If you have ever wanted to rewatch a 90s Bollywood movie in the theaters in 2019, Prassthanam might be the one for you. Prassthanam in Telugu means departure (or reign), with this movie it means a departure to Vaastav/Gunda era of movies. It has everything that a 90s movie had as a success formula. Step brother rivalry due to daddy issues, you got it. Guy and Girl meet, music starts playing and all of a sudden they have fallen in love, check. A song having all the year round festival celebrations in a span of 5 days, check. Synchronized street dancing, check. An item number in a club with Mika Singh, you have it. How do they even find so much space in a club for everyone to dance in sync? And there is so much of stag entry, one woman and 30-40 men. Is it really a club?
Sanjay dutt doing his attitude walk from Khalnayak, check. A multi starrer film with Jackie Shroff, Chunky Pandey, Manisha Koirala, Sanjay Dutt in order to attract the audience without a good story line. Check. Check. Check. Fight between the protagonist and antagonist in a train yard. And the antagonist dying because of being run over by a train, check. One hero fighting of an entire army of gangsters in slow motion action scenes, could it BE any more 90s? I mean, the movie is so predictable it sounds like a match story of Indian Cricket team in the 90s once Sachin got out. India loses and so does the film.
Prassthanam is a remake of a 2010 Telugu movie under the same name by the same director and writer Deva Katta. The movie had received some critical praise under the telugu version but had failed on the turnover front. It’s a political family “action“ drama set up in a village in UP. And revolves around the fact that how greed of power brings out the evil in people. Good and evil reside in every person, at the end it’s a matter of choice. It’s been 9 years since the telugu version released and the script seemed to have not undergone any time upgrade. It does seem to be set up in 2019 though, as one of the references made to the cricket team involved the importance of Kohli in the cricket team. Only thing that I felt was missing was the dying out flames indicating death of the husband/father/son (it’s never a woman though, strange)
From a story perspective, Sanjay Dutt (Baldev Pratap Singh) takes over the political reigns in his village as his brother is murdered by the opposition party. Later his father, on his deathbed requests him to marry his daughter in-law. Thus, ensuring she and her two kids are taken care of. Ali Fazal (Aayush) plays the kid of the dead brother’s son and sees Baldev as his father figure. Baldev also sees him as his eldest son and wants him to take over his reign. Meanwhile Baldev’s real kid Vivaan feels sidelined and wants the political power for himself. Hence setting up the stage for a step brother drama for a political seat. There are constant references to Mahabharata and Ramayana throughout the movie. And what better place to set up a movie with references to the two epic hindu scriptures, Uttar Pradesh.
The movie seemed to be responded by older audiences, as the theater I was in had 80% of people above the age of 50 or seemed above the age of 50 (out of 24 though). If we start pointing out things that are wrong in this film, like Haji Ali Dargah in Lucknow . Jackie Shroff getting away by murdering two people in broad daylight in front of all the people in Lucknow. I mean UP does have lots of crime but this seemed like a bit of a stretch. The list would never end. Music is just terrible, even the item numbers aren’t catchy enough to become party hits. Cinematography seems vintage. Editing seems loose, lots of unnecessary information is left around.
After watching this movie, I felt appreciative of how Amitabh Bachhan has aged as an actor and as a filter on the scripts. Sanjay, Jackie, Chunky, all seemed completely out of place, trying to play a young guy and then an overaged person. But hey, if you like watching the yearly WWE Wrestlemania matches of Undertaker, in order to relive the childhood nostalgia you can give this a chance. 141 mins of that one single match is too long for anyone to survive.