‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ was already a cope-out from my list and after being exploded with mediocre reviews, It was a definite ‘No’. Yet, the plan was made much to my displeasure, One of my two friends (A big Salman fan) wanted me to join and We were meeting almost after a decade since we passed our school and decided to treat with it a movie.
At first, I was baffled and wondered, ‘Didn’t you find any other film to watch?’. I soon realized, There were none actually. I couldn’t miss out this opportunity of bonding, So I’d give in. Believe me, I had no expectations and was well armed with patience to sit for long 3 hours extravaganza.
Everything changed once the film started. I was ‘Pleasantly surprised’, I found myself smiling and laughing more often.
Set in Pritampur Palace of Uttar Pradesh, The film introduces us to Royal family who still has the power to rule the state as monarch. Soon-to-be-crowned Prince Vijay Singh (Salman Khan) is brutally attacked by one of his envious family member before his coronation and arrival of his fiance Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). Vijay is hidden in a secret chamber and replaced by a carefree and simpleton doppelganger Prem Dilwala (Salman Khan) from a nearby village to avoid any cause of panic and probe the attack.
To be honest, There is nothing new to speak about per se. If you’ve seen Barjatya’s previous offerings, It would be nothing less than a cakewalk to predict the pace and how it would end. Sooraj employs his larger-than-life trademark theme of ‘good vs evil’, ‘Family bonding’, ‘Paarivarik Nok Jokh’, ‘Love is thicker than blood’ stretched too long with countless songs, literally testing your patience (facepalm). Also the characters aren’t real enough to care for, whether is it Neil Nitin Mukesh as jealous half sibling (Miscast) or the distant cousin Armaan Kohli (seem to have come straight from Jaan Dushman set with a ‘Khali’ like voice).
Packed with old fashioned tale and stereotypical proceeding (reminiscent of Old Balaji glossed serials), If there is anyone who overpowers this over-long extravaganza, it has to be Salman Khan. Playing double role after years, He is heart-felt as lovable Prem Dilwale, and wonderfully understated as the disciplined prince Vijay Singh, He has such a distinctive aura that it’s hard to imagine what would’ve been the fate of the film, hadn’t he been the central performer?
I have seen Sonam Kapoor proliferating as an actor in ‘Delhi 6’, ‘Raanjhanaa’ and ‘Khoobsurat’. Her Maithili may not be as iconic as Madhuri’s memorable Nisha, yet she is inherently sincere and surprisingly shares a warm chemistry with Salman. It was a welcome relief to see her Maithili sensually take on Prem in ‘Jalte Diye’ and appear more approachable towards her expression of love, almost falling into the line of calling it ‘Sanskari Orgasm’ (pun unintended). Deepak Dobriyal & Swara Bhaskar shines as Kanhaiya & Prince’s sister Chandrika respectively, pity they have relatively short screen space.
I’ve had a hearty laugh watching Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Not only because Salman was endearing but also the film had served us ‘laughter tonic’ to cheer for the kind of cinema we thought we are done with.