Prakasan (2017) [Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles 2018]

A man leaves his country village and home to go to the city for work and new experiences. Once there, he discovers he may not be ready for the realities of life in the big city. His difficulty in adapting, the challenges he is met with, and being labeled as something he is not all make him question his decision to be there.

Director Bash Mohammed and writer Rajeev Nair bring the story of a simple man with simple dreams to the screen in a low key manner that serves the story well. The story they build here centers around the title character and makes him the star of the film even if he is not necessarily the most fascinating man, giving him a good, wholesome approach to life, making him an endearing character. However, in the long run, the story runs out of breath and the interest in Prakasan’s journey gets lost in the shuffle. This leads to a film with a good start, a good build up, but ultimately no bang.
The lead of Prakasan is played by Dinesh Nair who does good work here and renders the simple character he gets into a lovable one at first with an oddity about him that is attaching. His presence works for the film and the story and how Nair interprets the character is nuanced enough to keep the attention. It’s a simpler performance for a simply created character. The rest of the cast works well with their parts, most of them being naturals at what they are given, showing a range of emotions and nuances that works for the film.
The images these characters evolve in with cinematography by Pappinu who creates a separate look for the village life and the city life of Prakasan. The village life is green and lush and comfortable while the city life is shown as cramped, lacking colors on the overall, and more stressful. The images are a strong part of what makes the film work in the long run.
Prakasan is film with great cinematography, natural performances, and some interesting points in the story. It however suffers from the lead coming off as too simple, making his plights and his story only so interesting. This is one of those films that may have gained from being a bit shorter or have a stronger lead.