Movie Review: Prassthanam; Old ‘whine’, new bottle

Film: Prassthanam

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Ali Fazal, Satyajeet Dubey, Manisha Koirala, Chunky Pandey, Jackie Shroff, Amrya Dastur

Director: Deva Katta

Rating: * *

A reprised remake of the south side/Telugu hit ‘Prasthanam,’ this double s’ed Hindi version, directed by the original’s director, Deva Katta, transposes the central plot into the Hindi heartland Ballipur, UP.

So now we have MLA Baldev Pratap Singh (Sanjay Dutt), a rural politician, marrying a widow Saroj (Manisha Koirala) with kids in order to gain a respectable position in society. Baldev, over the course of time develops a stronger, more meaningful and trusting bond with his stepson Aayush (Ali Fazal) rather than his own younger, and hopelessly spoilt progeny, an enfant terrible, Vivaan (Satyajeet Dubey). So intra family rivalries interpolating into political volatility, were to be expected I guess.

Frankly there’s nothing new here. Neither the story, set-up, casting or the production values (Produced by Sanjay and Maanyata Dutt) has merits enough to bring this sorry family drama into the public reckoning. The story line resembles a hackneyed 90’s family cum political drama.

The scripting doesn’t have anything new to offer. There are so many similar stories playing across new media today that this feels rather antiquated and lacklustre. Sanjay Dutt, in the lead role, lacks the majesty or energy to command an audience with his performance or presence alone.

Ali Fazal’s talents are well represented here and Satyajeet Dubey is impressive as the violent instigator. Unfortunately, Manisha Koirala doesn’t have enough screen time to make her presence felt while Chunky Pandey and Jackie Shroff have nothing much to do. The runtime is rather long drawn and the ensuing hysterics, though actively paced, fails to garner interest. The fact that the producers were too afraid to show the film to the review press before its theatre release only underlines this film’s obvious fault lines.