Movie Review: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Swara Bhaskar, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Armaan Kohli and Alok Nath’s sanskaars
I never believed in Friday the 13th, now I do. I knew it was a Rajshri film, where people play jewellery-jewellery in their living rooms, wear saris and sherwanis to bed and roll red carpets to their loos. But Prem Ratan Dhan Payo takes the Dhan part way too seriously. Everything is royal in the film; royal fort, royal carriage, royal ferries, royal balti, royal magga, royal jhadu, royal pocha…royal shauchalya. It’s so pointlessly opulent that it feels the entire Diwali Bumper Bonanza puked all over this film. Which is not my biggest concern. The characters are.
You see in a Rajshri film, there are no 50 shades of Grey. The characters are the deepest shades of either black or white. The black is so black that it could endorse Godrej hair dye. And the white is so white that it seems it has been dipped in three separate buckets of Aerial, Surf and Tide and then scrubbed with Happydent.
That brings me to Salman-holier-than-thou-Khan who plays the puffier version of Alok-Sanskari-Nath. When he fights, he apologises. When he romances, he doesn’t touch. And when he promises to donate, he leaps lavish palaces and mansions at people. Prem Dilwale is so righteous, so helpful, so efficient and oh-so-godly that he might as well cure cancer and we shall easily believe it. In fact towards the second half, he does a full Pujya-Arnold-Schwarzenegger-I-am-back on us, main wapas aa gaya…! And the promo producer gleamed happily, “mil gaya promo moment.”
And then there is Prem’s lady love who looks more like a Diwali gift wrap than a human being. My heart went out to her. Firstly, her clothes have a bigger IQ than her. (Forget IQ, she admits she once couldn’t spell Vijay right. It’s Vijay for god sake, not Czechoslovakia!) Secondly, she is so helplessly looking for some ‘action’ with her Sanskari-Stud that the film could have been called Kabhi Horny Kabhi Ditysy or the Impending Kiss of a Rajkumari. You see Barjatya treats romance like smart phones; why press hard, when just a touch can do the trick! Wink!
Even the dialogues don’t help. Someone in the movie says with utter seriousness, “Rajkumari ke sindoor par phir hamla hua toh…” It took me full 15 minutes to figure that sindoor was not one of the characters in the movie. I almost stood up in excitement and screamed Sonam-Jaya-Prada-Mera-Pati-Sirf-Mera-Hain-Mere-Suhaag-Ki-Saugandh-Ki-Jai-Ho! Somewhere in the movie a doctor ironically quips, “Cerebral concession…something something…cerebral edema…” That’s the only time that this movie and cerebral came in one sentence.
Like all recent Hindi movies, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo vaguely attempts to stand up for gender equality but fails so miserably that it hurts. For example, our hero chooses the gravest punishment for two sleazy men – dress them both as women. It also scoffs at women in the kitchen and celebrates the one on the field. Because playing football is the ultimate sign of progress. BURP!
The movie has a Sanjay, Vijay, Ajay….oh what a PJ. Also Haldiram boxes are so mercilessly shoved down your throat that it makes you wonder if subtlety is an art any longer.
But Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has something for each one of us. We all walk out with a sense of ‘payo’ as we walk out.
Sonam Kapoor: Designer clothes and gorgeous jewellery – PAYO.
Arman Kohli: Bigg Boss ke baad, one film – PAYO.
Neil-Nitin-Game-Of-Thrones-Mukhesh: Bhai ke saath film – PAYO
Audiences: A pounding headache – PAYO!