January 11, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by K.S. Malhotra
Hindi with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in India, the dramatic film “Anth the End” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: A serial killer escapes from prison and goes on a revenge mission against the person who got him arrested.
Culture Audience: “Anth the End” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching ridiculous crime dramas where there is no suspense.
As a mystery thriller, “Anth the End” is a shoddy mess with a “master of disguises” gimmick that fails to be convincing. The performances in the movie are also very substandard. The tone for “Anth the End” is too erratic to be taken seriously: Menacing murder scenes segue into giddy musical numbers, and vice versa. Bollywood movies are often known for putting song-and-dance scenes in all types of films, but these musical scenes look especially out-of-place in “Anth the End.”
Directed by K.S. Malhotra (who co-wrote the “Anth the End” screenplay with Hardev Singh), “Anth the End” (which takes place in an unnamed city in India) begins with serial killer Ranjeet (played by Deepraj Rana) escaping from prison by impersonating a doctor and killing the police security guard in a hospital room. Viewers find out early on in the movie that Ranjeet is a “master of disguises,” who can not only change his face but he can also change his height and body size to look like completely different people. He can turn himself into a tall, hulking brute named Vicky Sandhu (played by Mukul Dev), who uses at least one other alias.
It’s all just so unrealistic, but “Anth the End” does not have an explanation that is based in science-fiction or the supernatural as the reason why Ranjeet can go through these extreme chameleon-like transformations. Viewers are supposed to believe that Ranjeet is just a one-man visual effects team who can morph into these different physical appearances through unexplained skills. And when a vengeful serial killer breaks out of prison in an unimaginative movie like “Anth the End,” that can only mean one thing: The killer is going after the person who was chiefly responsible for his putting him in prison.
The person who is the main target of this vendetta is a fashion model named Simran (played by Samikssha Batnagar), who was a key witness in the case that sent Ranjeet to prison. Simran’s colleague is fashion photographer named Sumeet (played by Dev Sharma), also known as Samit, who is a formulaic “hero.” Simran and Sumeet also work with a model named Tarry (played by Aman Dhaliwal), who becomes a target by association. A generic, no-nonsense cop named Anarjeet Singh (played by Arun Bakshi) is the chief police investigator who’s lead the hunt to capture Ranjeet.
The news has gotten out about Ranjeet’s escape. Simran is already suspicious that somethig terrible is about to happen, because she tells Sumeet that a strange man recently barged into her home, but he ran off before he could be caught. Tarry is portrayed as a vain airhead who spends a lot of time bodybuilding in a gym.
To celebrate Simran’s birthday, Sumeet arranges a party for her at a nightclub. (It’s just this movie’s excuse to have a big song-and-dance numbers.) The festive mood is ruined when Ranjeet suddenly shows up at the party (in disguise, of course) and attacks Sumeet, who manages to fight off Ranjeet. As already shown in the movie’s trailer, Ranjeet gets away again, but not before Sumeet rips off Ranjeet’s disguise on his face to find out that Ranjeet is this mystery attacker. Everything this scene looks so fake, it’s almost laughable.
But the worst of the movie is yet to come. Ranjeet is looking for $100 million, he kidnaps someone for ransom, and something goes very wrong with the kidnapping. Ranjeet, in disguise as Vicky, then pretends to be a motorist who is stranded because of car trouble. As shown in the trailer for “Anth the End,” Ranjeet/Vicky sweet-talks his way into Sumeet’s house, where Sumeet’s wife Divya (played by Divya Dutta) is with their daughter Khushi, who’s about 5 or 6 years old.
You can easily guess what happens next: “Anth the End” turns into a stupid home-invasion movie. Everything is so badly staged and sloppily paced in “Anth the End,” absolutely none of it looks believable. Thankfully, this forgettable flop doesn’t make the mistake of dragging on for more than two hours (the movie’s total runtime is 106 minutes), but viewers looking for quality entertainment are better off looking anywhere other than at “Anth the End.”
Holy Basil Films released “Anth the End” in select U.S. cinemas on December 9, 2022. The movie was released in India on November 11, 2022.