Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Prema Katha

In 1988, director/producer Nasir Hussain launched his nephew Aamir Khan's film career with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, a tragic story about two doomed young lovers. In 1999, actor/producer Nagarjuna launched his nephew Sumanth's career with Prema Katha, a tragic story about two doomed young lovers. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is a tragedy along the lines of Romeo and Juliet, although I prefer it to the latter for basically the same reasons stated in this review. Prema Katha, on the other hand, strikes me as a tragedy more along the lines of Hamlet: nothing happens and then everyone dies. (The similarities end there, however, so don't watch Prema Katha just because you're looking for some good existential quotes.)

Prema Katha begins with a somewhat crazy-looking woman telling some kids that she wants to tell them her son's love story.

Her son, Suri (Sumanth), is the type of filmi hero who lives off his hard-working dad's earnings with the excuse that he's holding out for a better job, although he makes no efforts to secure employment of any kind. The type of guy who scolds his mother if she's not around to prepare him food at the very moment when he wants it. He's not a bad guy, but he prefers to spend his time dancing and hanging out with his friends in the village rather than doing anything productive.

One day, a new girl (Antara Mali) shows up, and he instantly falls for her. She's a rich and somewhat clueless girl from the city who quickly comes to appreciate his sense of humor and carpe diem approach towards life. But, then comes bad news.

Naturally, the girl has a homicidal, honor-obsessed brother (Manoj Bajpai), who isn't too happy when he hears about what's been going on in the village. That brings us up to the intermission, so at this point you'll want to skip to the last paragraph if you don't want to read spoilers for the second half.

After various things happen, the girl finally decides to run off with the boy. His parents, her aunt and uncle, and his friends convince them to hide from her brother, who is angrily searching for her. I thought at this point that they might die together -- especially given some apparent foreshadowing about flooding in the place where they were hiding. But no, the movie had something much worse in mind. The brother is temporarily thwarted, the hero and heroine are fine, and everyone gets set for a wedding.

There's a very nice wedding song, my favorite part of the whole movie, which is ruined when the brother shows up with a bunch of armed goons. And then the film degenerates into a terrible bloodbath in which basically everyone with a speaking role gets massacred, starting with the boy's dad and the girl's uncle. The girl asks the boy to do her one last favor and tie the marriage thread around her neck, but he dies before he can. She manages to tie it on herself and promptly dies as well.

And we cut from this lovely scene back to the present, where the poor kids who listened to this story have probably sworn to themselves not to fall in love, since love obviously brings a lot of trauma along with it, for all of your friends and family members as well as you.

So, in conclusion, I would not really recommend this film, unless you're a huge fan of Sumanth and/or Antara Mali. And if you do watch it, prepare to be traumatized.