Being a huge Sooraj Barjatya fan I had been waiting 9 long years to see his next film post Vivah (2006), and couldn’t resist but watch it with my family on the release date itself (12th Nov, 2015). Here’s my honest review and opinion on #PRDP.
The movie opens with the pious Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo, where Prem Dilwala (Salman Khan) makes a grand entry by narrating the Ram Leela in Ayodhya. Prem admires Rajkumari Maithili (Sonam Kapoor), who runs the Uphaar foundation, and travels to Pritampur with Kanhaiya (Deepak Dobriyal) to meet her. Predictably Maithili is engaged to Vijay Singh (Salman Khan) – yes it’s a double role.
Kuwar Vijay lives in a grand mansion at Pritampur (true Rajshri style sets and grandeur). Vijay is going through a streneous time as his younger brother Ajay Singh (Neil Nitin Mukesh) and his sisters Chandrika (Swara Bhaskar) and Radhika (Aashika Bhatia) are having property disputes with him. Diwan sahib (Anupam Kher) does everything he can to keep Vijay away from all troubles.
The concept of blood being thicker than water has always been a subject in most Sooraj Barjatya movies, and is no different in #PRDP. Half hour into the film, and we realize it has all elements of a Rajshri film – rift in bonds, focus on moral values and delicacies like gujiyas, matthis, mirchi pakodas and chaklis!!! While cricket was played in #HAHK, football as a game is used to drive family unity in #PRDP.
Salman Khan is the most likeable part of the film. Right from his first shot, he is brilliant and has acted very well. He had set a benchmark of playing a true and virtious character in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and his role as Prem in #PRDP continues this tradition. He refuses to embrace Sonam Kapoor for more than 15 seconds even though he loves her, realizing that she belongs to Vijay. While this seems strange for the times we live in, this is a typical Rajshri approach.
Sonam Kapoor looks ravishing, and plays a confident and emotional princess. She dances exceptionally well in the title track #PRDP, and looks gorgeous in another number – Jalte Diye (the backdrop of which takes you back to Mujhe Hakk Hai – Vivah). The romance sequence between Salman and Sonam in the kitchen area takes you back to the #HAHK days and is shot beautifully. But mind you, #PRDP is a Salman Khan film all the way and Sonam though does have an important role, misses out on playing a robust character like other heroines of Barjatya movies. One will always remember Nisha (Madhuri Dixit) of Hum Aapke Hain Koun, or Poonam (Amrita Rao) of #Vivah having beautifuly crafted author-backed roles. The chemistry between Salman and Sonam is good but not the best. We’ve seen much better chemistry between Salman and Madhuri (#HAHK); and Salman and Bhagyashree (#MPK).
The concept of good versus evil has been portrayed well in the film. The movie is all about celebrating Indian values, culture and rituals. Although the first half of the movie is slow, the film picks up pretty well in the second half. The high point of the movie is a scene where Prem (Salman) gives up all riches and wealth for his half-sisters. The scene is high on emotions, and shot in true Sooraj Barjatya style. (Carry your tissues for this scene!)
Anupam Kher is a true loyalist of the Raj Mahal, and plays his character with integrity and honesty. His scenes with Salman Khan are interesting. Neil Nitin Mukesh, Swara Bhaskar and Aashika Bhatia are believable in their characters. The cinematograohy by V Manikandan is beautiful. The sets erected by Nitin Desai are simply amazing, especially the Sheesh Mahal which is a treat to the eyes.
Now let’s come to the negatives. The music of the film is at best – average, which is a setback for a Rajshri movie. The best numbers of the film are the title track (PRDP) and Jalte DIye. While #MPK, #HAHK, #HSSH, #MPKDH and #Vivah all had chartbusting music, #PRDP somewhere seems a letdown in this department. Himesh Reshammiya (music director) and Irshad Kamil (lyricist) surely could have done much better. The abundance of songs in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is a major hindrance to the pace of the film. Another concern is the length of the film (2 hours 54 minutes!!!!) A fifteen minute editing would do the film a world of good.
Overall though #PRDP is good in most departments, it is definitely not comparable to Sooraj’s earlier gems viz #HAHK, #HSSH, #MPK, #Vivah etc. There was a completely different approach in the earlier films, whereas #PRDP is more commercialized. Somewhere, I felt cheated, but was not completely disappointed. I am glad that we still have a director who offers us absolutely clean content and speaks his convictions through family dramas. Though some may term Rajshri movies as too sweet, or diabetic, I believe it takes courage to make films about family values and Indian culture in today’s time and age! I shall be waiting for Sooraj ji to give me a more soulful film like #HAHK and #Vivah once again. I just hope it does not take him another 9 years (the next one quicker, please Sooraj ji).
Talking about box office numbers, the film would definitely be a block buster, but whether it would break records of Bajrangi Bhaijaan or PK still remains to be seen. The movie will get an advantage of the 15 day Diwali vacations in the country. The film has opened to more than 90% collections in India and has got a great opening in screens abroad as well. Go watch this one with some tissues tucked in your pocket. My score: 8 / 10.