'A tribute to classic Indian cinema', well, that's what the makers claim before rolling the start credits in Rajeev Khandelwal's 'Pranaam'. But, a few minutes into the film and you realise this is not what you had signed up for.
'Pranaam' begins with an injured man struggling his way towards his humble abode. The film hits the flashback button and we're served a platter full of troupes, which probably most of us believe Bollywood should do away with. Our protagonist Ajay (Rajeev Khandelwal) is a dutiful son who wants to fulfill his father's dream of seeing him become an IAS officer.
When he stumbles upon his peon-father picking up leftover plates at a restaurant to earn extra income to meet their ends, Ajay is devastated and takes up a job as a watchman. However, an unfortunate incident changes his life forever and compels him to become a gangster.
While 'Pranaam' is supposed to be a tribute to the era of the 80s, instead, it appears largely to be a film stuck in a time warp. Director Sanjiv Jaiswal, who is also the writer of the film, fails miserably in holding your attention for long. The inconsistent screenplay, tacky dialogues and the excessive melodrama pull down the film by several notches.
Speaking about the performances, Rajeev Khandelwal who was quite impressive in 'Aamir', is seen here hamming and looks quite uncomfortable in his dialogue-delivery in certain portions. His leading lady, Sameksha Singh puts up a forgettable show.
Even the talented Atul Kulkarni appears a bit cocky with the way his character is shaped up in the film. Vikram Gokhale ends up with an unsubstantial role. Abhimanyu Singh's menacing act lacks novelty factor. The rest of the cast has nothing much to offer.
Akashdeep Pandey's cinematography is average. On the other hand, the film suffers from tacky editing. None of the songs leave an impact and instead, only add minutes to the run-time.
In one of the sombre scenes in the film, a character tells the other, "Hum zindagi ko nahin zindagi humko plan karti hai." Thankfully, the audience has the option of skipping this one. I am going with 1.5 stars.