Thursday, 12 November 2015

Film review: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (*no spoilers*)

There are a couple of things to bear in mind when you go to watch a Sooraj Barjatya film.

(A) Suspend disbelief, and (B) Never go by critics' reviews.

'A' because a few liberties are always taken in his films, especially when it comes to the medical field.  You just have to accept what's being presented, let go, and enjoy!  That's the best way to watch his films.

'B' because the last time the critics panned his film, it went on to become Indian cinema's biggest ever hit: Hum Aapke Hain Kaun..!  

So what's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo all about?  

I won't give away the story, but you may get a general idea about what it might be about. 

So here goes.

Remember Chitchor?  That simple yet touching film made by the same Rajshri Productions, with unforgettable songs by Ravindra Jain and Yesudas?

Take that.

Also, while you are at it, grab Paheli (incidentally Amol Palekar acted in Chitchor, whereas he directed Paheli).

Also add a dash of Mark Twain's Prince and the Pauper.  

And don't forget to sprinkle a bit of Ram aur Shyam, Seeta aur Geeta, Chaalbaaz and Kishen Kanhaiya.  

Oh, and for the title, replace Ram with Prem in Meera Bai's bhajan, Ram Ratan Dhan Payo.  

And there you have it.  Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.

Okay, I am being a tad unfair.  Yes, PRDP reminds one of all the films mentioned above, yet it is different.  

For starters, is made on a much larger, grandiose scale.  There are subplots woven into the story.  Barjatya has made all efforts to present the story in a novel, light hearted manner.    And it works.

So what's the same?

As with any Barjatya film, PRDP, at its core, is about love.  It displays Indian tradition and draws its emotional appeal heavily from family values and relationships within the family.  It is opulent.  The sets are lavishly mounted, and it is a visual treat.  

And what's different?

First of all, PRDP does not have a massive starcast, as in HAHK.  There's only Anupam Kher.  Reema Lagoo and Alok Nath are conspicuously absent!  

There are less songs than a typical Barjatya film.  

And - get this - there is action!  There is a stunningly crafted horse-coach scene in the beginning, sword fight in the middle, and dishum-dishum at the end.  Too much action for a Barjatya film!  

A few grouses

The background music was a bit too loud, making it difficult to follow the dialogues.  Some songs have been cut to trim down the overall length of the film (it is now 174 minutes long).  

Does it recreate the magic of HAHK?  No.  But then, I don't think any film can.   

What works?

Barjatya has got starpower with him, as usual.  That alone will ensure the opening.  Prem has become a saleable commodity, which will draw in Salman Khan fans by the lakhs.  

The music, songs and choreography are first rate, and it seems that Himesh Reshammiya has a hit on his hands. 

Overall, terrific Diwali entertainment.  Enjoy it!

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