Antim - The Final Truth, the new release directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, is the official remake of the Marathi gangster drama Mulshi Pattern. Antim is reportedly not a very faithful remake, Bollywoodised accordingly to the fanbase of its lead stars. Antim is primarily the story of Aayush Sharma's Rahuliya, a farmer's son turned gangster; however, the remake has expanded the role of the honest cop, played by Upendra Limaye in the original (the National award winning actor plays a criminal politician called Nanya bhai in the remake). Because, of course, the cop role is now played by Salman Khan, and it is now rewritten to suit the superstar's massy image. Antim Movie Review: Salman Khan’s Attempt To Take a Backseat for Aayush Sharma Proves Futile in This Tiring Vaastav Revisit.

Antim: The Final Truth isn't as bad as expected, especially when you compare it to Bhai's earlier releases like Radhe, Race 3 and Dabangg 3. Salman is suitable restrained, and looks dapper as ever, and Aayush Sharma makes a very confident second impression (he was also very much decent and camera-friendly in his debut Loveyatri).

It has its moments and the premise is decent enough, but ultimately, Antim comes across as a major disappointment, though it can savour a small victory in the fact that it is much better than its Friday competitor, a certain Satyameva Jayate 2Satyameva Jayate 2 Movie Review: Three John Abraham's Get Crammed Into This Terrible Migraine-Packed Masala Movie!

Could Antim have been a better movie? I certainly think so, if the movie had used the below fixes on itself. Some SPOILERS ahead.

Fix #1 - Be a Faithful Adaptation

A Still from Mulshi Pattern

While I admit that I haven't seen Mulshi Pattern, the Marathi film had been praised for merging an engaging crime drama that also addresses farmer struggles. The focus was purely on the rise of its flawed protagonist, played in the original by Om Bhutkar, from an angry farmer's son to a brash and arrogant gangster, before his eventual downfall (the final nail on his coffin delivered as his first killing of an innocent coming to bite back). It was the system that made him a criminal, but such nuances feel lost in the remake, where the focus is more on how bronzen Aayush's abs should look. Considering that farmer's plight is a key theme in the original and is also touched upon the remake - and it is a burning topic in the headlines these days - it is a travesty that it takes a backseat for its lead stars. You can see a semblance of a good film in Antim, when it veers close to the original's film premise, but more than often, Antim gets distracted by what to do with the biggest star in the cast. Who sadly wasn't Aayush.

Fix #2 - Didn't Pander to Salman Khan's Superstar Image

Salman Khan in Antim

Salman Khan's cop Rajvir Singh is, indubitably, is supposed to take a backseat to Rahuliya, but Salman the superstar often bursts in taking attention away from the main character's tale. Of course, it is fun to watch Salman do his strut and pout massy lines, and the man looks so fit in his '50s that it is staggeringly unbelievable. But in focussing on his swagger, and thereby entering into Dabanng territory, Antim loses touch with the groundedness of its storyline. It isn't that Salman Khan can't take a backseat for a film, his roles in movies like Phir Milenge, Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam, Baabul say otherwise. But if you are making a film with an eye at the box office, then there is a high chance that you would compromise story-telling over star-brand. Antim: Salman Khan Wont Be Promoting the Aayush Sharma Starrer Film, Here’s Why.

Fix #3 - Ditch the Vaastav Hangover

Sanjay Dutt in the Poster of Vaastav

Mahesh Manjrekar should have take care of this, but can we blame him for going back to that one Hindi film that made him a household name? Vaastav keeps ringing in your mind when you watch Antim, and that comparison ultimately ends up affecting Antim badly, as we can influences of the 1998 film in the narrative, from the protagonist's entry into crime, the tragic fate of his friend, to his estrangement with his family and ultimately his own downfall. Considering how brilliant Sanjay Dutt was in the other movie, Aayush Sharma's confident act pales in comparison.

Fix #4 - Update the Treatment

Aayush Sharma in Antim

There was a time when Bollywood used to be ruled by gangster dramas, before it moved on. That doesn't mean the premise of Antim is dated, but the making definitely is. Mahesh Manjrekar might have made a few acclaimed films in Marathi, but he hasn't managed to make a good movie in Bollywood in years. His treatment of Antim's gang-wars offers nothing new, struggling already with a predictable storyline and an identity crisis.

Fix #5 - Trim the Runtime

Salman Khan in Antim

In trying to narrate the main storyline as well in pandering to Salman Khan's expanded story arc, Antim - The Final Truth ends up with a runtime of 142 minutes. The second half especially suffers from this bloated runtime, with doses of melodrama and very predictable beats not helping the case either. The editing should have been sharper, a couple of songs should have been excised and perhaps, this would have made Antim more bearable.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 26, 2021 05:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website