Verdict: Old wine, new family pack bottle
Yes, Prem is back! Yes, Sooraj Barjatya is back! No, there’s not much new they bring together. But hey! It’s a bhai movie. All is forgiven. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has been high on the hype meter for a while now and with the movie hitting the screens finally, the bhai fans are looking good to enjoy an extended Diwali celebration.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is all that a Rajshri production promises – lavish, a-song-almost-a-minute, “oh-dear-family-values” and somesuch. The movie also manages to surprise when you don’t find Alok Nath, Reema Lagoo or incredibly smart animals saving the day in a Rajshri film. In all of its 2 hours 45 minutes of glory, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo convinces you how no one else but a Sooraj Barjatya could get away with this. Any resemblance to The Prisoner of Zenda, Don, even Anari No. 1 or Mr. Barjatya’s previous works is surely purely coincidental.
Opening in Ayodhya where happy-go-lucky Prem Dilwale (Khan) conducts Ramleela with a personal touch, the story quickly moves to Pritampur because Royalty Thou Art Prince Vijay Singh (Khan, again) is about to be crowned king and will also tie the knot with Royalty Thou Also Art Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). Prem has been crushing hard on Maithili ever since he first spotted her at a flood relief camp, of course; crushing hard enough to donate all his earnings to Uphaar, a NGO Maithili is associated with. He decides to rush to Pritampur to catch a glimpse of Maithili only to find out Vijay Singh has got himself into all sorts of trouble thanks to a scheming stepbrother Ajay Singh (Neil Nitin Mukesh) and the very evil “door ka rishtedaar” Chirag Singh (Armaan Kohli). The prince just survived an almost fatal attempt on his life, the crowning is but just a few days away and Godsent look-alike Prem and his Ramleela colleague and buddy Kanhaiya (Deepak Dobriyal) are roped in to save the day.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo attempts simplicity on a grand canvas. There are questions you want to ask but you let them be. You want to let the movie try and steal your heart because it at times almost makes sincere attempts to do so. And it is almost always Salman Khan doing it. This movie pretty much rests on his shoulders to carry; something that was expected anyway. Salman is delightful as Prem and tries to almost get it right as the prince too.
The performances otherwise are extremely ordinary in most cases. You will know there is a reason you don’t see much of Armaan Kohli or Neil Nitin Mukesh in the movies. There is a long, long arduous road for Sonam Kapoor to tread. Swara Bhaskar impresses as one of the prince’s sisters in the little screen time she gets. Deepak Dobriyal is a much better actor than what you’ll see of him in the movie. And it is all up to Khan and Anupam "Diwaan Saab" Kher to put up some mature performances; which they do.
There are a few too many songs. In true Barjatya style, you are hit by one song after the other often when you are least expecting them. The music, at best is average with a couple of hummable tunes that will not be remembered for as long as say, Didi Tera Devar.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo will not be the best bhai movie you’ll have watched or even the best Rajshri movie for that matter. There are several problems with the movie; whether it is the hackneyed storyline or mediocre performances but you’ll do well to give this a watch because you know like every Rajshri movie, this one has a heart too and it is in the right place.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
…because Prem is back, of course! No, seriously. Watch yet another movie only for Salman Khan.