– BY REEMA CHHABDA
Farmer Datta Pehelwan (Sachin Khedekar) sells his farm, throws a lavish wedding for his daughter, and ends up as a security guard on his own property. Worse, he is ejected without warning and relocates to Pune city to work as a hamaal, or market labourer.
Rahul (Aayush Sharma), his son, stands by with a sneer and a swear: the sneer because he’d rather have a full thali with dessert than the lowly half-roti his father sweats for. He swears that one day he’ll tether the landowner to two bullocks and force him to plough the field, humiliating him in the same way he humiliated his father. Rajveer Singh (Salman Khan), the Sardar in khaki uniform, is watching Rahul saunter down the criminal path.
By portraying heroine Manda (Mahima Makwana) as a feisty chaiwali in the marketplace, director Mahesh V Manjrekar gives today’s popular chaiwala a gender twist.
Antim has a lot to offer. The film’s treatment is unlike anything else Salman Khan has done recently. Yes, there’s the looming cloud of wanting to appease his large fan base, but Manjrekar has more faith in his authors than Bhai does in his bulging biceps. This is something that filmmakers haven’t done in a long time. It could be because Manjrekar had previously directed Marathi films and used the same formula to depict Rahuliya’s life and his struggles. The central theme of the film, as well as the source of its conflict, is the idea of a poor farmer losing his land to forces beyond his control and grasp – a reality that has been well documented in Maharashtra. Despite the larger-than-life canvas and the garish background score, Manjrekar manages to depict characters that are believable.
Antim’s most serious flaw is its inconsistent plot and failure to make its characters feel real. The second half could easily have been cut and made shorter, the songs aren’t memorable, and the background soundtrack and sound mixing wreak havoc on your ears. There are far too many slaps and fists, which seem almost robotic after a while, and cliched attempts to fill up gaps in a weak narrative.
Of course, Salman pins Aayush, as one could imagine. The scene, ironically, is self-explanatory and demonstrates how Salman owns the film. His bland expressions bores you at times but he’s bearable. Mahima Makwana’s acting is quite impressive, but her on-screen chemistry with Aayush fails to wow throughout the film. Another feature of Aayush that is noticeable throughout the film is his delivery of dialogues. Aayush tries hard to deliver punch lines, but his repetitious delivery technique with raised eyebrows and a blank face is frustrating and unimpressive.
Varun Dhawan’s well-pictured ‘Bappa moriya’ dance energises the Ganpati visarjan, which is interwoven with thugs looking for Rahul’s head.
Antim is created solely for Salman Khan’s fans. Overall, the script is great, but the casting beside Salman Khan could have been better.