Meymaranden Paaraayo is the Tamil version of the Hindi film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, directed by Sooraj R Bajratiya and scheduled to release during the Diwali weekend. This is the fourth collaboration between Salman Khan and Sooraj R Bajratiya. The trailer begins with the ‘Bharathiraja’ staple – two hands folded. In the background is a black and white photograph of a family – a father and his four children. There’s no mother. Or she’s tech-savvy and taking the photograph. Meanwhile, the background vocalist carefully sings about how everything, including money, is a lie and an illusion. Except love, which is the only real wealth. It would go down better if we weren’t looking at lavish displays of, well, wealth. A massive palace lit up in the night. Grand halls, elaborate outfits, slow motion dancing that only the ultra rich can do. And then we hear, twice, that Prem (Salman Khan) has returned. ‘Naa Vandhuten, Naa Thirumba Vandhuten’ (I have come, I have returned).
Salman Khan opens his arms to the camera with a blissful smile. Eyes shut in the enjoyment of his return. Eyes open as the camera draws near to welcome us into his cinematic embrace. His face looks genuinely happy. It’s painfully obvious that for him, the term ‘God’s gift to humankind’ isn’t sarcastic. It’s literal. Prem is back. Everybody (including Prem), please rejoice.
There’s a lovely sunrise shot, with Sonam Kapoor striking a pose as the sunbeam spills around her silhouette. The music picks up, the dance picks up, women whirl around in colourful, billowing lehengas. And then there’s Salman Khan standing on a platform, and like Dumbledore or Voldemort or maybe even Moses (take your pick), sweeping a (I kid you not) sparkling wand at the dancing crowd. The camera loves him some more, as he looks into the distance. Presumably at a woman worthy of his love. Or maybe just a broomstick in the air.
Meymaranden Paaraayo is about the importance of family. We see Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher and Swara Baskar, and obviously everything isn’t all okay with them. But then Salman Khan reassuringly tells us, ‘Every family faces problems, but those who have a family are really lucky.’ It’s a dialogue that might have sounded punchy when the first lavish family dramas Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge were released. Though probably not even then.
It’s towards the end of the trailer that anything like an interesting plot surfaces. There are glimpses of (presumably villains) waving swords around, and riding horse carriages along perilous cliffs. Salman Khan looks grimly into the camera. A carriage (along with a poor horse) is thrown off a cliff in slow motion, like a James Bond movie in another time and place. And then comes the real shocker. A woman says she sometimes thinks Salman Khan is someone else. Sure enough, as Salman Khan lowers his arm, we see that he has a neatly trimmed moustache. And anger. Double role or personality issues? We’ll have to wait and see.