Prem Ratan Dhan Payo : Bollywood Fairytale
Watching Rajashri Production monogram on the big screen is a different experience altogether. It is kind of a guarantee that you are in for a indian traditional family musical extravaganza which will take you on an emotional ride with necessary entertainment along side. Since decades, Indian families are thronging to the theatres to experience these unforgettable treats by Barjatya’s. This format which achieved pinnacle of success in the 90s blockbusters “Maine Pyar Kiya” and “Hum aapke hai kahn” could not achieve that kind of fan following in the movies followed later as the main lead Salman Khan could not feature again as the protagonist “Prem” in those movies.
So after a decade or so, Salman Khan coming back in a Suraj Barjatya movie is a national event of sorts. As the promos rightly proclaimed “Prem is Back”, people were waiting for this movie since it was announced and the trailer took the buzz even more forward. Everyone is looking to be enthralled by this uniquely Indian Family Musical Saga where story, screenplay and every other cinematic sense takes backseat and pure emotions take over everything else. If it is successful, it is a feat in itself to achieve that as not many can do it. Can PRDP do it again?
So this time it is a story which has been seen many times earlier in Hindi Cinema where a normal person gets into a situation where he has to play the role of a rich, powerful person. As this good hearted simple man gets into the complexity of that person’s life, he resolves many issues with his simplicity and good hart. But at a crucial juncture, the real one appears and the issues getting resolved get temporarily entangled again till the climax when “they live happily ever after…”.
This story and screenplay by Sooraj Barjatya is oft repeated and as cliched as possible. The movie is very lengthy and lacks interesting events. Still it is able to keep you involved with a little effort from yourside. Dialogues by Aash Karan Atal are good.
Director Sooraj Barjatya is successful in keeping the audience somewhat engaged with a huge canvas, good music and doses of emotional sequences. When you go for a Sooraj Barjatya movie, you know what you are expecting. You want those silly romantic and emotional sequence to go week in knee and move your heart. You want to cry and laugh with those characters. You want to relive the nostalgic 90s. And you are ready to overlook any amount of cinematic liberties if these things are delivered.
Even after so much forgiveness granted in advance, we can not help noticing the failure of the movie in attaining the level it could have achieved. As expected it is a musical where songs start at unexpected locations. Thankfully, most of them are good and most are not. The football match song and the sequences are big failure of the movie pulling it down several notches.
Director fails in utilising the tension between the brother and sister and the conspiracy theory behind the main prince of the estate. The big let down is the background music by Sanjoy Chowdhury, which fails in elevating the sequences to its optimum levels. BGM of Maine Pyar Kiya is still remembered and was part of the story telling. It is missed big time here.
The settings of the movie are such that we sometimes feel Sanjay Leela Bhansali could have given better justice to few scenes. There was enough meat in the story which could have been better with better writing but it didn’t happen. Why do Directors do not hire professional writers? It would cost them less than the budget of a song which can be easily dropped.
The movie is watchable and bearable only and only because of Salman Khan, Music and Production Design. Strictly in that order. Salman Khan literally pulls of this movie on his shoulders. He is endearing as the Ramleela artist Prem Dilwala and impressive as the Estate prince Vijay Singh. His grip on the characters keep the audience interested in the lacklustre proceedings. This movie belongs to Salman Khan.
Sonam Kapoor looks beautiful and does her part well. Deepak Dobriyal is wasted. Swara Bhaskar impresses in her role of sister. Anupam Kher is good as Diwan. Neil Nitin Mukesh does not get much screen time and is just ok. Arman Kohli is average. Sanjai Mishra is good in his short role.
Production Design by Nitin Chandrakant Desai is one of the biggest attraction of this movie. The scale and grandeur is unparalleled and keeps us going till the end. Cinematography by Manikandan is top notch. VFX department on the other hand works poorly and we wonder why a movie with such big budget has such flimsy VFX. Editing by Sanjay Sankla could have been crisper though it is good that he used many songs in short portions only. Costume Designs by Alvira Khan and Ashley Rebello are impressive. Barjatya’s have not spared any expense in the production of the movie. We can only wish if they had spent some of this money on good writers.
Overall, PRDP is the quintessential Bollywood Fairytale where there is a Prince, Princes but also there is a big family surrounding them. In Bollywood, family story essential part of the Fairytale and PRDP tries to rekindle those movies. It does not succeed in achieving that goal fully but the audience craving those type of movies can certainly give this one a try.
Recommendation: A Good one time watch for the fans of Sooraj Barjatya movies. Salman Fans will love this. Can still be an option for a big family movie outing. Others expecting good quality sensible cinema can skip it.