Prem is Back: 7 Reasons to Watch Salman Khan’s ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

by Zaynah Arefin

For all of us avid Rajshri Productions lovers who have been waiting 16 years to watch Sooraj Barjatya and Salman Khan come together once again to create magic on the big screen, our day has finally arrived with ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’!

After “Maine Pyar Kiya” (1989), “Hum Aapke Hai Kaun” (1994) and “Hum Saath Saath Hain” (1999), the pair have come together again for PRDP, promising the same innocence, family values and lots of songs.

Here are seven reasons why you need to run, not walk, to the theaters on Nov. 11!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd4iNPuRlx4]

1. PG-Family

Unfortunately, movies that are family appropriate have become a rarity in Bollywood as of late. PRDP, however, is being marketed as a movie we can watch with the whole clan. So grab your nanis, mothers-in-law, chachas, and anyone else you can find, and make it a family trip to the movies!

2. Songs

This movie has ten songs—yes, ten songs. That also means ten potential dance songs for the upcoming shaadi season! Rajshri Productions are the people who previously gave us timeless numbers such as, “Maiyya Yashoda,” “Joote Do Paise Lo” and “Wah Wah Ramji.” We also hear one of the songs in PRDP is a 13-minute sequence; I am sensing flashbacks of “Maine Pyar Kiya” and the infamous Antakshari song!

3. Sonam Kapoor all desi-fied

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo [Photo Source: Facebook/Prem Ratan Dhan Payo]

As seen in the trailer, along with beautiful views of Rajasthani locales, we also get a glimpse of the always glamorous Kapoor in royal and colorful traditional lehenga cholis and sarees. Kapoor’s latest avatar is definitely going to be the talk of the town.

4. The Return of Prem

Alas, he is back! We Prem lovers have been in withdrawal since “Hum Saath Saath Hain.” Almost two decades later, he’s finally here! Prem is one of those characters who is close to the hearts of millions; he is the man we either want or strive to be. Sensitive, check. Hot, check. Romantic, check. Family-oriented, check. Also, can we please take a moment and say that the man knows how to flirt?! How many people can get away with flirting in a room full of parents and relatives?

5. Action-ish?

The trailer of ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ shows a lot more action than we are used to in a typical Rajshri movie. The most action we have seen in Barjatya’s ventures are a fall down the stairs and a big house fire. In PRDP, we are promised some action as one of the Prems is labeled a fighter and we are able to spot a sword at the end of the trailer. A family feud and swords? Yes, please.

6. Salman Khan

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo[Photo Source: Facebook/Prem Ratan Dhan Payo]

Salman Khan is in it. Period.

7. You see double!

What is the only thing better than one Khan? Two Khans! That’s right, Khan plays a double role in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: need we say more?


Zaynah Arefin is known as a Houstonian-New Yorker. She is a New Yorker in the truest of senses but thanks to that little thing called love she now resides in Texas. Arefin is probably the desi-est of the desis.  She has a passion for writing and an even more intense love for all things Bollywood! She also hopes to connect with all of you filmy folk through Brown Girl Magazine! After all, who run the world? Brown girls!

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

Op-Ed: Has Mindy Kaling Become a Scapegoat for the South Asian Diaspora?

Mindy Kaling

Over the past few weeks we’ve all seen Mindy Kaling shoulder the blame for misrepresenting the South Asian diaspora in her work. I want to expose us to the flip side. She’s not “Indian enough” for some in our communities and “not American enough” for mainstream television and media. But I don’t know a single South Asian living abroad who doesn’t feel this dissonance. We’re a generation born to parents who strived to stay connected to their homeland but knew they had to assimilate to survive. Many of us got lost in the mix. I definitely did. And from the looks of it, Kaling did too. 

I feel like I’ve oscillated between these two extremes all my life. I’ve had moments of code-switching — performing as a white version of myself, melting into the groups around me. And moments of being a “coconut” (or an “oreo” depending on where you come from) — suddenly donning an accent as if Hindi was my first language. It wasn’t conscious. It also wasn’t fully unconscious.  

It wasn’t until I watched Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” as a 35-year-old mother of two that I realized what teenage Ambika was up against. Still wearing tank tops in secret, while girls my age had moved on to the midriff-baring trend of the early 2000s. Not thinking it was okay to explore my sexuality. Not seeing that sometimes I knew what was better for me than my parents did. Not understanding that it was okay to expand my romantic interests beyond the few Indian boys I knew. And then I rewatched “The Mindy Project” while on maternity leave with my second kid. And I ate it up.

