A remake of the 2018 Marathi film Mulshi Pattern, a farmer’s plight merges with gangsters and politicians for an action film that’s topped with Sikh pride.
Farmer Datta Pehelwan (Sachin Khedekar) sells his land, celebrates his daughter’s wedding in style and ends up as a watchman kicked around on his own site. Worse, he’s kicked out unceremoniously and makes his way to Pune city to work as a hamaal, a labourer in the marketplace.
Watching on with a sneer and a swear is his son, Rahul (Aayush Sharma): the sneer because he’d rather have a full thali with dessert than the humble half-roti his father sweats for. The swear is that he’ll one day tie the landowner to two bullocks and make him plough the field, humiliate him in the same manner he insulted his father.
Watching Rahul swagger down the crime route is Rajveer Singh (Salman Khan), the Sardar in khaki uniform.
Director Mahesh V Manjrekar gives today’s popular chaiwala a gender twist by presenting heroine Manda (Mahima Makwana) as a feisty chaiwali in the marketplace where romance, action, crime and family drama unfold without a pause.
This is no Bajrangi Bhaijaan but, despite its seen-before bravado, far too many gangsters and netas on the loose, the unnecessary length and the many killings which could have been reduced in number, Antim has highpoints that keep viewer interest alive almost all the way.
Salman Khan’s introduction with an action scene where he’s ready to untie his pagdi to cover a rape victim, hits the right note right away.
Action (Vikram Dahiya and Anil Arasu) is the mainstay but the romance between Manda and Rahul also has notes of likeability. It begins with him (looking a bit like cricketer Hardik Pandya) vowing that one day she’ll touch her lips to the glass of tea before she serves it to him, coasts along sweetly and honorably with a soft romantic number, and ends the way a feisty girl would handle it. By putting the man in his place when he roughs up her drunken father (Mahesh Manjrekar, slim after his tryst with cancer and chemotherapy).
Like many of the well-choreographed action pieces including the expected shirtless bouts between Salman and Aayush, Manda’s showdown with Rahul in the marketplace is high energy. It goes like this. Rahul boasts that irrespective of how he treats her father, she is his because he has already slept with her. She retaliates, “Kya haq jata raha hai mujhpe? Because I slept with you?” Her father’s expiry date dialogue is equally well-placed and makes an effective scene.
Later, Manda’s “Mera bachcha hai” line further establishes her gender power.
Several face-offs between Rajveer and Rahul combine physical punches with punchy dialogues, a combo that’s cheesy but works well with the mass audience. Samples: Rahul: Mera baap Maharashtra Kesari hai. Rajveer: Main Hind Kesari hoon. Rahul: Main Pune ka naya bhai. Rajveer: Main pehle se Hindustan ka bhai hoon.
Salman’s crowd-pleasing lines will also make Punjab go balle balle. Samples: Wherever there’s a Sardar, wahan wahan, there’ll be a gurdwara and langar. A Sardar bows his head sirf Wahe Guru ke saamne.
And there’s a garnish of Marathi too since it’s based in Pune.
The Ganpati visarjan is energised with Varun Dhawan’s well-picturised ‘Bappa moriya’ dance that’s interspersed with gangsters out for Rahul’s scalp.
Music (Ravi Basrur, Hitesh Modak) and cinematography (Karan B Rawat) have commercial appeal.
Rahul’s choice of crime and money versus the integrity of his father, mother and sister, make the family drama. With a crime-doesn’t-pay climax which has its own surprise twist. Instead of the effete Love Yatri, this should have been Aayush Sharma’s launch vehicle. While it’s undeniable that Antim is bolstered and held together by Salman’s strong presence, Aayush is comfortable playing bad boy Rahul, easy with dialogue delivery, dance and action. Even if his eyebrows are perpetually raised as if in constant surprise.
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