Prem Ratan Dhan Payo Review: “Barjatya trying to be a Bhansali, Sonam trying to be Madhuri and Bhai trying NOT to be bhai.”
The makers of Maine Pyaar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Koun are back again with their favorite Prem. Of course, it’s proven time and again with their later offerings like Hum Saath Saath Hain and Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon that the Barjatyas cannot think beyond Ramayan, families, mansions or sweets. Unsurprisingly, they have these mandatory requirements in Prem Ratan too. However, this time they have roped in the most bankable star Salman Khan which might give the hope that ‘might’ impress us. And how the film tried to impress is by Barjatya trying to be a Bhansali, Sonam trying to be a Madhuri and Salman trying NOT to be himself a.k.a bhai.
The story unfolds in Ayodhya where Prem (Salman Khan) runs a Ram Leela drama troupe. He adores Mythili Devi, who is a princess-cum-philanthropist and also compared to Mother Teresa indirectly. Mythili is engaged to Vijay Singh(another bhai aka Salman) who is the prince (addressed as Yuvraj) of Pritampur(yes even the name of the place is filled with love). The coronation of Vijay is fast approaching and his sauthela bhai Ajay (Neil Nitin Mukesh) eyes the throne. He tries to get him killed with the help of the estate manager played by the ‘Jaani Dushman’ Armaan Kohli. Vijay also has two sisters who are from the 2nd sauthela mother, who live separately in a rented house. Initially the rest of the story is supposed to be about the buddhi shuddhi of Ajay and union with the sisters. But, the rest of the story is majorly filled with the songs and scenes of Prem and Mythili. Only, in the last 15 minutes, you see some potential story moving forward, after having tired of watching a Manyavar high-end bridal collections demo reel for two and a half hours.
There were some 8 songs plus a couple of slow versions too. Luckily, most of them were some decent compositions without which, it would have been continuous triggers for walkouts for the viewers. The production design must be surely appreciated for the taste and the photography too to capture some beautiful frames. There is whacky CG work but can be forgiven by the heavenly sets and props in the scenes. They greatly added to the grandeur that Sooraj Barjatya wanted to portray. The whole production design and some frames looked like they have been borrowed from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s shots of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas. In fact one scene where Sonam runs to see Salman for one last time instantly reminds of the Tadap Tadap choreography from HDDCS.
The major drawback of the film is the treatment of the story. Familiarity of the story was not the issue but the treatment was mostly outdated. The writing and casting weren’t great except Salman (as Prem), Anupam Kher and Swara Bhaskar. The rest of the cast were given an uninteresting, utterly predictable and ridiculous roles, especially when talking of Neil Nitin’s vengeance and Sonam’s emotional scenes.
All in all, Barjatya tries hard not to be regressive and tried too hard to be contemporary, but achieves a mix that doesn’t really work.