I rewound dialogue as Dr. Lahiri got engaged, left a man who lost his drive, fell in love with the unexpectedly handsome curmudgeon, got pregnant, learned to mother, and found a new version of herself. She addressed her pregnant body insecurities on-screen (in “What to Expect When You’re Expanding — brilliant!). She grappled with her ambitions in the face of motherhood. She owned who she was when most of us were taught not to. She dated outside of her race. Her audacity and levity gave me so much oomph at a time when I needed it the most.

Art comes from lived experience. And when individuals reflect their life back to the masses through art, it’s a tenuous balance. Comedians in particular have to toe a fine line between hyperbole and reality, having the paradoxical job of speaking the truth (the dark truth, often), and simultaneously making people laugh.

Comedian Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, when interviewed on NPR’s “Code Switch,” says: 

Even though I didn’t speak Spanish — my parents don’t speak Spanish — early in my career when I would portray my parents in a bit, they would have an accent. They would speak in broken English. Any time I would talk about my mom, it was like, ‘ay, mija.’ My mom doesn’t call me ‘mija.’ My mom will leave me a voice message and be like, ‘hey, girl!’ She talks like me. You know what I mean?

This is the inherent paradox that exists in Velma as well. Kaling, as she often does, takes her own experiences as a young Indian girl growing up against the backdrop of white America, and amplifies them. And now, Kaling is a grown, Indian woman whose career is evolving against the backdrop of an America, too.

Critics across different racial groups frequently talk about “the representation trap.” Even if a minority group is represented in a piece of art, literature, film, or television, the manifestation of that group is still filtered through the white gaze. In Ismail Muhammed’s New York Times piece “Can Black Literature Escape the Representation Trap,” he says: 

Our current problem isn’t an insufficient amount of Black representation in literature but a surfeit of it. And in many cases that means simply another marketing opportunity, a way to sell familiar images of Blackness to as broad an audience as possible.

The debate about whether minority artists properly represent their cohort is marred with capitalism and white supremacy. When so many industries are gate-kept by the typical, euro-centric, generationally rich man, is there really any way to be wholly true to our experience? 

[Read Related: ‘Late Night’ Review: Mindy Kaling & Nisha Ganatra Hilariously Expose Diversity Issues in Hollywood & Comedy]

Let’s not forget that many of us (or maybe all of us?) came up in a society that devalues women, and horrifically devalues people of color. Let’s not forget that the majority of executives across every field still don’t look like us (if by chance you’ve forgotten, read this piece by Ruchika Tulshyan). Let’s not forget that when people are introduced to something foreign and unknown to them, their default is to reject it (again, if you’ve forgotten, read about “the mere exposure effect” and racism).

I’m unsure how Kaling has inherited the immense responsibility of representing all of the South Asian American diaspora? And is then being criticized for her representation of it. Third-generation South Asians are very different from second-generation, who are very different from first-generation. Our identities and how we fit into American culture, mainstream media, and business, are still forming as we speak. We are not a monolith.

And plenty of men have done exactly what Kaling is being criticized for, without anywhere near the same level of criticism. All men I (hopefully, we) love.

Riz Ahmed has taken on roles in which his race isn’t the central focus. Hasan Minaj doesn’t get criticized when he uses stereotypical accents to represent South Asians or for using politics as a launch pad for his content. We don’t hate on Kumail Nanjiani when he suddenly gets a six-pack, even though he also once played a nerd. I loved when Aziz Ansari went to Italy to make pasta and didn’t make it Indian.

Why are we tearing down one of the only women in America who is working to showcase South Asian culture and people? Because she uses humor and caricature? Because she’s not putting herself in the mindset of the type of Indian person who has learned to thrive at the intersection of their upbringing and their environment? Newsflash: that person doesn’t exist! 

It’s not on Kaling to represent every dimension of this diaspora. She’s done her job.

I’m a proud, second-generation, Indian American woman, married to an Indian American man, with two Indian American children. I was nerdy just like Kaling. I had arm hair just like Devi. I pined after white boys in my teen years just like Bela from the HBO Max’s “Sex Lives of College Girls,” too. And Kaling is an absolute inspiration to me. 

I see a South Asian woman who chose to have children on her own. Whose career, post-children, skyrocketed. Who committed herself and her craft to tackle the most deep-rooted stigmas of South Asian culture — mental health, sex, and interracial relationships — while still honoring the way it manifested in her life. 

It’s now our job to get out into the world and dimensionalize our cohort. Show the world what us supposed “ABCDs” have grown up and done; who we’ve become and what we’ve accomplished. 

It’s what I’m trying to do. It’s what I’m trying to fight for when I’m told things like “maybe tone down the diversity angle in your writing, we don’t want publishers to think they’re just buying a diversity book.”

We still exist in a house of cards. Why are we kicking the building blocks of our own home?

