Ravi Deewan┬┤s Annarth had a very awkward rush release. The horrible Anand Raaj Anand soundtrack released just a week before the film did. It seemed as though producers and distributors just wanted to get this burdensome project off their shoulders as soon as possible. After watching the film, it becomes quite obvious why.
The film, based on gang-wars, borrows heavily from 80┬┤s and 90┬┤s Bollywood masala flicks. The convoluted plot is filled with cliches and inane situations accordingly. Jimmy┬┤s (Sunil Shetty) elder brother Raghav (Ashutosh Rana) kills Bandya (Vinod Kambli, the cricket player), a member of their own gang, secretly. Jimmy gets enraged and bumps off a few members of the rival gang, thinking that they were the ones who killed Bandya. A gangwar erupts, and Jimmy and his pal, a bar-owner named Iqbal Danger (Sanjay Dutt) are caught in the middle of the action.
The plot, working in a new twist every so often, is needlessly complicated and seems to be centered on working in as many action scenes as possible into the scheme of the film. It takes a very simplistic look at gang activity and pales in comparison to the nuanced portrayals in much more polished films like Chhal and Company. The sensationalized, pot-boiler version of organized crime in this film just doesn┬┤t measure up.
The film also falters in trying to pack way too much in to the narrative. There is an extended track of the Sunil Shetty character that ends abruptly half-way through the film (albeit in a very interesting action sequence). There is also a useless track about the history of Sanjay Dutt┬┤s character and why he turns from killer to poet and starts a singles only bar. Who cares if the character means so precious little to the plot anyway? The romantic track with Preeti Jhangiani seems tacked on as well and the comedy track with Johnny Lever is a distracting disaster.
Only a handful of interesting action scenes that provide the film with some redeeming value. Deewan┬┤s directoral skills seem strongest when there is a lot of action on screen. Still, with much more slick action films like Aankhen and Awara Paagal Deewana already released, the traditional low budget sequences in the film only impress to an extent.
Performances are similarly unimpressive. Debutante Vinod Kambli may want to spend some money on acting lessons before appearing in a film again. Sunil Shetty does what is required of him in a small role, but his heart isn┬┤t in the work. Sanjay Dutt is obviously bored with the role and does absolutely nothing with it; the flare in his previous outings as a gangster is glaringly absent. Ashutosh Rana manages to come off menacing in parts, but is overall pretty average. Preeti Jhangiani is wooden and confused in an inconsequential role. Shwetha Menon is alright in a item number appearance.
Technically, the film is weak. The production values appear decades old. The music by Anand Raaj Anand is attrocious. Song picturizations are very cheap. The costumes and make up also deserve a special mention - they are very, very poorly done. The stereotypical gangster/villain looks in the film are often laughable. Editing is alright and manages to keep the film moving at an acceptable pace.
Overall, Annarth is another film to add to the long list of lackluster movies released this year. Despite a pretty interesting star cast and subject, the film is let down by a derivative script and confused direction.┬á
Not even a time-pass.