Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
“PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO” is soulful, but long and démodé!
A quintessential Sooraj Barjatya film that epitomizes Bollywood cinema, with a dialogue song in every few minutes, oodles of melodrama, broken families and stress on moral values. But coming from the director who set cult benchmark for love stories with “Maine Pyar kiya (1989)” and set the trend for musical family dramas with “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994)”, the film is a pompous display of all things passé. It may appeal to the traditional Indian families, but for the young viewers across the country, this grand labour of love and moral values will be hard to swallow.
The story follows Prem 'Dilwala' (Salman Khan) – a happy-go-lucky man who does 'Ramleelas' in Ayodhya. All that he earns, he donates to a charitable fund which is run by Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). Enchanted by the simplicity of her nature, her way of leading a normal life and yet being brave enough to save people in the middle of floods, he sets out to meet her and fortuitously, even gets a chance to meet her under unanticipated and disconcerting lines of development. The film then pursues the bond of love between the two, while also representing the unconditional love that all families must have for each other.
Director Sooraj Barjatya, in true sense, has been the real trendsetter for musical family dramas in Bollywood. But what’s disappointing here is that after creating cults decades ago, he is unable to re-invent himself today. His latest film is fraught with clichés, overdramatic, and too unreal for one’s liking. What he did with “Maine Pyar Kiya” was ahead of its times, and followed it up with the engrossingly original “Huma Aapke Hain Kaun”. Repeating what worked once, might not guarantee success 20 years later. The viewers have evolved and so should the films. The films should be more relatable for normal audiences. Not only is the film artificially formal, it’s excessively long too. And the idea of conveying every little dialogue through a song invites ridicule today.
But the film isn’t unwatchable. As is the case with Sooraj Barjatya, the film has a soul, its heart is at the right place and the sets are magnificent. But the screenplay is too delusive to digest .Only if it was more cohesive with the times we live in and the things we do in real life, it could’ve been effective. The songs are too many and most of them are reminiscent of his last film “Vivaah”.
The performances are adequate and are as manipulative as the screenplay. They give cues for when to laugh and when to cry, something that most matured viewers today have moved over. Salman Khan reprises his character of the adorable Prem, and is mostly charming. People love whatever he does and is still greeted with the same loud cheers and whistles even in this mellowed down avatar. Sonam Kapoor does what is asked of her and looks elegant. Anupam Kher and all others render their deliverables decently.
In all, “PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO” is a throwback to the 90’s cinema of Director Barjatya himself. It’s long and exceedingly pretentious. Perhaps we have grown faster than the filmmaker, who’s still making the cinema that we loved back then. It’s time he grows up too. At best, an average film!

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