I’ll leave you with this quote from Kaling herself: 

People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. People do not get scared when you’re failing. It calms them. But when you’re winning, it makes them feel like they’re losing or, worse yet, that maybe they should’ve tried to do something too, but now it’s too late. And since they didn’t, they want to stop you. You can’t let them.

I hope this woman never gets discouraged. We need her in more ways than one.

 

The opinions expressed by the writer of this piece, and those providing comments thereon (collectively, the “Writers”), are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any of its employees, directors, officers, affiliates, or assigns (collectively, “BGM”). BGM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Writers. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you have a complaint about this content, please email us at Staff@browngirlmagazine.com. This post is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here.
By Ambika Gautam Pai

Ambika Gautam Pai is the Chief Strategy Officer at full-service advertising agency Mekanism and a mom of two. She's a … Read more ›

The Poetry Film Breaking Genres and National Borders

“After so Long” is a poetry film created for Simha’s EP, which is streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. The poem was collaboratively written by Simha, a U.S. native, and Jae, who is based in India, during the 2020 lockdown. “After so Long” was recited by Simha and their parents. In 2022, I directed and produced the film through my studio, Star Hopper. “After so Long” premiered on Nowness Asia in March 2022.

This film is a worldwide collaboration among trans and queer south-Asian artists from the United States, India and Canada. It was recorded, shot and filmed during the lockdown of 2020 and 2021.

[Read Related: Poetry That Reflects the Fire Inside]

[Read Related: A Bengali Muslim Boy’s Poetic Journey Through Himself]

After So Long (English Translation)

Jae:
Awake at 10 am but out of bed at noon,
I want to be here where I lose myself in these sheets
Glancing through half-shut eyes
At the gold pressing past my window
The glimmer remarks on the ledge of my bed
But the voices are so loud
Like dust collecting in the corner of my room
I am unaware to why I’m still here
With the chilling doubt of the breeze…
I’m swept into lucidity After so long

Dad:
Mil rahi hoon mein aaj iske saang barso baad,
(Today, I’ll be meeting them after so long)
Koi paata nahi diya tune
(But with no destination sight,)
Kya karu?
(What should I do?)
Kaha jau?
(Where should I go?)
Shayad agar mein chalne lagoon,
(Perhaps, if I keep walking)
Inn yaadon ki safar mein
(Down this road of memories)
Mujhe samajh mein ayega,
(I will find out)
Yeh rasta kahaan jayega,
(Where this road leads)
Inn aari tedhi pakadandiyon pe baarte hi jaana hai,
(Through the twists and turns of this winding roads, I must keep going on)
Mujhe mil na hain aaj uske saath,
(I wish to meet them today)
Barso baad.
(After so long)

Simha:
I feel like I’m retracing my footsteps
From these concrete stretches
To broken cement walls
Chips and cracks forge their way for new designs
I see the old abandoned buildings
That once held the warmth of bodies
Now just hold memories
Supporting the nature’s resilience
In vines and moss
After so long

Mom:
Dhoondli shishe mein jaaga leli hai
(These isty mirrors have offered refuge)
Bikhri hui laatao ne,
(To these scattered vines)
Zameen pe uchi ghaas pe
(Amidst the tall grass stretching from the ground)
Lehrati kamsan kaliyaa
(The swaying little buds)
Bheeni bheeni khushboo bikhereti
(Spreading honeysuckle scent through the air)
Phir wahi mausam,
(I lose myself in reminiscing, the same season)
Wahi dil,
(The same heart)
Baarso baad.
(After so long)
Phir bhi mein chal rahi hoon aaj
(Still, I keep carrying on today)
Khudko khudse milane ke liye
(In the pursuit of my higher self)
Inn galiyo se guzarna hain aaj
(I must pass through these streets today)
Chaalte chaale jaana hai aaj
(I must keep going on today)
Kabhi hum milenge kisi mor paar
(Someday, we’ll meet again, somewhere on this road)
barso baad
(After so long)
Kabhi hum milenge kisi mor pe
(Someday, we’ll meet again, somewhere on this road)
barso baad
(After so long)

[Read Related: How to Follow Your Heart, Even When it’s Hard]

Credits

Poem by Simha & Jae
Produced by Star Hopper Studios
Directed by Varsha Panikar
Cinematography and grading by Tanmay Chowdhary
Editing by Asawari Jagushte
Featuring Vaishakh Sudhakaran
Music Production by Simha
Hindi editing by Rama Garimella
Recited by Simha, Rama Garimella, Annaji Garimella
English Translation by Nhylar


The opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any employee thereof. Brown Girl Magazine is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the guest writer/bloggers. This work is the opinion of the blogger. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here.
By Varsha Panikar

Varsha Panikar (they/he) is a filmmaker, writer and multi-disciplinary artist from India. They are the co-founder of Star Hopper, a … Read more ›

In Conversation With Teresa Patel, Rising Actor From NBC’s ‘New Amsterdam’

South Asian representation in entertainment and media is rapidly increasing nationwide. “We are making strides in the industry, and I am excited about the journey ahead,” said Indian American actor Teresa Patel, known for her roles as Paramedic Harvell in the NBC medical drama, “New Amsterdam,” and Neela Patel in the ABC soap opera, “One Life to Live.”

