MoviesMalayalam Movies

Praana Review

U/A Drama, Horror, Thriller 2 hrs 47 mins Jan 18, 2019
Average
2.8

Critics

2.8

Users

3.5

Praana Review & Rating

Praana Review: Do Yourself A Favor By Watching This Film Despite Its Flaws

The premise

Making films with a limited number of characters is never easy but such movies pique the curiosity of the audience with an interesting subject. Last year, we have seen a virtually single character movie in the form of Pihu, a Bollywood film starring the two-year-old Myra Vishwakarma. Now, it is the turn of the highly rated actress Nithya Menen to come up with one where she plays the role of a scintillating modern-day character. 

Nithya Menen is the Praana

Nithya returns to Malayalam Cinema after nearly 4 years playing the role of an Indian-English writer whose latest book, Music of Freedom has become controversial as is the case nowadays and she is facing acclaim and threats at the same time. She needs a break. Nithya not just looked the part. She is Tara Anuradha, a bestselling Indian English writer. Such was the phenomenal screen-presence she has. 

She hears about a haunted house in the highlands, she wants to go there just to keep people at bay and to drive home her point. She gets there. Settles in the house. Arranges a few cameras in the living room to record all the happenings. And thankfully it is not an entirely found-footage film. So the cinematography has picture-perfect clarity. 

She communicates with the audience at large, and with the outside world in general by talking, making symbols, toys, telephone, television, thoughts, words, books. And of course, through lights. It's a horror film after all. Her idea of freedom is fascinating at once and is questionable. That is the charm of the character. What happens to her? How and if she survives among the ghosts? Are the ghosts real? Do ghosts exist? Or is it the tricks the mind plays on her? The questions will make you watch the film till the end. This is a big win for director V. K. Prakash. 

Writing and performance

The title itself has unfathomable depth. The protagonist's name itself evokes several unfathomable feelings. Tara Anuradha. Tara. Anuradha. The star. The star writer. Nithya is the star of the show and it is evident right from the first frame itself. Not just because she is the lone player in the film. The film is backed by some of the brightest technicians Indian Cinema has ever seen. P. C. Sriram. The cinematographer par excellence. Rasool Pokutty. The Academy Award (Oscar) winner. And of course, the director himself. One of the most prolific Malayalam filmmakers in recent times. 

Every aspect of Nithya Menen has an enduring charm. Her understated but aggressive beauty. The scanning eyes. The minutest of emotions that appear on her face. The body language. The screen presence. The provocatively brilliant voice. And then there is Nithya Menen the personality. Wowsome actress. Another big win for the film. 
The Team work

But expectedly, it is not at all easy to make such films, and it's even tougher to keep the attention of the viewers not getting diverted. The locations don't change much. The scenery is claustrophobic. The lights and shadows are frightening. The sounds are eerie. So, it solely depends on the creative levels of the director to make such films tick and the experienced V. K. Prakash passed the test with distinction. But the distinction is never 100%, right? ! 

The dialogues are not up to scratch. The usage of pure Malayalam for a character who is a modern day young Indian writer who writes in English damn you! There are moments which are eerily boring. There is this obvious lag and repetition like in the case of Pihu and every such limited-character-film. 

What worked for Pihu is the age and the innocence of the main lead. A two-year-old kid. Our hearts come into the throat with every tough situation she faces. There is an inherent parent in every person's soul. But here Nithya Menen as an impassioned writer of polemic thoughts couldn't induce such sympathy. Of curse, we like her. But there is a difference. After all, it is a fact that not many men like a woman with self. Still, Nithya Menen outdid herself with her performance and lent a gracious weight to the film. Literally. 

The rest

The production design is first rate. The location is fear-inducing. The score is superb. The editing is the best possible for the source material (read: shots). The production scale and values are competent. The production team has done a favor for themselves by bankrolling this film. 

Finally

Praana is not a film for everyone nor is a film to be ignored by everyone. A must watch for the genre lovers. A feast for Nithya Menen fans. She appears virtually in every frame in this film, no? But there are some glaring flaws but they are common to the basic theme of the film. Any limited-character-film has that problem. Just go and watch it. It's worth the effort. 

Positives

  • Nithya Menen
  • The core concept
  • The ideas about freedom

Negatives

  • Obvious drag in the narration
  • Dialogues could have been better

Pycker Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Reviewed by: GitacharYa

Praana Critic Reviews

Praana User Reviews

  • G

    19 Jan 19 @ 6:30 AM

    Terrific film and Nithya took it to the next level 

  • G

    19 Jan 19 @ 6:30 AM

    Terrific film and Nithya took it to the next level 

Praana Preview

What is Praana about

Praana is more of an experimental film. What makes this unique from other mainstream cinemas is the number of actors. Very few movies would boast of such uniqueness. Believe me, there is only one actor throughout the movie. Praana film sheds light on various incidents that happen in a house haunted by a spirit that rose from an earlier unnatural death that happened in-house. Being the sole person living in the house, the movie takes us through the mental psyche of the inmate of the spirited house.

Reasons to watch Praana

The story

Very intriguing story indeed. Just one person living in a huge mansion. To add more terror to it- the house is Haunted. It will rip apart the heart and mind of any sane person. The horror elements with perfect audio effects shake even the bravest of all. One should indulge in theatrical experience to completely enjoy the technical brilliance of the movie.

The Sound Feature

Praana has first of its kind of Sound Effects in the history of Indian Cinema. It has used the Surround Sync Sound Technology which means that recording take place at the time of action. There is no second recording. And who better than The Oscar Winning Sound Designer Resul Pookutty. Who else can capture sound as perfectly as him!! This unique sound feature is a relatively new phenomenon in Indian Cinema. Louiz Banks has been roped in for the music.

The Cinematographer

PC Sreeram requires no introduction. He is one of the finest in the country. He has a legacy of being associated with the best talents in the industry and has also wielded the camera for the best movies. Each frame of Praana will have "The Sreeram Effect".

The Sole Actor

Nithya Menen as the writer Tara Anuradha looks uber-cool in some shots. But even the bravest will freak out when living all alone in a haunted mansion. She has nailed the role as the petrified inmate.

The Director

VK Prakash is a National Award Winning Technician. He had been associated with movies which trod on the unusual ideas, In short, he is an out-of-the-box thinker. Making an experimental movie of this stature, that is, by roping in the best of technicians and having just one main lead, requires immense guts and confidence, hats off to him!!

A sound horror-thriller to be watched!!!

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