Film: Prague; Cast: Chandan Roy Sanyal, Elena Kazan, Kumar Mayank, Arfi Lamba; Directed by Ashish R Shukla
Prague opens in India where the dynamics of Chandan’s inner world are manifested in his relationship with an undependable Indian girl named Shubangi and his two closest friends Gulshan (Kumar Mayank) and Arfi (Arfi Lamba) one of whom, we soon realise, is dead. This is when we begin to realise that Chandan’s character is losing his mind. As he and his two best friends move to Prague, the stage is sturdily set for Chandan’s descent into hell.
As for Chandan the actor, he embraces all the confusion, complexities, insecurities and insanity of his character. In some sequences where his madness overtakes his better judgement, he allows his character to take over. We can see him floating in the tides of whimsy.
The casting of Chandan’s two friends is also of the utmost importance. The cocky self-centred Gulshan as played by Kumar Mayank is the most fatally charismatic character in this intricate jigsaw of light and death. And the wimpy, whiny, over-possessive Arfi.
Then there is Elena Kazan, last seen as Randeep Hooda’s neurotic alcoholic girlfriend in John Day. Here she plays a far more normal girl who is forced to join her lover in his journey into hell. Elena brings a whole lot of tragic charm to the proceedings.
But we know this love story too would end in terrible tragedy. Just as the first love story in the Mumbai section of the film when ‘Shubhangi’ the bitch, who betrays in love, becomes indicative of the malaise of rejection that destroys Chandan’s life.
Dark, sinister, wild and unpredictable, Prague takes us into the depths of despair. Not all, or even some of the events in the film make sense when judged against conventional populist elements. This film dares to court the dark side of the human mind. The very powerful Chandan plays an artiste on the brink. As he topples over, we get a vivid view into the abyss that separates man from madness.
Prague is a tough film to ingest.