I am one of those guys who grew up on movies like Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun! and Hum Saath Saath Hai. I still remember my parents would always encourage me to see a Sooraj Barjatya movie over any other movies especially Rangeela, which was too bold for the 90’s generation of kids. This Diwali will remain special for many of Sooraj Barjatya and Salman Khan fans as the director-actor duo have come together with a film after 16 years.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo like all Sooraj Barjatya movies was much awaited, and the raised expectations were clearly met. As I sat in the theater watching the movie, it transported me back to my childhood. Even with passing years and trends, Sooraj has still maintained his brand of filmmaking and I am sure he is the only director who can still make the new-age kids watch his kind of tradition and culture laden movies along with their parents.

The story is very simple and plain. The plot seems to be borrowed from Anthony Hope’s novel ‘The Prisoner Of Zenda’ rather than the much speculated Mark Twain novel ‘The Prince and The Pauper’. Prem (Salman Khan) is a nautankiwala who is besotted with Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor) who is engaged to Vijay (Salman Khan again) the Prince of Pritampur. Vijay’s step-brother (Niel Nitin Mukesh) hatches a conspiracy to eliminate Vijay just before the coronation so that he can claim the throne, power and riches. With a twist of fate, Prem gets to live the life of Vijay and gets closer to Princess Maithili. What happens to Prem and Maithili? Will they get to live a happily ever after life or Maithili gets back with Vijay? What happens to Vijay’s brother and sisters? Will they realize their mistake and get back together? These are questions which get answered as you watch the movie.

Performances are top notch. Salman as the simpleton Prem and Prince Vijay does a wonderful job. He is the ‘jaan’ of the movie and is seen from first frame to last. Sonam as Maithili looks beautiful and acts superbly. Niel Nitin Mukesh and Arman Kohli do justice to their parts while Swara Bhaskar as usual is wonderful. The supporting cast consisting of Anupam Kher, Suhasini Mulay, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Deepak Dobriyal etc are good.

Music by Himesh Reshammiya is superb. The title tracks is wonderful and so are Jalte Diye, Halo Re, Aaj Unse Milna Hai, Prem Leela, Bachpan and Jab Tum Chaho. The cinematography and sets are great. The grandiose sets are well captured and you definitely feel that you are a part of the Sooraj Barjatya family.

The story, screenplay and dialogues are wonderful. I am too small to judge the direction capabilities of Sooraj Barjatya, he is God when it comes to making his brand of movies and always leaves a stamp on the viewer’s heart and mind with his storytelling abilities.

On the whole, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is the best ever gift Salman Khan has given to his fans and general public on a Diwali. Please do go and watch the movie and I am sure you will want to watch it again!

My Verdict: *****