PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO is in the tradition of Sooraj Barjatya films, laced in grandeur; the story-telling drenched in good-heartedness and good values and Salman Khan playing Prem, the epitome of good-looking, good-hearted, soft-spoken virtuous human being. Together Sooraj-Salman have the formula to make your eyes moist with abundance of goodness. They do it another time here, but with discounts. PRDP should work for a lot of Indians, but not the entire populace.It will have many detractors, because there is something missing in the screenplay and in the totality of the product, which splendour and lavishness cannot totally cover up.
Salman Khan, who looks like no 49 year old ever did, just carries the whole movie on his broad shoulders, whispering goodness and large-heartedness into all ears. He can infuse life in anything and he does it here too with his charm and charisma. Sooraj Barjatya, who was never in his groove sans Salman Khan, returns with his favourite hero after 16 years. His grand vision shifts from rich havelis to palaces this time and in terms of sheer opulence, he doesn’t disappoint. Sooraj always has excelled in creating films without much of a story-where day to day happenings alone hold the audience and keep them smiling, grinning, feeling good or even teary-eyed. The family is everything for him and love, friendship, loyalty, virtues and sheer celebration of life- is what makes his world go round. But some flights of his fancy here are frightfully flawed. A ‘sheeshmahal’ (palace of glass)on the edge of an intimidating waterfall for his children to come and bond, has a terrace with glass fences (not even toughened glass) and small children are allowed unattended, to play, push and fight and to top it all, the glass fence give away at the first push it receives. As opposed to this, the horse carriage on the narrow hilly road racing without a charioteer and falling off the hill is well-conceived and well-shot. V. Manikandan’s camerawork is overall very pleasing and gives the film its required feel.
Amongst the cast, Sonam Kapoor tries her best to keep her walk and talk dignified but succeeds only to an extent. Anupam kher as the loyal diwan is insipid but adequate. Neil Nitin Mukesh , as the younger prince, looks royal but has little to do, as most of the screen-time is captured by the two Salmans. Swara Bhaskar as Chandrika does well of whatever little she is asked to do. Aashika Bhatia as the football- playing princess neither has the looks or body or grace of a princess or a sports-girl. She is surprisingly miscast. Armaan Kohli, as the predictable badman is if not bad, predictable. Deepak Dobrial is wasted as Salman’s friend. Music director, Himesh Reshammiya gets a big chance to prove himself as melodious again and does it reasonably well by sounding more like Raam Laxman , than himself.
All in all, here is a movie which will pull the family audience and make money before people realize it is not a great film. Sooraj Barjatya’s followers will still love it and Salman’s worshipers will adore it, but there is bound to be a huge variation in reactions of the junta from ‘utterly bad’ to ‘very good’. It is recommended because such big family movies which have Indian traditions at its core, come nowadays only once in a while and can be easily enjoyed, without being too judgemental, with the family. So, go ahead and watch it. Don’t listen to its ‘haters’; believe with concession-its ‘lovers’.