Prem Ratan Dhan Payo review: Salman and the film are predictably sweet, just like a Diwali ladoo

Gayatri Gauri

Nov 16, 2015 10:15:06 IST

There is a scene in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, where at it’s most romantic moment, Rajkumari Maithili (Sonam Kapoor) gives Prem Dilwala (Salman Khan) a huge, white feather pen and asks him to write on her back. She goes on to shut all the doors of the large palatial kitchen, signaling her surrender to Prem. As she expresses her love with a Himesh Reshammiya composed song, Prem looks touched, shy, loving and reluctant all at once.

It’s the classic Barjatya romance, full of the nineties’ sensuality and moral, virginal men and women. The kitchen or a terrace is the romantic playground.

 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo review: Salman and the film are predictably sweet, just like a Diwali ladoo

Salman and Sonam in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Screengrab from Youtube.

In 1994, it was no different. Khan was the same, shy and gentlemanly Prem, who was served a loving meal, late at night by Nisha (Madhuri Dixit). Soon they danced to a sensual SP Balasubramaniam number, “Pehla pehla pyaar hai”.

It all started for both Barjatya and Salman Khan in 1989,when they made their debut with Maine Pyaar Kiya. Khan was a younger Prem who gracefully covered Suman (Bhagyashree) when she unrobed herself for him. Once again, SP's bass-heavy voice in "mere rangon mein..”brought out the beautiful, sensual mood of the sequence.

Back to 2015, Barjatya’s sense of romance is still the same: virginal, old world and musical. The hero’s name is the same: Prem. The sentiment is the same: pure love. The values are the same: strong sense of family duty.

The PRDP world is almost the same: rich, big families, but with a difference. They are not the deeply loving joint families of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun or Hum Saath Saath Hain. This Rajshri world has a family full of discord. There are half brothers and half sisters, one father with three wives. They are not just rich. They are royal kings and queens who live in palaces.

This sheesh mahal has a bhool bhulaiya zone full of Mughale e Azam like mirrors and huge chandeliers which are used to display an element most uncharacteristic of a Barjatya film: Violence. Little wonder, that it is the most unconvincing part of the film.

What comes before and after the fight sequences, is the most predictable of plots yet the most appealing part. It works because of what Barjatyas are really good at: massive and blatant emotional appeal.

The film starts with the introduction of this universe. There is a prince called Vijay Singh (Salman Khan, in a small double role). He is betrothed to princess Maithili. Vijay has a half brother, Ajay Singh (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who resents Vijay’s authority as the eldest. Vijay has two half sisters (Swara Bhaskar and Aashika Bhatia) who resent his rightful heritage denied to them because their own mother was not their common father’s queen. There is a secret plot to kill Vijay. In the midst of the story of the prince and princess comes a pauper and a look alike of Vijay Singh—Prem Dilwala.

In some rather contrived ways, Prem ends up resolving family issues while entertaining with too many songs. There's also a football sequence along the way (remember cricket in HAHK?) while a small moustache also plays a significant, romantic role. The screenplay stretches for a good 170 minutes and goes into lengthy brother- sister tearful sagas . A dialogue is thrown in to coincide with the festive time of the film’s release. It goes, “rishta behnon ka hai lekin naam to hai, bhaidooj.”

The acts are well pulled of by Khan with his usual playful balancing; Mukesh charms with his sizzling screen presence and Bhaskar is entertaining in her heartwarming portrayal. Sonam Kapoor is sweet and adequate as the innocent princess but has little to do. The Indian regal costumes in cold pastels, don’t do her slim frame, much justice. She and Khan make an interesting and pleasant pair, even at their subdued best—feathers et al.

Not surprisingly, this Barjatya film is as nice, predictable, old fashioned and sweet as a Diwali laddoo. Full of emotionally engaging, PG-rated Prem leela.

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Updated Date: Nov 16, 2015 10:18:34 IST