If you are among the thousands of women who believe in having impractical ambitions and wardrobes, you probably want (and want to be) an Indian royal, the Bollywood version. While your delusion has been held firmly in place by the image of Fawad Khan in a black bandhgala, or a black Nehru jacket, or a black blazer, Salman Khan in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo will demolish every misconception you nursed about royals thanks to the other Khan's week-old stubble.
And if you are not convinced that the love of your life may still come riding a smartphone app, but never a Rolls Royce zooming out of a fort, Sonam Kapoor's 'rajkumari' romance in the times of Tinder will put your doubts to rest. Here are four strong caveats Sooraj Barjatya's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo raises against the idea of a 'royal' romance.
- Firstly, your self respect has to be inversely proportional to the number of uncut diamonds on your being. You may have lusted after them all your lives, but these jewellery alter egos of Saturn's Rings snatch women's ability to utter a very important word - break-up. Nearly half-an-hour into the film, Princess Maithili (played by Sonam Kapoor) finds herself sitting across fiance Salman Khan at a Last Supper-ish table. She is hiding behind goggles bigger than the soup bowls before her. Since Barjatya has a predilection for physical ailments (Monish Behl with a shaky hand in Hum Saath Saath Hai, a burnt Amrita Rao in Vivah) you wonder if this princess suffers from blindness, conjunctivitis or chronic hangover.
However, you're told, she suffers from a broken heart. She finally takes the shades off, whimpers and declares that her fiance pays no attention to her, has fought with her in the five times they have spoken and doesn't care for her. You probably want to shout, 'he's Salman Khan and you're not an SUV' to explain his lack of interest, but Maithili can't hear you. Oh, she will dump him now, you think. But no, she asks him if he wants to end the relationship and dump her. And that if he does, she will go back to Delhi. No no, not to kill herself in the summer, but to work with her NGO. You'd think a princess with the kind of wealth she has, she would have the gut to call off a relationship, but she doesn't and begs him to decide the fate of their relationship. Diamonds, after all, do seem to rust human brains.
- You have to dance. All. The. Time. If you think a couple of drinks should make that easy, think again. You will be clad in lehengas with one layer each of every textile known to human kind. A dupatta covering your head at all times, a lot of make-up and enough jewellery to fund a private trip to moon. You may not always get air-conditioned spaces to dance in. For example, Princess Maithili dances her way through the film. When she doesn't know what to do with a football in a field, she dances around it hoping it will start running for life by itself. When her bae gives gifts to his sister, she dances. When she is cribbing to the fiance, she dances. She dances even in her daydreams. She dances in courtyards, in dinner halls, in verandahs, in football fields, in rooms, in dreams, pretty much everywhere thinks life can exist. Whatever you want to be, you probably don't fancy having the physical stability of a wind chime, right?
- You orgasm to strange things. No one said life inside a fort is going to be easy. For example, if your location is 'huge ass room inside crazy big fort', you'll have to pay to be even shown a prospective match on Tinder. Because the closest match will be in another district. Now, in such hurtful circumstances, if you are told your fiance is Salman Khan, whatever happens to desire? Maithili shows us what. You start orgasming to strange things. For example, the princess makes a face we would usually associate with spotting Ryan Gosling's uncovered abdomen, when Salman Khan scratches her back with a feather. Some would say he was making a sanskaari tattoo in her back - one you can't see - but Sonam Kapoor's face was a whole different story. She had similar, 'omg-can-I-have-this-for-dinner' expressions during various other activities - like the man sticking a flower on her hair, like the man talking to a camel, like the man blessing his two sisters.
- You forget how to flirt That's the biggest casualty of having to bear with too much prem, ratan and dhan. And you definitely forget the thumb rules of getting laid. The most 'romantic' scenes - purely judged by the number of flowers in the frame - has the princess saying the following lines: "Maine aapki favourite short dress pehni. Maine aapke liye barbeque sajaya (I wore your favourite short dress. I set up a barbeque for you)." Not. Kidding.
I looked furiously for a couple of paneer and lauki skewers on the grill in the scene, but no, it was empty and squeaky clean. No edible thing around, at least of the non-gendered variety. Salman Khan, even with his high talent and tolerance levels for gibberish, looked pretty mortified. In fact, he looked less shocked when Maithili had called out to him as 'maharaj' in a come hither voice.
At least Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has one valuable lesson to offer: stash that princess diary away, right now!
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