As expected, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has given the audiences some beautiful memories to cherish for life. Like a traditional nuclear family, PRDP manages to stay put strongly with the audiences. It is not ostentatious in portraying the love and admiration we keep for our loved ones. Salman Khan, as a dashing prince charming and common man of wisdom, reveals his dual avatar in the film, called Prem and Vijay. Sonam Kapoor is elegant and majestic in the role of queen Maithili, seen romancing the king. What PRDP's most powerful point is the fact that although a story featuring times of monarchy, every character and sequence of the movie is believable. To a fresher's eyes, this film won't seem at all like the starry gathering under crystal chandeliers and baroque ceilings, but an ordinary fashion in which kingdoms prevail. There is no exaggeration of materialism in PRDP, in fact it happens to relate beautifully with each of us, be it a common man or bureaucrats. To get the gist of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, all one needs is a mind to comprehend varying emotions. If you are attached to feelings of love, compassion, forbearance, longing and anguish, then PRDP is just the perfect recipe you should savour.
PRDP leaves you asking one big question: Are we ready to gulp down a mouthful of cheesy romance that is high on ideals and moral values? It’s not like the director is absolutely sure of his own screenplay, but he chooses to keep marching on the road better travelled. Take my words: Elephants, camels, palaces, exotic dishes and soft background score can’t make you happy. You need a family in order to be happy. So true, but isn’t it a bit stretched statement to make through a 174-minute film? Salman Khan is quite likeable in PRDP. In fact, his comic timing has gotten better in recent times. Himesh Reshammiya’s lullabies are the perfect icing on the cake: Enough to make PRDP look like a film straight out of the ‘80s. The trouble with PRDP is, fun-filled scenes turn into tearjerkers in a moment, and you don’t know what’s hit you. It has everything a quintessential Hindi ‘masala’ family film would crave for. But take our advice: Go with a full packet of tissues, you will need all of them. To me, PRDP stands for ‘Poor Rich Devout People.’
Blood is thicker than water. That's what Sooraj Barjatya films are mostly about. Family ties, the stresses and tensions that every family needs to go through and the likes. If you've watched this director's films in the past, you'd get the drift. If not, there's always Salman Khan to fall back on. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is touted as Salman Khan's return to the on-screen Prem, to the prelapsarian Eden where the superstar was still human and not a superhero-human hybrid that Wanted had turned him into. This year, Khan has already checked that Acting Human box with Kabir Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan. With Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, he just does it twice as much. However, while Salman nails his role as the happy-go-lucky Prem Dilwala, his dialogues as Vijay seem to miss a note. Sonam plays her coy-at-times, confident-at-others Maithili with elan. There are times her acting comes across as a bit forced, though. In all, the film works for both Salman Khan and Sooraj Barjatya's specific audience bases. While a Salman fan might miss his super-human antics at times, he does a great job otherwise. Watch the film for Salman.
It is obvious that Sooraj R. Barjatya has spared no expense or effort in erecting the ornate sets and designing the unabashedly garish look of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. But one crucial aspect of the film that would have cost little or no money (the director is himself the writer) but taken far greater effort – the screenplay – is completely neglected. As a result, this overlong and bloated story of a sad and lonely prince – a man who would be king – is told in an old-fashioned, overly melodramatic style that simply does not work in this day and age. 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. The overwrought PRDP might not be that bad, but it is syrupy to the point of being unendurable. Only for Salman Khan fans.
Nothing is a fit in this Salman Khan film. ‘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 two Salmans 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. We don’t need the unbelievably thin script to tell us that the pauper will provide life lessons to said ‘bhai’, ‘behen’, faithful factotum, and toss out pro-tips to his look-alike to win over the ‘rajkumari’. But not in this fumbling, confused, derivative way, where you can clearly see a director out of his depth and comfort zone, which had already started feeling moth-balled a while back : his last real success was ‘Vivaah’ in 2006. ‘HAHK’, for all its extended home video ‘sagaai-joota-chupaayi-shaadi-vidaai’ was all of a piece : in ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo’ nothing belongs, nothing is a fit. And Ms Sonam Kapoor is lissome and quite lovely, but her slim derriere is no match for Ms Madhuri Dixit’s saucy, jutting butt in ‘HAHK’: nope, nothing in ‘PRDP’ for us, in the India of 2015.
Straight away, 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. Salman performs with superb finesse, skillfully creating a caviar-chole bhature cinematic contrast. Ghee-soaked in goodness, PRDP is gift-wrapped with a simple line. 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). With family, stand strong - but also bow. Because nothing hurts like your own blood - and nothing heals like it too.
Meet 'Dilwala' Salman Khan! 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo' is huge in its grandeur, majestic for the eyes and costumes dazzle like beautiful shimmering chandeliers. Sooraj Barjatya has made sure that although he presents his characters in a modern avatar yet the essence of the script is kept hardcore traditional. The opening sounds really with 'Payo ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo' running in the background. The music is again something we haven't heard in longtime. V. Manikandan's cinematography is beautiful for the eyes, while Himesh Reshammiya's songs have that added Rajshri stamp on them. There are a few sequences which can be edited to make the 3 hour long film a little crisp (as now we are used to watching a 2 hour show). But having said do go grab a ticket if you can and make merry while 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo' song runs in the background!