Brilliant shots of palace payo (lit up by purple, pink or orange dressings); different shades of red dresses payo; bit of Sallu comedy payo; lots of marigold payo; majestic forts payo; Sonam’s style and smile payo and yummy laddoo shots payo.
The above, pretty much, sums up Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. The movie takes up close to three hours of your precious Diwali week to churn melodrama, songs, romance in a damp squib, even by Salman’s standards. Suddenly Bajrangi Bhaijaan (the only ‘Bhai’ movie I gave a second viewing, lately) looks the odd one out.
PRDP has storyline of Don, plotline of Raja aur Rank and treatment of an even more bygone era. Sooraj Barjatya would be forgiven had he made this before Maine Pyaar Kiya. But after the path-breaking MPK (Yes, MPK started the youth romance trend, not DDLJ), followed by another cult Hum Aapke Hai Koun and Hum Saath Saath Hai soon after, lot more was expected from this Sooraj-Salman reunion. Even the football scene of PRDP, isn’t a patch over the cricket scene he created over two decades ago, in Hum Aapke Hai Koun.
PRDP starts moderately with a Ram Leela scene and just as the movie starts to rise (the well-shot chariot accident scene), it hits a ‘slow and steady loses the race’ path. The stretched out drama about rights of siblings bores the viewer throughout, and when that doesn’t, a song is unnecessarily thrown in.
The Salman-Sonam pairing has cold chemistry too. I wrote this review mainly during the last hour of viewing, well aware of what was coming next, sequence by sequence, as predictable as in a the typical 80’s films.
It’s sad to see talent like Swara, Anupam and Deepak go completely waste. In 1980s, Barjatya extracted more out of supporting actors (Alok Nath, Monish Behl, late Laxmikant Berde and the likes) than what he did with talent at his disposal in 2015. To add to the woes, a powerhouse performer like Sanjay Mishra is not even given decent screen time.
Sallu’s being human streak continues with out-of-work actors (especially Big Boss inmates) like Armaan Kohli (Dil Jungli Kabootar, remember?) and Neil Nitin Mukesh (Yes, Game of Thrones role is fake news) managing a role in the film.
I felt even worse for Bhai’s fans – the masses, the sweating classes – who eagerly await Sallu’s films to give them whistle-worthy, jaw-dropping moments. PRDP barely has any and if this movie has to succeed it will have to depend heavily on multiplex audiences seeking ‘feel good’ dramas, dresses and colours. And kids too. My kids laughed the most in an otherwise packed hall, desperately awaiting moments, or even any decent memorable song.
The film’s biggest fault is not the length; it’s just average mundane content rolled into royally decorated sets and beautiful costumes. There are no surprises, no great songs, no “eeks” moments, no audience connection with characters, no comic relief, no extraordinary fight sequences and no messages for the society.
Watch it on theatres if you have nothing better to do.
Box Office prediction: PRDP will have the festival, Bhai and first-day pull, helping recover its 100-crore budget, But it will struggle to pass the 250-crore mark. And that is sad because Salman bhaijaan had the perfect setting (and no good massy movies for months now) to garner another 500-crore hit!