Prem Ratan Dhan Payo Movie Review

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Dekho, dekho, woh wapas aa gaya. Prem, wapas aa gaya...Yes, superstar Salman Khan is back in his most loved avatar - Prem - and he is bang on! In the last two films, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and now, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Salman has proved that he knows best what commercial entertainers are all about. They brighten our festivals, spread joy and make for the most delectable family outings and sometimes without breaking bones or cars.
With Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, he is nothing like Chulbul Pandey of Dabangg, he is nothing like Lovely Singh of Bodyguard, he is not Kick's Devil and neither is he Zoya's Tiger from Ek Tha Tiger. He is all heart and all Prem and Barjatya has left no stone unturned to ensure that he makes his favourite actor and favourite character return in style.

To many, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo might sound and seem dated. But Sooraj Barjatya knows how to use long lost values as a strength in his movies. It is a quaint treat for those who have forgotten what family entertainers are all about. PRDP, with nearly three hours' staggering runtime and songs-every-10-minutes, can often be taxing but Salman laces it with an irreverent charisma, and makes it completely different from anything he has done in the recent past.
 
To those who've tried playing double roles in films in recent years, take a tip from the superstar. Afterall, that's one thing experience teaches you : how to be creative with your roles. Salman, in his twin characters, is starkly different. One, the affable Prem Dilwale (don't miss the irony of the name!) and other, the crown prince of Pritampur - Vijay. The former wears a dhoti and dances in Ramlilas, the other is a fencing expert and speaks fluent French while he reaches out for his champagne. When a mishap makes the crown prince invalid, the other steps in to fill in his spot. In one scene, while Prem is still getting a hang of Vijay's mannerisms, in a matter of seconds Salman shifts his demeanour effortlessly from playing Vijay to being Prem. There are two such striking scenes in the film in which the actor shines. It is so refreshing to see him add variety to his roles, after years of being accused of sleepwalking through characters. 
 
Kudos to Bhai for making some bold choices this year - from underplaying the vulnerable Pawan in Bajrangi Bhaijaan to being the epitome of an 'ideal man' as Prem in this one.
 
But as a standalone film, PRDP's story is as predictable as it gets, often silly, but Salman never lets these negatives play a spoilsport. The most disappointing thing about it, however, is Sonam Kapoor and her complete lack of chemistry with Salman. She is extremely superficial as Maithli. Though, we give it to her that she has the look and mien of a gorgeous princess, but that's about it. A large part of the film drags because the two can't show any onscreen magic. As the duo totter between songs, it is visible that they fail at recreating the Rajshri romance alike Salman-Madhuri or for that matter even Shahid and Amrita.
 
Another mistake Barjatya makes, is that never dives headlong into describing the root cause of the terse family relations. The fair amount of flashbacks don't quite feel real and the patch-ups are over-simplistic. A lot of actors in the film also go unused. Neil Nitin Mukesh and Swara Bhaskar are forgettable in their underwritten parts. Armaan Kohli is menacing but hardly has a presence. Amongst the supporting cast, it is Anupam Kher as Diwan who is first-rate. His camaraderie with Prem and his love and loyalty for Vijay, is something to relish. 
 
A die-hard Salman fan can vouch for the fact that a Salman Khan film is all about Salman. In this film that is not the case. You can hardly find any glimpses of his swag-filled charm. For the love of Sooraj, Salman is clearly the most sincere he has been in a long time. He holds together the loose plot and makes the movie a delight to watch. It is not everyday you find a story that attempts to reinstate family values. Barjatya's simplicity is the film's biggest strength and that he puts forward in the garb of ornate frames and beautiful palaces. The story is as simple as it has always been .... it's all about loving your family.
 
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo makes for a sparkling watch this Diwali. Fall for the grandeur, reconnect with values and try not to seek much of a story. Though we must warn you that sitting through a three-hour long film can be daunting in times of web-series and short films. But that's what Barjatya is all about. Take some time out of your busy schedules to return to a bygone era, of simpler things, family films and Prem - who is waiting for you with his arms open.
 
We rate this movie, a 60% 

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