Cast: Salman Khan, Mahima, and Aayush Sharma
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Actor Salman Khan's latest movie Antim is an engaging gangster drama that proves to be a treat for 'Bhai' fans. It revolves around what happens when a cop with his own brand of justice locks horns with a hotheaded young 'dada' in a bid to crush the underworld. The basic storyline is as old as the hills and caters primarily to a mass audience. It, however, exceeds its potential because of the effective screenplay.
The initial portions of the biggie highlight the clash between 'haves' and 'have nots' and introduce the audience to the challenges faced by the outspoken Rahuliya and his family. The subsequent portions highlight his descent into the world of crime. These portions work quite well because of their organic intensity. In some ways, they are reminiscent of Vaastav, widely regarded as one of Bollywood's finest gangster movies. Moreover, the very fact that the makers have explored his backstory makes Antim a much better experience than Radhe. The Prabhudeva-directed movie emerged as a blockbuster but left a lot to be desired as Randeep Hooda, who played a gangster, was burdened with a one -dimensional character.
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Antim is not a Salman movie in the conventional sense as the Dabangg hero doesn't have too many scenes here. This, however, does not prove to be a hindrance as the director has utilised him exceptionally well. Dialogues such as 'Hindustan Ka Bhai' and 'Main Hind Kesari hoon' do justice to his reel image. His showdown with Aayush towards the interval is something that can only be enjoyed on the big screen.
The action-packed interval block is followed by an emotional second half that highlights the ill effects of violence. These sequences convey the message without being preachy, which is the hallmark of good storytelling. The climax packs a punch especially because of the twist towards the end. Watch out for Sachin Khedekar's laugh in the last scene.
Coming to the performances, Salman does justice to a character that is completely different from the ones he played in Wanted and Dabangg. This is decisively a better outing for him than a Dabangg 3 or a Race 3.
Aayush shines in the action scenes but isn't able to hold his own against Salman. He also comes across as a bit stiff in the emotional scenes. Antim, either way, should help him put the underwhelming Loveyatri behind him.
Mahima does justice to a character who is anything but a damsel in distress. She brings out Manda's feistiness but struggles in the emotional scenes. Veterans Mahesh Manjrekar, Sayaji Shinde and Khedekar shine in supporting roles.
Commercial action dramas are synonymous with catchy songs. Radhe, for example, featured the foot-tapping Dil De Diya and the hummable Zoom Zoom. Antim, sadly, disappoints on this front as none of the songs, barring Vighnaharta, strike a chord. The grand background score, however, makes up for this shortcoming. The action scenes have been shot well and feel convincing, something that wasn't the case in Radhe. Editing is okay even though a couple of scenes drag in the first half. The other technical aspects have been handled with competence.