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Without doubt, one of the greatest Telugu movies ever made
Despite all it's faults- the shitty and unnecessary songs, a very bad romantic angle which is incongruous with the story and some poor jokes - despite all of that, Prasthanam is without doubt, one of the greatest Telugu movies ever made. And even if we compare it on a global level, with other political thrillers in English, Hindi and other languages, this movie deserves a place in top 50.
So what makes Prasthanam, so great a movie?
1) Story - The actual story begins in the second half, and the viewer who has been taken on a bicycle ride until then, is taken on a roller-coaster ride of twists and turns. But, unlike ordinary thrillers, behind these twists and turns, the three central themes of the movie - jealousy, corruption of character by greed for power, father's love - play out beautifully and come to their blossom fittingly in the climax - like a perfect Christopher Nolan movie.
2) Dialogues - No words to describe those dialogs. They are so powerful. So profound. So deep. Especially the ones in the climax. Hearing each one of them delivered by the deep voice of Sai Kumar gives you goose bumps. These are the dialogs to die for. You can watch the movie however many times just for these.
3) Acting - The three main characters are played to their utmost perfection by the actors Sai Kumar, Sarwanand and Sundeep Kishan. Especially the portrayal of the complex character by Sai Kumar is beyond the boundaries of imaginary perfection. I wonder, why he didn't get a national award for best actor.
4) Character of Father - Never in Telugu movie history, was a character as complex, had so many shades and yet at the same time, so realistic as that of this central character. It has father's love, greed for power, guilt and loyalty - shades that are so against each other - but which are so beautifully blended and built in this character by the director, that this factor alone would make the movie a timeless classic.
So, why didn't Prasthanam win any national award or why was it not the Indian entry for Oscars. I have no idea!!! I can only think that it's because of the faults I mentioned in the first paragraphs. But one expects that the judges who are supposed to be esteemed critics of movies and know their ins-and-outs, would happily overlook these small hurdles on the road to cinematic wonder provided by Prasthanam.