Sooraj Barjatya skyrocketed Salman Khan to stardom with his superhit 1989 film, Maine Pyar Kiya, and the team scored a hat-trick with Hum Aapke Hain Koun? and Hum Saath Saath Hain. After a break of 16 years, their hotly anticipated comeback Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has also crested waves at the box office.
Like his earlier blockbusters, Sooraj’s latest film is a deliberation on the sanctity of the Indian family and its values. The director’s cinematic philosophy is evident in his elaboration of his protagonist Prem’s beliefs that “Every family has problems, but fortunate are those who have families.”
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo spotlights the emotional upheavals and machinations within an extended royal family. Barjatya’s winningly earnest directorial style showcases a world with an uberbright palette of colours and crams each scene with meticulously observed interactions. Fortunately, it also results in the emergence of clearly etched portraits of each family member.
As Salman had said, “When you leave the theatre after watching a Sooraj Barjatya film, you leave as a better human being. He brings back our culture, he draws us back to our morals and our roots.” Indeed, Barjatya has become modern cinema’s definitive chronicler of Indian stories.