Mahesh Manjrekar’s Antim is a sincere attempt at confronting the socio-political issues like land grabbing among other things. For those who are not aware, Antim is based on the critically acclaimed Marathi film Mulshi Pattern. The director takes the core of that plot and gives it a Bollywood treatment. The best example of this is Salman Khan’s Rajveer Singh. It is not a full fledged role but Mahesh gives ample masala moments which will satisfy Salman fans. There is also a shirtless action sequence between Salman Khan and Ayush Sharma. The burden of Antim, though, eventually falls on the shoulders of Ayush Sharma. After a disastrous debut in Loveyatri the actor makes a solid comeback with this one. It is a character with lot of shades and Ayush is successful in bringing out those nuances. Some rawness is still there but the growth is very visible.
The basic premise of Antim is farmers losing their land to mafias. Sakharam played by Sachin Kundelkar is one such farmer. He has sold his land and is now working as a watchman in the house of one such person Shinde. His son Rahul (Ayush Sharma) had only studied until eighth class. He doesn’t do any job. One day a situation comes when Sakharam is humiliated by the owners for no fault of his. His son Rahul gets enraged at how his father has been treated. After that Sakharam loses his job and the entire family is forced to migrate to Mumbai market yard. It is here that Rahul’s journey as a gangster begins. Before leaving for Mumbai Rahul vows to take the land back from Shinde, he also threatens Shinde that he would humiliate him.
Ironically though once he becomes a gangster he joins hands with the same mafia and helps them in grabbing farmers’ lands. During one such incident he guns down the teacher who had taught him in school. Not surprisingly Sakharam isn’t happy with his son and as a result the relations are strained. Along with Sachin Kundelkar the supporting cast also comprises the likes of Jisshu Sengupta.
What really works for Antim is Mahesh Manjrekar understanding of the socio-political issues. The farmer’s plight isn’t something particularly new but the director makes you empathize with his treatment. Sachin Kundelkar’s character particularly stands out in the supporting cast. The director makes a strong statement on farmers being forced to work as labourers in their own land. There is also a commentary on the rise of multinationals and power hungry politicians. All these issues are smartly integrated in the narrative.
The location of Mumbai Market yard plays a significant role in the script. It is used as a metaphor to talk about the journey of Rahul. The ending makes you emotional in spite of the Nayakan hangover.
The scenes between Rahul and Sakharam give the film some of its best moments. Rahul’s desperation of wanting his family back is sure to touch a chord.
Salman’s Rajveer Singh is also smartly used by the director. Rajveer is also a son of a farmer who has lost his land. Just like Rahul’s family they also had to migrate. However, unlike Rahul Rajveer becomes a cop.
The scenes between Salman and Ayush are also fun to watch as it is not your usual cat and mouse game between a good cop and the bad guy.
What pull Antim down are its brutal action scenes. The action scenes could have been easily trimmed. Also the majority of the supporting cast act as mere screen fillers than anything else. Jisshu Sengupta in particular is very annoying in his role. Sachin Kundelkar is easily the best of the lot. He brings in varied emotions with his character. Salman Khan comes second with his restrained performance. Mahima Makhwana is the only predominant female character in this male universe. Mahima is quite impressive in her role. The music is also something which could have been much better. The songs come across as speed breakers. Even the Ganapati one featuring Varun Dhawan doesn’t really work. The only song which works to an extent is the romantic one featuring Ayush and debutant Mahima Makwana. The length is another lag. It needed sharper editing.
Watch Antim for Ayush Sharma’s transformation and the farmer’s issues.