Cast: Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Swara Bhaskar, Anupam Kher
Direction: Sooraj Barjatya
Production: Rajshri Productions
Story: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo takes off from the holy city of Ayodhya with the pious background song of ‘Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo’ which is something we associated with quite early on ever since the title of the film was declared. Soon, we meet Prem Dilwala (Salman Khan), a happy-go-lucky ‘Ram Bhakta’ who performs for the Ram Leela shows in quite a contemporary fashion. He is smitten by Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor) whom he first meets at a flood relief camp and ever since makes sure to send donations to her NGO, Uphaar trust. Prem’s partner and friend is Kanhaiyya (Deepak Dobriyal) who knows about Prem’s craze for Maithili and doesn’t approve of it much.
Prem learns that Princess Maithili will be travelling to a close by town, Pritampura for her fiance’s ‘Tilak’ ceremony and decides to travel all the way to meet her. On the other side, we learn about Yuvraaj Vijay Singh (Salman Khan) who is the prince, Maithilli is getting married to. The Yuvraaj a short tempered and a man of less words. His family is going through a strenous time as his younger brother Ajay Singh (Neil Nitin Mukesh) and his sisters Chandrika (Swara Bhaskar) and Radhika are having property fights with him.
Soon, Ajay Singh plans to get his brother out of his way and plans his accident. Vijay Singh gets severely injured and is kept in a secret facility by Diwan Saab (Anupam Kher) who is a loyal worker of the King. To save Vijay, Diwan plans to present Prem in disguise as the would-be-King.
Review: One thing one must accept with Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is the fact that it may not relatable for the times we live in but that does not necessarily make the entire story obsolete. The presentation may be outdated but I have to agree, it has been long since I have watched a film that is clean when it comes to it’s content. It is a breather to watch a film minus those dirty item songs and that is one thing what makes this film watchable.
Coming to the script, the little comical elements in the film work well but the melodrama completely kills those fun parts. Story wise, it is quite predictable and like most Rajshri films, there is always the win of good over evil show. Also just like Hum Aapke Hai Koun had Cricket as the family game, here we see Prem bringing the family together with a Football game. The exchange of dialogues in ‘Shuddh’ Hindi is a common trait in all their films but luckily in this one we see a little cooler version of it. Prem’s character is written with a lot of Prem and hence it is impossible to not like him. Anupam Kher’s character too appeals.
What the story lacks in creating is a good villain. The character of Armaan Kohli is too caricaturish and almost impossible to bear with his act.
Also, the story seems quite unreal when it shows the mending of broken or scarred relations with such ease. Maithili’s character too seems quite flawed as on one hand, we are shown that she is quite a confident and contemporary princess, her behavior as the fiancee seems quite contrasting.
The climax is the weakest portion for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. While you know what the end is, if only it had been made with a little different touch, the film would have been much better. The unrealistic end brings out the film’s ‘unrelatable’ element even more.
All in all, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is a family drama that has loads of drama.
Salman Khan succeeds in his comeback as Prem. His character of Prem Dilwala seems full paisa wasool as he is funny yet emotional. We rarely see Salman express emtions like this and well, that’s when you are reminded that this is a Rajshri film. As prince Vijay SIngh too, he shows a decent transition and his stern look with the moustache is certainly impressive. The film is a sure shot treat for any Salman Khan fan.
Sonam Kapoor seems a complete misfit for the role. It would be a crime comparing her to any other Rajshri actress. She lacks the charm that the character needs and well, her emotional dialogue delivery turns out a complete mess.
Deepak Dobriyal does a fine job as Kanhaiya and brings out good comic moments in the film.
Neil Nitin Mukesh is not a bad actor but his character gets quite a small screen space and hence we don’t get to see much of him.
Armaan Kohli as the antaonist is extremely funny and I am not just talking about his styling but his dialogue delivery too, He is hamming in majority of the scenes and well, he should be happy to even be a part of such a big film, let alone act well in it.
Anupam Kher is brilliant as Diwan Saab. His composed act and the camaraderie with Salman’s character is a principal highlight in the film.
Swara Bhaskar as Chandrika, gets a small role but she emotes well and fits the bill.
Sooraj Barjatya is back after a hiatus and well, we are quite surprised with his attempt with Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Even though the film is just like his other films, it is quite low on the otherwise loaded saccharine content in it. Even as he brings to life Salman’s most loved character Prem back, he is not the utter shy always blushing type. This Prem is smart, talks full on filmy and is a fun watch.
For direction, one needs to give full credits to Barjatya for making it look so grand. The sets look stunning and kudos to the production and art direction team for making the impact of royalty extremely well. The presence of horse carraiges and the beautiful costumes are quite a treat to the eyes.
As far as the music goes, we could have expected something better. There are too many songs in the film and it is quite disturbing since not all of them are hummable. If only, he would have cut down on a few, the film’s run-time could have been saved. 2 hours 45 minutes is a long tirade for a family drama!