Prassthanam movie review: Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff and Manisha Koirala in a film that suffers from dated storytelling
Prassthanam is built on countless conflicts, awash with textbook characters and dated in its story-telling.
Deva Katta directs the Hindi adaptation of his 2010 Telugu film Prasthanam about political ambition and corruption leading to downfall and tragedy in a family. The drama unfolds around one family. Sanjay Dutt plays Baldev Pratap Singh, a man with political ambitions, which gets fast-tracked when he is handed over charge of a rural power centre. He cements his hold when he agrees to marry the dying leader’s widowed daughter-in-law and adopt her two children.
Baldev is a powerful leader who is bracing to fight to retain his seat. His sons are his Achilles Heel. Saroj (Manisha Koirala) is mother to Ayush and Palak but the birth of her third child, her son with Baldev, creates a rift between the stepchildren.
The grown up Ayush (Ali Fazal) is a measured and thinking man being groomed to take over the political reins from Baldev. Palak (Chahat Khanna) is estranged from the family, resentful of her mother for remarrying and unwilling to forgive her for having Vivaan (Satyajeet Dubey).
Baldev is banking on Ayush as his heir apparent, but Vivaan wants to stake his claim to the political dynasty as well. Baldev recognises his offspring’s faults – as an entitled and spoilt boy who lacks the acumen to lead. As he says to Vivaan, “Ayush thinks before doing a job, but you don’t think even after doing the job.”
Vivaan, who sees himself as the “beech mein latakta pendulum”, makes a series of bad decisions in an attempt to earn his father’s trust. His actions impact not only his immediate family, but also the key players around them, such as Baldev’s loyal right-hand Baadshah (Jackie Shroff) and Palak’s family.
In the world created by Katta, there are no good guys. Each one has a vested interest, besides a couple of the women, in particular Saroj who mutely accepts her fate as ordained by the men in her life, and receives no sympathy as she watches her family being destroyed.
Fazal and Dubey provide the emotional heft as the two warring sons. Shroff and Dutt rehash characters they have assumed in the past whereas Chunky Pandey and Zakir Hussain reduce their villainy to a spoof. Koirala is relegated to the shadows as the long-suffering widow, wife and mother.
The style of the film veers from domestic soap opera to dramatic crime and action stitched together by political drama. Structured like a Shakespearean tragedy, Prassthanam is built on countless conflicts, awash with textbook characters and dated in its story-telling.
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