Friday, April 23, 2010

Prasthanam: A delight to watch

Deva Katta seems to have a fascination for human complexities, in a Shakespearean way. And just like the bard's plays, Deva Katta's 'Prasthanam' (Journey) too leaves a grain within us, that comes back at you the morning after you watch this drama. In his debut 'Vennela', he made us walk through the transformation of Sharvanand's character from a hero type to a anti-hero type. He portrays the frailties of human mind and so the plot always look larger than sum total of characters in such stories.

I loved Deva Katta debut and I was curious how he would follow it up when I heard about this second movie. He only got better and Prasthanam is a delight to watch. It is as realistic and dramatic Telugu movies can get without boring the viewers. As in Vennela, Prasthanam has its strength in layered characterizations, story and dialogues. And that is where Sai Kumar shows what a dynamic actor he is to play multi-layered characters. He subtle action does not conceal that he is a volcano with its inside waiting to explode, and quite rightly so.

The movie is set in Gannavaram and Vijayawada and has a political backdrop. The dialogues make the movie real with its portrayal of politics, contracts, drugs etc and the exploration of human ambition, greed and relationships elevate the movie into a plane unseen in Telugu movies. The casting is good. Sharwanand does well. After Vennela and Gamyam, this is yet another movie he can be proud of. Even small characters leave their mark because they are well-written for.

The negatives are the long duration, the unnecessary songs and insufficient background score. The movie could have been edited shorter and made more engrossing. Mahesh Shankar could have elevated the movie with a better score.

And finally, the title is in line with literary bent of the movie and it makes me wonder Sri Sri's 'Mahaprasthanam' influence. Ironically, among today's directors, Shekhar Kammula, Krish and Deva Katta seem to have the literary touch in dialogues/songs and all three are US returned film school products. What a refreshing phenomenon. Hope to see more of the works of these sensible filmmakers which in turn may inspire many more newcomers to charter new paths for Telugu movies.