Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo — a delightful take on The Prisoner of Zenda

While recovering from an assassination attempt four days before his coronation, a stern prince is replaced by a romantic lookalike.

I love The Prisoner of Zenda, a classic adventure novel where a king has disappeared so a foreign "look alike" is called upon to impersonate him. Naturally, the impersonator can't help but interject some of his own personality in chance encounters, such as with the king's fiancee, and soon sees where the king's deficiencies lie.

This movie is a fun, frothy fairy tale loosely based on that story, tweaked to become Indian and, thus, much more family oriented. Salman Khan plays the double role of prince and loyal imposter. He's intelligent, good natured, and sweet. He already revered the king's fiancee and this is his big chance to meet her face to face. But what effect will that have on the princess?

I first saw this in 2019 when we were fairly early in our Bollywood watching. This rewatch was just as charming and beautiful as the first time. The gorgeous shots and the spectacular location raise this to a visual treat. However, now I realize I didn't appreciate it enough the first time. A real treasure and one that I'll be rewatching.

Hannah and Rose discuss this movie on An American's Guide to Bollywood.

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