Prague, Praha, city extraordinaire.
Prague, Charles Bridge, where the Habsburgs may have taken a breather from putting down insurgencies just for Ethan Hunt and his tribe to descend.
And now Prague (2013) , directed by Ashish Shukla, produced by Rohit Khaitan and featuring Chandan Roy Sanyal and Arfi Lamba who have pretty interesting resumes all of them.
So the movie has as its protagonists students of architecture; Hindi cinema when it is not accommodating actors who may have trained as architects (Rai and Deshmukh) has also had really interesting characters who are architects. There was Dev Anand’s vilayet returned Rakesh in Tere Ghar Ke Saamne a comedy of errors about purab paschim fighting it out over the House(s) that Rakesh Built, and where he in one memorable song sequence imagines Nutan smiling in his evening glass of spirits. Over here we have Chandan (Sanyal) hallucinating a friend (or could this be Shyamalan trying to peddle of a Desi Abroad Sixth Sense) pretty much every where, evening glass of spirits or not. Said friend Arfi (Lamba) is trying to warn Chandan against his new girl friend who could be a bit of a player and befriending a lanky fellow student Gulshan who is definitely a player—and it seems Chandan has a man crush on. There is a party, Gulshan’s character looking deep in mere yaar ki girlfriend’s eyes and giving some “deeper take” to Shahryar/Khayyam’s Dil Cheez Kiya Hai (which architect students are apt to when they get high at their parties). Said girlfriend will soon cheat or will she not on Chandan (for we find out she had on Arfi).
Well the story moves to Prague, where Chandan has to complete his Master’s thesis on, wait for it, war memorials.
Pretty soon the movie descends to an instagrammed film reel of Chandan’s Semester Abroad interspersed with “Cigarette Smoking Is Injurious to Health” disclaimers. Prague is Bohemia, so of course enter gypsy girl/lost child/ (Elena Kazan). Their banter is fun, but as I said the movie is snatches of a good moment interspersed with “Cigarette Smoking Injurious to Health” disclaimers. We have all been there, summer holiday abroad, take a right turn from Patriae Yash Chopra and land into Eastern Europe and thought to ourselves “Would it not be cool if there was an out of the ordinary, niche film made here about an East European city (which was not masquerading as Paris or Italy—we are looking towards you Bhansali and Zinta), no chiffon saris, cashmere sweaters on the set please”. Shukla and Khaitan probably had that idea as well as a lot of dope that never got used in DevD. And thus a film idea was born.
Sadly nothing much else.
Chandan goes on a bender, the movie skips back and forth and for a minute you think it is the painful chronology of a relationship gone wrong. But no it soon appears Vikram Bhattt has taken over the project and Chandan—our student abroad portal to all the lost souls in the 5 km, people dying to see him if they are not dead already.
At one point Chandan leans meaningfully over a balcony and tells Elena how if one were to “invite troubled people to a place, make sure they don’t find an exit before they find peace”.
Comforting words to hear sitting in the dark of a theatre, wondering whether you will ever smile again, see happy colours.
Switzerland hi jaana chahiye tha.view less