Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: A 90’s romance doused in today’s predictable colours
Although Salman Khan has always starred in movies with a strong plot which end up becoming box office hits, his latest movie, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP), could only manage to achieve the latter. The plot is not cohesive nor can it be categorised as a typical Sallu movie.
Khan plays a double role in PRDP as Prem Dilwala and Yuvraj Vijay Singh, the latter being the Prince of Pritampur and the former being a stage actor. However, they have one common interest – Rajkumari Maithili Devi, played by Sonam Kapoor. Although Vijay is engaged to Maithili, he cannot keep out of trouble because of his temper issues. He faces an assault from his enemies, his step-family, and needs time to recover. In the meantime, Vijay’s loyal men discover Prem, his look alike, whom they befriend and ask to protect Maithili while Vijay recovers.
The movie does have romance, dance, songs, action sequences, and emotions, but it lacks the ‘Sallu factor’ that makes his movies memorable and successful. However, director Sooraj R Barjatya does manage to balance it out in the end.
PRDP revolves around people worshiping social status, emphasises on the significance of a family, celebrating culture and tradition, and highlights friendship. However, it does seem that PRDP is just an amalgamation of Barjatya’s previous movies with the addition of some new scenes, wrapped in a new colour and romance. The movie is somewhat original but predictable at the same time.
Furthermore, the narrative of the movie is vague from the very beginning till the end, but Sallu and Kapoor’s performance manages to add some colour to it, especially when it comes to Prem’s character.
When Prem replaces Vijay, the viewers will forget about the latter, the real prince and the future king of Pritampur. This might not have been the case had there been scenes added in between to keep reminding the audience about Vijay’s existence. Even if the character was not to be given due importance, it raises the question of why did the movie open with him in the first place? And that leads to a number of other questions, especially when Prem and Maithili start their relationship.
Will Vijay really return? Will Maithili come to terms with the fact that she is interested in Prem and not Vijay? And most importantly, who will marry her?
Furthermore, choosing Kapoor in the movie opposite Sallu was perhaps not the best decision, simply because of their apparent age difference. She looks much younger than Salman – 20 years to be exact – and the age difference makes the gap evident in their acting as well.
However, the movie does manage to hold the middle ground during its three-hour long runtime. It does not have many heart-pumping action sequences or any dialogue that becomes a Sallu patent one-liner.
On the contrary, PRDP offers a conservative narrative that remains unclear, but it does not let viewers sway away from the screen because of Khan and Kapoor’s presence. Had there been another actor in place of Khan, the movie would have definitely lost its charm.
The movie shows 90s Bollywood romance; there is passion yet shyness, there is love yet limits, and there are emotions yet the consciousness of not giving one’s family a bad name. Moreover, the kitchen, balcony, and the front yard are the places where romance blossoms instead of the streets or on top of the mountains. This is a typical Barjatya movie and he has done justice by keeping the tradition of his Bollywood movies alive.
With PRDP, Khan’s acting skills of the 90s have resurfaced, when he used to perform roles while keeping his shyness and charm in place. The family structure shown in PRDP is akin to the ones shown in Barjatya’s movies of the same era. However, the family ties in the joint family system shown in PRDP are sore as Vijay’s stepbrother wants to get rid of him for the royalty– a concept that wasn’t popular during the 90s!
PRDP shows the true feelings of love in its scenes, and Khan’s name, Prem, indicates that it truly is a 90s flick of 2015.
Mukesh shows his evil side pretty well while Kher acts as a loyal friend who wants to take care of both Vijay and Prem.
Furthermore, the soundtrack of PRDP is good to be heard in the movie, apart from the Palak Muchahal version.
Other songs in the movie resemble the ones produced and composed a decade ago, which is another trademark of Barjatya’s movies. All the songs are soft, romantic ballads that will, while watching the movie, make you drowsy.
Jalte Diye (Harshdeep Kaur, Shabab Sabri, Anweshaa), Aaj Unse Milna Hai (Shaan), Bachpan Kahan (Himesh Reshammiya) are slow songs and I don’t feel any of them are worth being a part of your playlist. If the story is vague, then the songs are also mediocre.
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