Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Year : 2015
Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Armaan Kohli, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher, Swara Bhaskar
In the seventies Tarachand Barjatya’s Rajshri Films thrived on small budget, musical melodramas with long discourses on family values and even longer titles; the Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye types! Then in the nineties, Sooraj Barjatya arrived on the scene and he upped the ante with big budget multi-starrers that carried forward the tradition of similar syrupy family drama themes with good music and longish titles that started the trend for popular short forms (MPK, HAHK and HSSH). Salman Khan was the main protagonist (aptly titled Prem!) in all these films which set the box office on fire, baffling many critics who called the films ‘unending marriage videos’!
Now the same director (whose last film was another ‘marriage video’ Vivaah in 2006!) teams up with the his lucky mascot star (whose star value has since multiplied ten times over, if not more!). So what do they present to audience? Yet another Preachy Prem of course!
But now the marriage video theme gives way to another age-old Bollywood favourite plot-line of yore. So we get a huge palace, couple of resident princes, couple of step-sisters, a visiting princess, some loyal servants and some scheming betrayers. A failed attempt on crown prince’s life leaves him semi-comatose and the loyal staff members decide to present a lookalike simpleton stage actor, who is an ardent admirer of the visiting princess who is engaged to the real prince! Since the actual prince has alienated all his near and dear ones (including his fiancée!) with his short temper, the lookalike now decides to set the house in order with his sweet behavior!
How’s that for a plot of a mega-blockbuster? But a mega-blockbuster certainly is and that makes you seriously wonder about the importance of sense and sensibility in a cinematic plot! I sincerely admire the guts and gumption of the film-maker who shows conviction of making a box-office hit out of such an outdated and silly plot filled to the brim with melodrama and preaching about family values and love.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has lavish sets, plenty of song-dance sequences (mostly unmemorable!), a fairly entertaining first half, a bungled up second half and a stretched climax. It is essentially a 70s film transplanted in today’s times. But it uses its ace of spades well and that is Salman Khan. Sallu bhai hardly ever stays out of frame and makes you forget the inadequacies of the proceedings with his likeable fun persona and sheer star appeal. In a way, it is an extension of his kind-hearted simpleton portrayal in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Sonam Kapoor and the rest of the cast just play along as decorative pieces.
PRDP is an ordinary film which has become an extraordinary hit thanks only to Salman’s Midas touch. It is strictly only for Salman-fans and I am unabashedly one of them.The masses have spoken. The cash registers are ringing loudly! Classes could very well stay away and crib about the serious things like lack of intelligence and intellectual appeal in Bollywood cinema!