"Prasthanam" has strong political overtones and is the latest entry to an increasing list of politics-oriented films to hit screens in Andhra Pradesh.
Director Deva Katta has been able to narrate a gripping political tale with elements of sentiments, thrill and a little bit of philosophy thrown in. "Prasthanam" somewhere reminds you of Ram Gopal Varma's "Sarkar" and its sequel "Sarkar Raj".
The film's highlight is the superb camera work by Shyam Dutta, good background music by Mahesh Shankar and the hard-hitting dialogues written by Deva Katta himself.
The narrative treads a totally different path, but the movie can certainly be bracketed as a commercial film. It takes different twists and turns during the over three hours it runs.
It has some space for emotional drama but its focus is mainly on political deceit and the nexus between politicians and criminals. Superb performances from many artists add to the film's strength.
Deva Katta has come out with flying colours in the first half, but he falters in the narration in the second half. The film's pace slackens and a couple of sequences and songs are seen as an avoidable distraction. But the director comes out with a good climax, which revives interest in the film.
"Prasthanam" revolves around Lokanatham Naidu, an aide of a local politician who marries the wife of a mafia leader and adopts her children. Soon they too have a son of their own.
As years go by, Lokanatham Naidu has moved into a bigger political league, but he is unhappy as far as family matters go as his step son Mithra and his son Chinna are constantly at loggerheads.
Meanwhile, Chinna, who is a drug adict and an alcoholic, kills his girlfriend, leading to a series of events that have a bearing on Naidu's political and family life.
Veteran actor Sai Kumar comes out with one of his best performances in the movie. He adds punch to his dialogue delivery and makes a good impact in the emotional sequences.
Shravanand shows a degree of improvement in his performance with this film, while newcomer Sandeep gets a thumbs up for his debut work. Actress Ruby Pariwar doesn't have much to in the movie.
Veteran artists like Jeeva and Jayaprakash Reddy are perfect in their roles.
Deva Katta gets very good support from his technical team, though the editing in the second half could have been better.
"Prasthanam" is certainly a different type of film -- much better than many of the commercial potboilers the Telugu film industry churns out these days.
Watch "Prasthanam" if you like films with political overtones.