Rating: 2/5 stars (Two Stars)
Star cast: Chandan Roy Sanyal, Elena Kazan, Arfi Lamba, Mayank Kumar, Sonia Bindra
Director: Ashish R. Shukla
What’s Good: Originality in its inspired storytelling, a few picturesque shots of Prague and a fresh use of imagery.
What’s Bad: The film fractures in the second half, stumbling on the de-linked portrait it attempts to paint.
Loo break: Quite A Few.
Watch or Not?: Prague is a highly inconsistent film that shifts disturbingly between realities and delusions briskly. The characters which you could view as realistically flawed, emerge as sketchy caricatures that are definitely passion-less. The director’s work grips well in the first half, but repetitive ideas and predictable flow dissipates the energy that the film’s promising look had flaunted! I had a bit too many reservations on the film that eventually left me confused due to its muddled screenplay and hence I wouldn’t really recommend this one to people.
Chandan is an architecture student who has won for himself a project to built his own piece of architecture in Prague. Involved in a romantic relationship with Shubhangi, the man constantly finds himself making conversations with his dead friend Arfi. Shubhangi, a free spirited woman attends a dope party with Chandan, that ends very unpleasantly for him as he finds his friend Gulshan making love to Shubhangi.
The film soon after moves to Prague, where Chandan has been sent for his college project! On a trip to the bar, he meets Elena and almost instantly falls for her. Their relationship moves well till Gulshan makes an entry into their lives. Chandan’s insecurity and his bad experience with Gulshan, team up and come to play when Chandan dons on a hostile cloak and destroys everything he has held dearly in his life – his love, his excellence at work, his friends!
Prague Review: Script Analysis
The basic weave of the film’s story is extremely interesting but has been framed weakly. As a standalone, the idea is conceived brilliantly. The film follows the story of Chandan, his friend Gulshan and the shadow of Arfie. In the first part, the film uses some really fantastic ideas to its aide. Juggling between Chandan’s friendship with Shubhangi and his strange fascination enmeshed with envy for Gulshan, the film has delectable steam.
A couple of scenes in the first half are memorable. The scene where Chandan describes Gulshan, his first encounter with Shubhangi, the dope party and its aftermath, the conversations with Arfi are spectacularly thought! The song from Anamika, ‘Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si’ has been used to convey multiple connotations. The approach and storytelling is ambitiously bold. But the film’s screenplay immerses itself too deeply in the pseudo-artistic, labored attempt at putting up a lucid show that the story ends up losing its soul.
The plotline confuses itself in its own folds as the story treads into complicated terrains that hotch-potches the premise even further. The film’s characters are mostly uni-dimensional characters and hence none of what follows on screen manages to touch the viewers. Elena and Chandan’s love story is just as half heartedly portrayed. The love doesn’t have any high moments or tenderness, and hence the friendships and the romantic relationships all fall flat! There is only one good scene between Elena and Chandan which is their first interaction, which shows how their love might have bloomed further.
The story hides from us many crucial details that could have been imbibed for the betterment of the plot itself. Due to lack of detailing the story seems flaky and doesn’t manage a very hefty response. Despite all the right ingredients, the story is barely smoldering and is infuriatingly twisted. The art of simple storytelling needs revival for sure!
Prague Review: Star Performances
Chandan Roy Sanyal is superlative in a few scenes. His charming smile is hard to miss and the actor maintains his resolute self well. Whatever little impact Prague had on me was mainly due to Chandan’s confident performance.
Elena Kazan has a pleasant screen presence despite lacking in the acting department.
But it is Kumar Mayank who is so brilliant in the supporting role that he is hard to miss. The actor delivers his dialogues with an unbeatable gusto and his confidence in indomitably awe striking.
Actors Arfi Lamba and Sonia Bindra fail to do well in their bits, Lamba especially doesn’t manage to evoke any sympathy in an author backed role that could have been way better!
Prague Review: Direction, Editing and Music
Director Ashish Shukla’s novel direction is visible but with a screenplay that wavering, this was the best that could be managed out perhaps! Introducing the world of a man that the world will easily term as schizophrenic comes alive in Shukla’s celluloid stint. The director very sensitively presents to us the life of a man who has difficulty differentiating between his hallucinations and realities. Luckily, Shukla’s Chandan is aware that he faces severe bouts of delusion often when he finds it hard to shove off a flesh and blood image of talking Arfi that constantly haunts him everywhere!
Shukla also uses the city of Prague beautifully, from the Church made out of bones and the Man with a Cloak, its interpretation in the story is used relevantly. The cinematography is sheer beauty and the music croons hauntingly! The dark storytelling perhaps is the director’s style and I am not in complete disagreement with it. Had the director found a more sound screenplay with an amicably set skeletal framework, the film could translated into a thriving and memorable piece of cinematic delight.
Prague Review: The Last Word
Prague is a very disappointing film simply because I had pined great hopes on it. There are giant irregularities in the screenplay which resist you from smoothly juggling between Chandan’s real and delusional world with ease. The pace is tiring and dark tinge of style doesn’t work as a plus for it! In the end it is just an unnecessarily complicated film with a confused theme at it core. I am going with a 2/5 for Prague. I can’t find myself be impressed with a flaccid film like this that bubbles up tall promises and end you in futility.
Prague releases on 26th September, 2013.
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