Experimentation is the name of the game. In an effort to provide an alternative to the usual escapist cinema, film-makers are working on subjects that swim against the tide.
PRARAMBH... THE BEGINNING is one such experience. However, the plot of the film is so very offbeat that it may just not interest a majority of filmgoers. Only a handful of pseudo-intellectuals may really appreciate this kind of cinema.
Bholu [Vijay Raaz] is the sole beggar outside a temple in a town. He makes a living by begging for alms from the devotees.
Parbat [Sanjay Gandhi], the local goon, extorts money from Bholu as 'protection fees'. He warns Bholu to try out different strategies to make more money, or else he'd place other beggars outside the temple, thereby ending his 'monopoly'.
Bholu gets a brainwave. He pretends to be a leper, but his 'business' is jeopardized when a young woman, Chamki [Gauri Karnik], with a child, stations herself outside the temple, also seeking alms. Bholu is in a fix and informs Parbat about it.
But when Bholu doesn't see help coming from Parbat, he decides to find out about Chamki himself. What happens next?
The film follows the same format that viewers witnessed in the 1970s and 1980s, when parallel cinema churned out films that depicted the harsh realities of life. PRARAMBH... THE BEGINNING is about freeing oneself from unproductiveness - that's the message it offers. But the pace of the film is so slow that the viewer gets impatient after the first 15 minutes unfold.
Although the intentions of the makers are sincere, PRARAMBH... THE BEGINNING would've made a stronger impact had it been a documentary minus songs, or a stage play. For the cinema-going public, experiments such as these are difficult to digest.
Director Kumar A. Dave's [associated with LAGAAN] subject won't appeal to the viewer of today. Besides, the film has been made in a shoe-string budget and it shows.
Vijay Raaz gets into the skin of the character and does a commendable job. Gauri Karnik is alright. Sanjay Gandhi and Ravi Kale [as tea stall owner] are ordinary.
On the whole, PRARAMBH... THE BEGINNING stands no chance at either the multiplexes or smaller single screens.