"Prassthanam"; Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Manisha Koirala, Ali Fazal; Direction: Deva Katta; Rating: * * and 1/2 (two and half stars)
By Vinayak Chakravorty
Something seems dated right away, and it has nothing to do with nineties sensations Sanjay Dutt and Manisha Koirala being the top-billed stars of the film. You realise why, soon enough. It is the content and execution that trigger off a throwback, though not necessarily in an intended way. The film is a remake of the Telugu potboiler "Prasthanam" by the same director, which released nearly a decade ago. Much has changed by way of mainstream cinematic taste, "Prassthanam" doesn't necessarily take that fact into account.
Like everything in commercial cinema that has a Telugu hangover, director Deva Katta's film is played out with over-the-top flourish. Even by mainstream standards, this mix of heavy melodrama and violence, supplemented by heavier dialoguebaazi, seems jaded now. "Prassthanam" is billed as a drama centred on a political family. It ends up with utter predictability at its core, with very little novelty content-wise.
Why would such a film be made? Because Sanjay Dutt needed a solid showcase for himself more than cater pathbreaking entertainment, to prove that he still matters. Cliched as "Prassthanam" is, it sets up a central protagonist that lets Dutt play to the gallery with trademark swagger and screen presence. At 60, it was perhaps important for the mercurial superstar to underline that he still counts. His last role was a forgettable one in the deplorable "Kalank", after all – which in turn had followed "Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3" and "Bhoomi" in recent times. It has been a while that Sanjay Dutt gave his fans a memorable show.
Everything about Dutt's home-produced "Prassthanam" has been done keeping that sole objective in mind. The idea works as far as casting is concerned at least -- Manisha Koirala and Jackie Shroff, particularly, hark back to Dutt's glory days.
A familiar soap opera kicks off with the story of Baldev Pratap Singh, played by Sanjay Dutt, who has married a widow (Manisha Koirala) to extend his political clout. Writer-director Deva Katta's screenplay largely retains the original larger-than-life text of the Telugu "Prasthanam" with minor variations. Perhaps he should have done a drastic retell – for the sake of an audience that is increasingly warming up to realism when it comes to Bollywood entertainment cinema.
The drama gets its share of twists, mostly in the later half after we have been introduced to the main players. Baldev prefers to trust his more sensible and intelligent step son (Ali Fazal) as his political heir over his own son (Satyajeet Dubey), who is a manic, hotblooded brat. However, the narrative fails to fruitfully utilise the conflict such a situation generates. The story meanders into hackneyed terrain.
In every way, this is a film that harks back to Sanjay Dutt's heydays of the nineties – perhaps that was always the intention, but the impact on presentday audiences could be far from effective. Just as most films of his younger days, too, it is left to the Deadly Dutt to salvage a mediocre show. He does not let down his fans.
From the point of his entry to the overtly maudlin finale, Sanjay Dutt is in vintage form. He executes Baldev Pratap with understated relish, often letting his eyes play out a gamut of emotions from cold fury to gullible despair. Most of the prop cast suffers from poorly written roles and lack of adequate footage, and this includes the veterans Manisha Koirala (ironic, because the plot is woven around her) and Jackie Shroff. Chunky Pandey manages to add a dash of the sinister to his role as villain of the piece. Ali Fazal is good in a supporting act but Satyajeet Dubey, despite an overall impressive show, tends to slip into the occasional hamming mode.
Almost every other aspect that defines "Prassthanam" – including Ravi Yadav's cinematography and Ballu Saluja's editing – tends to work at setting up a deliberately loud idiom.
For that reason, this is your film if you love those old-fashioned, over-the-top melodrama-mayhem packages. There's Sanjay Dutt, of course, if you are a diehard fan. He will guarantee your money's worth.
(Vinayak Chakravorty can be reached at email@example.com)
New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) Asset stripping is something that Indian promoters have perfected into an art form. For years, the Singh Bros - Malvinder Mohan Singh (MMS) and Shivinder Mohan Singh (SMS) have got away with the proverbial blue murder and finally their luck ran out with their recent arrest. The width and depth of the architecture of their fraud is gargantuan. The FIR against the duo along with erstwhile CEO Sunil Godhwani provides details of the modus operandi of the systematic asset stripping. Moreover, it once again throws into stark relief the fact that regulatory oversight failed and the company which saw an inspection as far back as 2010 managed to operate under the radar, continuing with innumerable irregularities without any fear.
Internal inquiries showed that the poor financial condition of Religare Finvest was, to a large extent, on account of wilful defaults of significant unsecured loans, defined for internal purposes as the Corporate Law Book by borrower entities, either related, controlled or associated with the promoters, all of whom had been provided the loans by Religare Finvest on a non arm's length basis, in violation of corporate governance norms and in contravention of policies and prudential behaviour expected of a NBFC registered with the RBI.
Red flags emerged but were disregarded as always. The construct of the scam is listed out in minutiae. In its inspection report of January 6, 2012 for the financial year ending March 2010, the RBI observed that Religare Finvest had a practice of parking a major chunk of surplus funds with fellow subsidiary/group companies/ other companies which were often used for taking positions in securities. This effectively means that punting or speculation was done with these surplus funds in contravention of all corporate governance norms.
The RBI, in its inspection report, further observed that appraisal, sanction, purpose of loans, disbursal report, periodic review, application from the borrowers requesting for limit enhancement, appraisal/rationale for limit enhancement and monitoring of such loans was not available on record.
It appears that over a period of 10 years, 115 entities were funded through this mechanism of the Corporate Loan Book with the total amount of Rs 47,968 crore. The exposure under the CLB peaked at approximately Rs 3,538 crore on March 20, 2012. To dodge the RBI bullet which had highlighted this as a risk area, the exposure around the time of the quarterly review reporting was managed but the disbursements were mischievously re-instated soon after. By doing this, they concealed material facts from RBI and public shareholders.
This way, Singh Brothers, in conspiracy with Sunil Godhwani, being in control of Religare Finvest, caused it to give unsecured, high value purported loans to shell companies and related entities of MMS and SMS. The quantum of these loans at the time of filing the FIR stands at Rs 2,397 crore as principal and Rs 415 crore as interest.
It is evident from the conduct of these entities that they never intended to repay these loans to RFL and defaulted on their obligations simultaneously with MMS and SMS's exit from Religare Enterprises. Clearly the CLB was used as a mechanism to fund promoter related companies. The funds were never paid back and actually whenever any payment was due in these loans, either the loans were renewed for further tenure or were replaced by loans to some other group companies to repay the loan of existing promoter group company - a circular movement of funds.
N.K. Ghoshal, a longtime stockbroker of the two brothers, was the principal, who through 19 of his companies - which have all defaulted since, moved all the money around.