Sense of anticipation awaiting Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is coming, and India could scarcely be more ecstatic. The new Bollywood extravaganza, which reunites the blockbuster filmmaking team of director Sooraj Barjatya and star Salman Khan, has movie fans tweeting, singing and dubsmashing at a level of frenzied excitement rarely seen outside the sub-continent.
For those of us who aren’t Indian residents or members of the Indian diaspora, it’s nearly impossible to fathom the wave of fanaticism and hype that greets a film like PRDP. Imagine the rush of excitement movie fans in London, New York or Sydney would experience if the new Star Wars trilogy were to release on the same day as a Harry Potter sequel and the next Avatar movie. Now double that amount of energy and you’ll only begin to understand the sense of anticipation awaiting Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.
The film is set to arrive in theaters across India and around the world on November 12th, a day after the Diwali festival and at the start of a 4-day holiday weekend. This is an auspicious time for opening a movie, having been the launch date for numerous successful releases, including the second Sooraj-Salman pairing,Hum Apke Hain Koun..!, a romantic comedy that grossed a phenomenal 1.35 billion rupees back in 1994 (the equivalent of about $US 69 million in today’s currency). Expectations are high for the new film, with analysts projecting that PRDP will gross at least 3 billion rupees (roughly $50 million), Some fans are even audaciously suggesting that the film could gross 10 billion rupees, which would make it India’s highest grossing movie by a margin of 50 percent over the current box office record-holder, the Aamir Khan starrer PK.
The high expectations are not unwarranted. PRDP has India’s hottest star in the lead role, playing a beloved character type that he has played many times before (this is Salman Khan’s 15th time playing a character named “Prem”). The movie will have the holiday weekend all to itself, since the debut of an erstwhile competitor, Ghayal Returns, has been postponed to early January. The music that has been released so far is transcendent, with beautifully crafted songs featuring the angelic voice of Palak Muchhal. And if the trailer gives us an accurate indication, it will be a terrifically entertaining picture, with top-notch directing, dancing, storytelling and visual splendor.