WAR BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE, ‘PRASSTHANAM’ DOESN’T GO ANYWHERE

Rating: 2.5/5
Director Deva Katta aspires for an extravaganza but ends up providing typically mundane plot

Remake of the Telugu film of the same name, it’s a tryst between right and wrong, dharm and adharm. Nothing new when it comes to idealization. Loads of family drama combined with tons of politics is what this film is. What charms you initially though turns out to be a lag, alienating you from the very fabric the story is supposed to woo you with. Prassthanam boasting of a stellar cast with a mix of veterans and the young hot shots, had the potential of weaving that fine line of morality with a hint of contemporary realism in times of political undertones, but it isn’t able to cash on to it.

prassthanam, hindi, film, review, 2019
Producer Maanyata Dutt on sets (image source: dailyhunt.com)
PLOT

Baldev Singh (Sanjay Dutt) is a political kingpin. The deserving heir is his step son, efficient and determined Ayush (Ali Fazal), much to the despair of Vivaan (Satyajeet Dubey), the younger son, the real son, but politically worthless. They invite villains from outside and grapple with tension that rises from within the family.

Read ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’ Movie Review Here

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

Deva Katta’s writing is promising, but only for the initial bit where you feel actual thrill. The characters have been introduced smartly, wherein each one of them has a distinct say within the narrative. The complete set-up comes in as a breath of fresh air, and the casual disappointment of the trailer seems to fade out. The film with it’s present-day relevance makes you connect instantly with the overall scheme of things. But alas! It has a short span.

The story with its illogical characterization seems to go nowhere. In fact there is no conflict as such which characters are aiming to resolve. Then why should you be connected to watch the drama?

prassthanam, review, film, hindi, 2019
On sets of the film with director Deva Katta (in white shirt) (image source: regional.pinkvilla.com)

The layers that you like to enjoy unfolding at the outset, begin to drift apart as the story progresses and gets into a hotchpotch mode. So much has been thrown at you to gulp, which at times becomes unrealistic and too ambitious.

Moreover, it is this part that also starts to seem like everyday affair which you’ve been seeing in films and web-series lately. It is actually a setback now in the film that the story that began on a high note starts to tread on a conventionally familiar path, with hardly any new substance on offer.

The director also makes a point with ample references to Ramayana and Mahabharata. The drama has a fair share of plot twists keeping you engaged for the time being, but eventually they are too contrived. The second half is too long and the film just refuses to end. You’ve predicted the end long back and you sit through only because you hope for some plot revelation, which doesn’t occur.

PERFORMANCE

Sanjay Dutt as the head of the family and a veteran in the political thread is admirable. He marks his physical presence felt in the frames he is in and he commands attention. His role is also exquisitely written and he is in full charge. Manisha Koirala is impressive too, wherein she contributes a lot with her body language. But her character is written half heartedly and loses her indentity in the male dominated plot. But it’s a welcome change particularly to see her in this mode. It would have been indeed interesting to see her perspective instead of all the chaos spread by other characters.

Jackie Shroff makes a mark undoubtedly. But he also suffers due to lack of smart writing. Why would the makers have cast an actor of such tremendous potential in a role so trivial? Chunky Pandey off lately has been giving you a real good time in theaters and he doesn’t disappoint here as well. You like him, you cherish him.

prassthanam, film, hindi, review, 2019
A scene from the film (image source: timesofindia.com)

Ali Fazal, although reminds you of his Mirzapur side, he gives a noteworthy performance. He lives up to all aspects of his role spectacularly. He says so much with his eyes that you keep on standing in awe at his skill. He is a true winner in this one. Satyajeet Dubey has a role that has the most shades, and Dubey assures you feel just all of them. He remains limited in his hot headed role, but whatever he does with his boyish charm, stands victorious. He is a hero in this one. Amyra Dastur has a very small role. She acts fine but can’t do much in an underwritten role.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

Music by Ankit Tiwari, Farhad Samji, and Vikram Montrose is just routine and does no good for the plot, or the characters, or even the flow of the plot. The songs hinder the pace of the narrative, it seems quite often. The situations of songs are good but the tunes are poor. Background score is very well in sync with the film and it’s mood.

Ravi Yadav’s cinematography is beautiful, but only in parts. The camera is shaky a lot of times and also cuts the heads in a good countable scenes. The visual grandeur is the film is there establish ing not just the scale of the film but also gives the characters the required persona. Production design by Pallavi Bagga and Suman Roy Mahapatra is also good where you feel the film to a great extent because it’s been positioned in such a scintillating manner.

Ballu Saluja’s work on the editing table is okay, could have been so much better many folds. The graph of the film keeps on moving down, a great hitch in watching this one.

It is a political drama. It is a family drama. But what does it say? Eventually nothing. Why can’t the makers get over with this subject where everything is seen already and thrown decades ago. The film hardly makes a point. There’s hardly any reason why you should watch this.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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