’t digest the fact that Rahulya, who was a nobody some time back, has become a big gangster. The two brothers are willing to go to any lengths to take Rahulya’s place in the underworld.

What happens to Rahulya? Is ACP Rajveer Singh able to eliminate Rahulya?

The film is inspired by Marathi film Mulshi Pattern. The story is not novel but it has plenty of twists and turns. Mahesh V. Manjrekar, Abhijeet Deshpande and Siddharth Salvi have written an interesting screenplay which, again, does not boast of novelty but which has a fast pace and, therefore, does not give the audience time to think. Yes, the drama does get predictable at places but it soon comes on track whenever predictability sets in. The screenplay dips as soon as the second half starts but it gathers steam after about two-three reels. The drama abounds in action, confrontations, family emotions and a dash of romance too. It has some light moments but could have done with more of them. Another plus point is that the thread of emotions throughout the screenplay — whether in romantic scenes, family scenes or even action scenes — makes the drama heartwarming. Having said that, it must be added that the screenplay sometimes appears to be one of convenience. Rahulya can do just about anything and get away with it. Murders are committed in Pune as if there is nothing in the name of law and order in the city. This seems strange because the police officers are shown as being helpless. As the ACP’s character is played by Salman Khan, watching the police being so helpless and resigned to the system becomes difficult to digest. Another minus point of the screenplay is that Rahulya ends up doing the very thing which he was against — rich builders and businessmen forcing farmers to sell their land at cheap prices. The romantic portion is heartwarming. Also very heartwarming is the scene between Rahulya and his father when the former pleads with the latter. The climax is very impactful. The last twist in the climax comes as a big shock to the viewers. The emotional scene in the climax moves the audience. Dialogues, penned by the trio, are mass-appealing and some of them will draw applause too.

Salman Khan acts well but making him mouth words of wisdom and philosophy will not go down too well with his fans who enjoy seeing him do action, romance and dance. Of course, that is not to say that he has not acted well in those scenes. He is actually good in those scenes too. As for the action scenes, Salman is excellent in them. But showing Salman play a subdued police officer, who is bogged down by the system and politics, is not the most intelligent thing to do. Aayush Sharma shows a marked improvement in his second film. He acts with effortless ease and impresses. His physique and body go well with the character of Rahulya. Mahima Makwana is a fine actress and she holds her own in the role of Manda. Sachin Khedekar is very good as Datta, father of Rahulya. Rohit Haldikar lends admirable support as Ganya. Mahesh Manjrekar makes his presence beautifully felt in the role of Satya, father of Manda. Sayaji Shinde shines as police officer Uday. Upendra Limaye is excellent as Nanyabhai; his voice and dialogue delivery deserve special mention. Jishu Sengupta (as Pitya) leaves a mark. Nikitin Dheer (as Daya) is fair. Uday Tikekar has his moments as builder Shinde. Sharad Ponkshe is fantastic as MLA Hambir. Bharat Ganeshpure does an admirable job as the advocate. Vijay Nikam is effective as corporator Salvi. Umesh Jagtap leaves a mark as Maruti Kamble. Prem Dharmadhikari is extraordinary as Siddhu. Chhaya Kadam (as Rahulya’s mother) and Siddhi Dalvi (as Rahulya’s sister) lend lovely support. Ruturaj Shinde is superb as Manda’s silent lover. Shashank Bawkar (as the businessman) and Shashank Shende (as farmer More) are adequate. Varun Dhawan adds star value in special appearance in the Ganpati song. His dance is energetic and graceful. Waluscha De Souza and Heena Panchal are good in special appearances. Others lend nice support.

Mahesh V. Manjrekar’s direction deserves distinction marks. His narrative style is easy-going and despite there being so many characters, there is no confusion in the minds of the viewers. Manjrekar has also extracted wonderful work out of his actors. Music (Hitesh Modak and Ravi Basrur) is very good but the absence of super-hit tunes is sorely felt. Lyrics (Vaibhav Joshi, Nitin Raikwar, Shabbir Ahmed and Ravi Basrur) are upto the mark. Song picturisations (Chinni Prakash, Shabina Khan, Mudassar Khan, Umesh Jadhav and Kruti Mahesh) are very eye-catching. Ravi Basrur’s background music is outstanding and heightens the impact of scenes. Karan B. Rawat’s cinematography is superb. Action scenes and stunts (choreographed by Vikram Dahiya; one fight is choreographed by Anl Arasu) are pretty exciting and thrilling. However, the violence will be found to be excessive by the family audience and ladies. Ketki D. Ghuge’s art direction is of a good standard. Bunty Nagi’s editing is very sharp.

On the whole, Antim has entertainment value but it lacks novelty and super-hit music. Also, it will not satisfy Salman Khan fans to the fullest because the subdued police officer he plays is often shown to be helpless due to the system and politics. As such, the film will end up doing average business at the box-office. Of course, collections are bound to pick up.

Released on 26-11-’21 at Inox (daily 8 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay by Zee Studios. Publicity: very good. Opening: below the mark. …….Also released all over. Opening was unimpressive everywhere.