Prague is the kind of movie that brings you dangerously close to who you actually are inside... I mean deep inside. So close in fact that you might start scaring yourself. The movie plays on at its own asymmetrical progression but at the back of your mind you’ll hear another reel whirling, it’s the sound of your conscience and it is terrified. Terrified to identify with Chandan, the schizophrenic architect chased by demons he creates himself. As you watch the movie progress there will come a time when the thin lines separating the real from unreal, legitimate from illegitimate, your past and present from your future will all begin to blur and your consciousness will roll into a pile of things you don’t know whether to keep or throw.
That’s what happens to Chandan, he doesn’t know whether to keep or throw, save or delete. Somewhere at an unreachable pocket of his toxic memories lies guilt so intense that it can only be quenched by delving into more crimes. He should have thrown his shame long ago; he should have washed his hands off it and pretended like it never happened. Don’t we do it all the time? Pretend like nothing happened and move on? But his tragedy is that he cannot. Maybe this is how he plans to redeem himself: to dive headlong into a bottomless pit of self imposed blame which multiplies and consumes him every minute; it destroy all possibilities of happiness that crawls his way, maybe it’s his way of punishing himself for things he takes responsibility for. The only way to break free is to sink deeper and deeper into it.
I have always been fascinated by how people and places get inextricably interlinked to the point where one cannot judge whether the place changes the people or the people alter the places. Prague, a city burdened with World War II brutalities demonizes Chandan a step further. The gypsy girl Elena, he falls briefly in love with is a chink which offers him a momentary glance at the Utopic world of freedom and emancipation which is awaiting him; but Chandan is disgusted with its liberties and he cannot bring himself to trust its elusiveness. For him it is too symmetrical, too perfect, too satisfying to be true, so he demolishes it.
Gulshan is the guy from college all of us, at some point in our lives, have met and known. He is uninhibited and carefree. He can flit in and out of places and blend into his environment so well that you wouldn’t be able to tell he doesn’t belong here. That’s his thing you see, unlike Chandan he knows what to keep and throw. His nature is contradictory to the awkward, reserved and mysterious Chandan, who longs to have the effortless charms of Gulshan but ends up envying and distrusting him instead.
No one can be prepared for a movie like Prague, no matter how much you’ve read about it, no matter how well you’ve researched, it is bound to take you by surprise and fill your head with images you cannot connect together because you had decided to let go of them long ago. You did it because before watching the movie you knew what to keep and throw. After watching it however that knowledge might begin to evade you. You will remember the movie like a half forgotten dream and it will grow in your memories as years pass by.