As a rising star, Patel is breaking barriers for South Asian women nationwide. We, at Brown Girl Magazine, had the opportunity to speak with Patel, a pharmacist by day and an actor by night, about her journey into acting and how she balances both careers. 

[Read Related: Anita Verma-Lallian Talks Camelback Productions and the Need for Greater South Asian Representation]

Patel’s acting career was inspired by watching Bollywood films while growing up. As a child, she would reenact popular Bollywood films with her sister and neighborhood kids.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Teresa Patel (@teresapatel)

While her love for Bollywood is common among South Asians, her background and continued work in pharmacy are what make her stand out the most among other creatives.

“I went into pharmacy school knowing that I wanted to do both,” Patel said.

She added that while she knew she was interested in both, she wasn’t sure how to pursue them initially. She never let that dream or passion die down.

“I’ve always known I wanted to pursue acting. I knew I would have to pave a path to pursue acting, and I figured I will work as a pharmacist until I could make it possible — because acting is an investment.”

Patel shared her experiences and emphasized the importance of financial stability, especially for women.

“I believe in strong independent women who can finance their own dreams and build the life they want to live. You don’t want to have to rely on anybody else to do it for you.”

She shared that while it was something her parents did want her to pursue, being a pharmacist was something she eventually loved doing and ultimately helped her pursue her dreams of acting, due to the financial stability it provided as she built her acting career.

“I enjoy what I do and that’s what I love about the life I created. I have grown to love my pharmacy life and I love pursuing acting. I feel fulfilled with both.”

When talking about balancing two demanding jobs,  Patel walked us through a day in her life. We spoke about the importance of organization and how she managed to juggle both, but of course, it didn’t all come easy. She shared how she worked during the day and simultaneously enrolled in an acting conservatory which she attended in the evenings. 

 

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A post shared by Teresa Patel (@teresapatel)

She also noted that she had to make a lot of personal sacrifices since her time was limited with work, training, and auditioning. But despite how difficult the times were or how much she initially “struggled” to find that balance, Patel shared that those were some of her “most memorable” times.

“It felt like a hustle, and I had the chance to experience two very different parts of my life. Looking back, a lot of my growth as a person happened during this time — which is what makes it so memorable for me.”

Speaking about representation and how the media has changed over time, Patel noted that while South Asians are still often given stereotypical roles, recently, a change can be seen in the roles they have been playing and creating. 

“There’s just more inspiration and more out there now,” she said, speaking of the different emerging writers, actors, and shows depicted in the media. 

“South Asians are starting to be seen as leads, as people who can have love interests, who have their own issues, not just white-collar professionals on screen.”

She added that change cannot happen overnight but is slowly occurring in media spaces. Patel also noted that more roles that don’t just highlight one’s identity are needed, adding that roles should not just represent a culture but be able to be played by anyone, despite identity or color. 

Reflecting on roles that emphasize characteristics only associated with one culture, she said:

“Women have so many types of backgrounds, that’s what I want to see more. A role shouldn’t be just for South Asians,” Patel said. “Like any woman should be able to take a role, my identity shouldn’t define what roles I can get.”

Outside of acting and being a pharmacist, Patel wears several other hats including directing her own short film. Without giving any spoilers — we learned that Patel’s film will revolve around the bond between herself, her sister, and her nephew. 

“Instead of waiting for the right role or opportunity, I realized I can invest in myself and create my own.”

In terms of advice, she would give to others,

“I don’t believe we are all meant to do only one thing all of our lives. We are full of potential, but you do have to believe in it and try your hardest to live up to it,” she said.

[Read Related: Deepa Prashad: Meet the Breakout Indo Caribbean Host Conquering Media and Sexism]

She noted that people often “glamourize” the acting world and forget to talk about what brought them to where they are, emphasizing the importance of training, marketing, and networking — all of which can cost money.

. “While you have a full-time job, you can still invest in yourself financially to live out your dreams.” 

Patel can be seen in American medical drama “New Amsterdam” on NBC.  The show currently has five seasons available.

Featured Image Courtesy of Teresa Patel

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By Aysha Qamar

Aysha Qamar is a writer, poet and advocate based in the tri-state area. She currently serves as BGM’s News and … Read more ›