Prem Ratan Dhan Payo aka Elvis Does Disney

I needed to get out of my own head for a little while this afternoon so I went to see Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. It’s a 3 hour long Bollywood musical comedy subtitled in English. It was like the love child of a badly overacted Elvis movie and a live action version of a Disney cartoon. I wouldn’t call it a good movie but I loved it.

The fairy tale story has been done half to death so it was predictable, the acting was bad, it didn’t even attempt to be half way intelligent, there were a few witty moments but way more eye rolling ones, and I sat there for 3 hours with a goofy smile on my face.

The sets and costumes were spectacular and fit well with the ridiculous fairy tale plot. I was even tapping my toe to the badly lip synced song-and-dance scenes. If they had been subtitled I probably would have sung along…against my own will.

Apparently I live under a rock because I had never heard of Salman Khan but I read that he is something like the 7th highest paid actor in the world. I guess he’s sort of a big deal, at least in India. I will admit that I can sort of understand that. He is rather pleasant to look at, has a nice smile, expressive eyes, and the dude is ripped. I mean RIPPED. He can’t act, at all, but he really doesn’t have to. I spent the first hour of the movie trying to reconcile him in my head because for some reason “hot Indian bodybuilder” seems like an oxymoron to me. Ya just don’t see that very often. 

Why did I enjoy a movie that I’m so critical about? I have no idea. Maybe it was the unapologetically outdated happy fairy tale story. Or it might have been the Elvis-does-Disney song and dance numbers. It could have been the gorgeous colorful royal costumes or the over-the-top sets like the Place of Mirrors. Maybe it was the simplicity of entertainment for entertainment’s sake: the good guy wins, he gets the girl, and everyone lives happily everafter.

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