Starring Salman Khan, Aayush Sharma Introducing Mahima Makwana
Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar
By the time Varun Dhawan –yesssss, he is in it too,so rejoice all you fans of the pinup province—shows up for a vigorous dance number, we don’t know who’s coming or going. Or staying. If you consider your own dilemma as a viewer desirous of being freed from this frenetic dizzying dance of debt and death.
Antim means well—it has to, since it is directed by Mahesh Manjrekar who once made Vaastav and City Of Gold, powerful parables on exploitation and violence powered by a genuine social concern. Antim is what Manmohan Desai used to call a proposal film: sign the hero first… during those days the music director also mattered… and then weave a story around him.
Antim: The Final Truth is so much a Salman Khan vehicle that even his brother-in-law (for whom the vehicle was ostensibly incepted) seems secondary. Salman plays a cop again after Radhe. This time he doesn’t have a romantic interest, so we are spared the cretinous cradle-snatching jokes about Diya/Nadiya, etc. What we get instead is lengthy monologues on righteousness, the Mahabharat and the meaning of being a true Sikh(in both the releases this week the Sikh character loosens his turban to help a woman in distress).
By the time Bhai is done, the mayhem has set in so deeply and inexorably that the entire landscape looks blood bathed and adrenaline-drenched. Yes it’s savage world out there. No room for women here. The chai wali whom Ayush Sharma wooes, looks like an odd break from the bestial mayhem-filled routine.
The original Marathi film(Mulshi Pattern) was a plaintive plea for farmers’ right. This unrecognizable remake is a banshee cry where the disempowered rage and bullets fly. Ayush Sharma, demonstrating a marked improvement in his performance, portrays Rahulya a powerless farmer’s son who decides to fight back for his father’s sake.
The original Marathi film had a knock-out central performance by Mohan Joshi as Rahulya’s father. Sachin Khedkar makes a valiant attempt to stand tall as a kind of Father India. Sadly the script disempowers almost emasculates the fringe players reducing them to dancers in a binge of shadow boxing while Khan and Sharma stand in the boxing ring waving their fists at one another in a pantomime of menace that never seems completely real.
This is clearly a film meant to make the Superstar more superstarry and the semi-debutante more viewer-friendly. Farmers’ rights take a backseat.