Prem Ratan Dhan Payo review: Beautiful family movie of Salman Khan

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Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

Movie: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Deepak Dobriyal, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Armaan Kohli, Swara Bhaskara, Aashika Bhatia
Direction: Sooraj R Barjatya
Genre: Family,Romance, Drama
Duration: 2 hours 54 minutes
Production company: Rajshri Productions
Music director: Himesh Reshammiya, Sanjoy Chowdhury
Release date: November 12, 2015 (India)

In 1989, ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ released. Coming from the Rajshris, a production house that prided itself on being low key, the film’s impact was cataclysmic. Bollywood discovered a new hero. Salman Khan found his most durable role in Prem, who took his ‘dulhaniya’ away much before Raj. And debutant director Sooraj Barjatya found his métier, and mind-blowing box office success.

From then on, Salman Bhai has essentially been parlaying Prem, or a variant of it, and has done best when he plays that guy with equal parts brawn-and-heart. And Sooraj Barjatya has essentially made the same film since, or a variant of it : in his universe, which essentially consists of a large Hindu joint family, the sons are ‘agyakari baalaks’, the male elders are benevolent despots, the women cook and serve, the men are pandered to, and pigeons and poodles are romantic accessories.

PRDP-best-wallpaper-of-salman-khan-and-sonam-kapoor PRDP best wallpaper of salman khan and sonam kapoor
Salman & Sonam in PRDP

In 1989, ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ released. Coming from the Rajshris, a production house that prided itself on being low key, the film’s impact was cataclysmic. Bollywood discovered a new hero. Salman Khan found his most durable role in Prem, who took his ‘dulhaniya’ away much before Raj. And debutant director Sooraj Barjatya found his métier, and mind-blowing box office success.
From then on, Salman Bhai has essentially been parlaying Prem, or a variant of it, and has done best when he plays that guy with equal parts brawn-and-heart. And Sooraj Barjatya has essentially made the same film since, or a variant of it : in his universe, which essentially consists of a large Hindu joint family, the sons are ‘agyakari baalaks’, the male elders are benevolent despots, the women cook and serve, the men are pandered to, and pigeons and poodles are romantic accessories.

‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, also heavily colour-coded via the Ramayan, draws heavily from Barjatya’s previous work , with one glaring cosmetic difference : he sets it not in homes that people like you and me live in, or relate to, but in a grand palace. We get not one but double role of Salmans Khan for the price of one : a commoner called Prem Dilwale ( a play on SRK’s next, also called ‘Dilwale’?), and a prince called Vijay. They are identical looking, so you know where this is going from the get go : out pop the evil step brothers and deluded step sisters, faithful foot-soldiers ,a pretty princess, a dastardly plot, and tada, there’s your switcheroo.

PRDM Wallpaper Prem Ratan Dhan Payo Trailor official wallpaper
PRDM Wallpaper

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is Salman Khan’s triumph. Salman simply blows the top off the theatres with a double role that makes you laugh, gasp, sigh – and cry. Prem Dilwale, Ayodhya’s Ram Leela artist, admires Princess Maithili (Sonam) and her charitable work. Prem decides to meet Maithili at the coronation of her fiance Prince Vijay (Salman) in Pritampur. But Vijay’s fallen prey to a conspiracy by his wicked brother Ajay (Neil) and relative Chirag (Armaan). As Vijay suffers their violent assault, Pritampur’s Diwan (Anupam) asks Prem to play Vijay’s part – and protect Maithili.

But what happens when Maithili is drawn to Prem? And when Vijay wakes up?

Salman performs with superb finesse, skillfully creating a caviar-chole bhature cinematic contrast. His Vijay is tense, terse and taut, radiating machismo but no gentleness, loneliness with king-sized ego. His Prem is luminous with life, cheekily cheery – teasing Diwanji as ‘virgin Bapu’ – then deepening, like sugar stirred into kheer, in silent gazes of hesitant love. The acting is ace – this year is Salman’s finest yet in cinematic grace.

Sonam carries off her princess beautifully, a stylish cross between Gayatri Devi and Coco Chanel, conveying a girl wrapped in delicate chiffon, but with a free, passionate soul. Deepak Dobriyal delights as Prem’s dost Kanhaiya, Armaan works a violent swagger well while Neil sulks as a sour prince whose gimlet has way too much lime. Playing bitter sisters, Swara and Aashika have one of the film’s sweetest moments – with a brother who stops being a royal pain.

PRDM- Prem is back PRDP poster of salman khan double role
PRDM- Prem is back

There’s always room, you suppose, for yet another reimaging of the Ramayan, and its million stories. Especially if it has Salman Khan, after all these years of practice, sliding effortlessly into being Prem, and lifting the film as much as he can, even managing quite miraculously not to giggle when his co-star, the-laden-in-tasteful-zardozi-and-industrial-weight-polki-diamonds-Kapoor, hands him a feather, very ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ style, in between her other clothes-horsing and jiggle-jaggling.

There are slight drawbacks. Some unconvincing sequences – a feudal football match, giggling flood relief, dancing halwais, action atop a plyboard mahal – could’ve been trimmed. But the film captures the gold-rimmed goggles and mothballed notions of a mofussil maharaja. And alongside tradition, it presents modernity too, in a princess who chooses her own prince – and an aam aadmi more regal than royalty (whose feather redefines Mughal-e-Azam’s love scene).

PRDP is a film about family, love and friendship that wants to make all the right noises but does not seem to be aware that the language for that kind of communication is no longer what it was when HAHK’s Prem spread love and laughter over two decades ago.

Ghee-soaked in goodness, PRDP is gift-wrapped with a simple line. With family, stand strong – but also bow. Because nothing hurts like your own blood – and nothing heals like it too.

 

 

Product
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Reviewed by

on 2015-11-12
Rating
Summary
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is Salman Khan's triumph. Salman simply blows the top off the theatres with a double role that makes you laugh, gasp, sigh - and cry.

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