SPOT LIGHT

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Prem Ratan Dhan Payo symbolises the reunion of one of the most awaited actor director duo Salman Khan and Sooraj Barjatya, after a long wait. Will they weave magic again?
Sooraj Barjatya was only 24 when he made ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ in 1989, a huge success of a story that celebrated life, love, family, romance and all things tradition. It was a film that was loved by the masses and became a super hit. Sooraj introduced Salman Khan as a lover boy of Bollywood through this film as Salman became an overnight sensation.
In the past 26 years, Sooraj has directed six films but it is said that his films serve as a “fresh air of family movie to an audience fatigued by pure action and romantic movies”. And if there is a constant in his film, it is Prem – played four out of six times – by none other than Salman. If Maine Pyar Kiye established Salman and Sooraj in Bollywood, it also established a truly special bond between the two.
Sooraj gave Salman three films – ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’, ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ – at a point when Salman felt nothing much was happening. But these films proved to be massive hits that put their partnership in an altogether different plane. To Sooraj, there is no better natural actor and person than Salman.
Now, Sooraj’s fourth Salman-starrer film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, brings back the most loved character of Prem. It also brings him together with Salman after 16 years. “For Salman and me, it (Prem) now represents our yaadein,” Sooraj is quoted to have said. “Prem is back with a lot more fun and naughty antics,” also quipped Salman.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo comes on the heels of Salman’s blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan. For fans of Salman, it is a ‘double bonanza’ year. After winning hearts in India and abroad, including Pakistan, with his heart-warming performance in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Salman is back with a bang. And going by media reports, trade analysts expect this Diwali release to create the same trend as his Eid release –a good box office run.
However Salman is vehement that the film is not about numbers or promotion. “This film is about go and see it with the family. Get everyone together, make it like the time when we would go for picnics with family, make this one outing with the whole parivar. Trust me, you’ll love it,” he said at a press meet in Mumbai.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo unfolds a new and royal chapter about love and family ties, painted on a ‘larger than life’ canvas with music and dance weaving a ‘desi’ fantastical story. But all of Sooraj Barjatya’s movies have seen Salman playing a character in love, with family values forming an important element to the love life. Once again, Sooraj takes Salman back to that space. Or so it seems.
When the film’s trailer was launched on October 1, it crossed two million views in less than 24 hours. Starring opposite Sonam Kapoor, the story thus far is about a king, who is loved by his subjects and wants to lead a normal life away from all the responsibilities and his kingdom while his step brother plans to steal the throne from him. But things change when the king finds out the common man who looks exactly like him and they change their identities with each other temporarily. The film also stars Neil Nitin Mukesh, Swara Bhaskar and Armaan Kohli.
Salman, whose portrayal as an innocent Lord Hanuman devotee in Bajrangi Bhaijaan won the audience’s heart, says ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ is the “most beautiful” film he has done in his over two decade-old career.
“It is my guarantee that this is by far one of the most beautiful films I’ve done. It is family-oriented and you know that every family faces some problems, but those people are lucky to have a family,” Salman said.
“It is guaranteed that with whatever mood you enter the cinema hall, you’ll come out with a better mood. There will be tears of happiness. If you love your wife or girlfriend, family, then the film would definitely touch you in some way,” he said.
Salman says it’s always a delight to work with Sooraj, whom he considers “the best person in the world” and one who “connects with people from bottom of the heart”. He also quipped that Sooraj, in fact, is “more romantic” than him.
“All the scenes that you see in a movie from Maine Pyar Kiya, HAKHK to Hum Saath-Saath Hain, they were written by Sooraj. I have just enacted them,” said Salman.
However playing the part of Prem was something Salman found difficult. According to a report on indianexpress.com, the actor said, “It’s (‘Prem…’) the most difficult film I am doing in a very, very long time because it’s been 13 years since I have worked with Sooraj. I have changed so much; I’m not that pure person anymore. I have seen a lot more. It is very difficult for me to become that Prem once again. I am having all my films put together and this film separately; just to unlearn everything I have learnt so far. Till that time I don’t get that Prem, I don’t feel it here; it is not going to show on my face. It is actually once again getting me back to what I used to be.”
On his part, Sooraj says, “This film is only for Salman. I wanted to make people adore him… a film with which he can change people. Youngsters go less for my movies, but if a youngster says he wants to show it to his mother, grandmother or in-laws, then it is the biggest return and victory for me.”
Sonam Kapoor, who essays Salman’s love interest in the film, said the film has been one of her happiest experiences and one of the biggest films in her career.
A Mumbai Mirror report said Sonam at 14 fought to be allowed to go on the sets of her father Anil Kapoor’s film because he was shooting with Salman. “We spoke for an hour in the vanity van but Salman doesn’t remember that,” she rued.
“I thank Sooraj sir for giving me such an amazing opportunity… I have enjoyed doing all the films I have done before, but this has been the best experience. I did not expect I would be getting this kind of chance in my career to work with Salman Khan and Sooraj-ji,” she was quoted elsewhere as saying.
Salman had romanced Sonam in her debut movie Saawariya. However, Salman just had a cameo appearance in the film. In Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the duo complements each other very well on-screen. In interviews to the media, Sonam said Salman was extremely kind, hardworking and an idealistic co-star. “He has immense respect for women and he is extremely hardworking. He is always on time, always improvising. He is one of the best actors I have ever worked with. He is always trying to do something different.”
Salman has praised his co-star too saying she is as beautiful and talented as Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
“I don’t think I should be compared to them (Madhuri and Aishwarya). They are amazing in whatever they do. I don’t think I am anywhere close to being as beautiful as Aishwarya or as talented as Madhuri. But having said that, I am Anil Kapoor’s daughter. I have seen comparisons since I started my career. So the pressure does not bog me down. It just makes me work harder,” said Sonam.
Rest assured, ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ seems a promising comeback of team Sooraj and Salman. Known for portraying myriad shades on the cinematic canvas, Salman is eyeing greater success in showbiz as he believes in getting “bigger and better” with each film.
(By Team TIW & agencies)

Released in Australia by
Mind Blowing Films
on 12th Nov 2015

For session times and info check:
www.mindblowingfilms.com