Sanjay Dutt hasn’t enjoyed a good time at the box office for some time now. Instead of relying on others, the actor takes matters into his own hands, producing his next Prassthanam. He also takes a ‘safe bet’ by remaking a Telugu hit of the same name. Will this finally help Sanjay Dutt bring a change of his fortunes at the ticket windows? Read on:
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Director: Deva Katta
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Ali Fazal, Satyajeet Dubey, Jackie Shroff, Chunky Pandey, Manisha Koirala, Amyra Dastur
Genre: Political-action drama
Date released: September 20, 2019
CBFC rating: U/A
Duration: 2 hours, 21 minutes
Reviewer rating: 2/5
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Setting the scene
Prassthanam opens in Lucknow, 25 years ago, when Baldev Pratap Singh (Sanjay Dutt), the right-hand man of a political leader, takes on the enemies of the family, but fails to save the patriarch’s son. On his death bed, the leader requests Baldev to marry his widowed daughter Saroj (Manisha Koirala) and accept their two children. Cut to present, Baldev is now a wealthy four-time MLA, adored by his constituency, as he gears up to be elected for the fifth time. However, apart from his political rivals and the upcoming election, he also has to find a solution for the histrionics of his rogue son Vivaan (Satyajeet Dubey), the political elevation of his stepson Ayush (Ali Fazal), a mining baron Khatri (Chunky Pandey) and a past secret.
Prassthanam traces the story of a Lucknow family, amid the complicated equations among the members of the family and on the political field. The story is about Saroj’s three children, two from her first marriage and one with Baldev. Vivaan, though the only child of Baldev-Saroj, is furious about his father’s preference for Ayush and hates the behaviour of his family towards him. Ayush follows in the footsteps of his father, in terms of his goodwill for the locals, while they both try to control the damage created by Vivaan. However, things take a turn for the worst when he sexually assaults the daughter of Baldev’s right-hand man Badshah (Jackie Shroff) and kills her.
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Prassthanam, directed by Deva Katta, who had also helmed the original, has a grand premise consisting of numerous characters and a lot is happening throughout the movie. While the movie aims to come across as this gripping and nail-biting story amid family turmoil and political rivalry, the execution is where it falters. The first half still somehow manages to hold your attention to an extent, but after that, the plot crumbles into a mess by the time the end credits come on screen. The so-called ‘twist’ towards the end and the revelation of the ‘secret’ is far-fetched and doesn’t leave any impact.
As far as the performances are concerned, Sanjay Dutt is inconsistent in his performances as a power-hungry politician. He looks laboured in the action scenes, his dialogue delivery is unimpressive at many places and makes an impact only in some of the other scenes.
Manisha Koirala is only crying throughout the film, while Jackie Shroff is only brooding. Amyra Dastur (who you might mistake as Jacqueline Fernandez in some angles) has nothing much to do.
In a film starring so-called ‘veterans’, Satyajeet Dubey surprisingly is the pick of the lot as the spoiled brat, who’d go to any lengths.
Ali Fazal is good, but his act might bring memories of his ‘Mirzapur’ role. Chunky Pandey is among the better performers of this cast. Zakir Hussain is impressive and brings the only comic relief in the movie.
The action scenes seem slow and unconvincing. The music, composed by Ankit Tiwari, is complete in the sense there’s one of every genre, be it romantic, a Qawwali or a full-fledged item number. But nothing quite elevates the film.
Overall, Prassthanam is complicated, much like the equations in the family of the story. Only hardcore Sanjay Dutt fans or those who love the ‘masala’ genre might still find something to cheer about here.
What works: Fairly gripping first half, Ali Fazal and Satyajeet Dubey’s performances
What doesn’t: Action sequences, performances, screenplay
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