Ready (Salman Khan)

I thought I was, but I really wasn’t.

Ready for Ready that is.

Having seen the original Telugu version  and then the Tamil remake Uthama Puthiran  I felt that I really should watch the Hindi version to complete the set. So despite some strong reservations I went with a group of friends thinking that moral support would be needed. And I was right!

The original Telugu film was so successful because of the chemistry and personality of the two leads. Ram and Genelia were able to take a fairly ridiculous story and make it engaging because they were both so likeable in their roles. Similarly, there was chemistry between Dhanush and Genelia in the Tamil remake and the comedy was funny and appropriate. Sadly though, the Hindi version has none of these things. The leads aren’t likeable, there is no chemistry and the comedy is incredibly juvenile and inane.

The weakest part of the film in all versions is the story, which doesn’t hold up very well to being remade when the whole point is completely missed. Ready was originally a coming of age story about a young man becoming ‘ready’ to settle down and commit to the girl he has fallen in love with. This seems to have totally escaped Rajan Aggarwal and Ikram Akhtar when they re-wrote the screenplay.  While I applaud the idea of making Asin more independent and more in control of her life, the way in which this was attempted just made her appear conniving and manipulative. Not attractive at all.

Briefly, Prem Kapoor lives in a huge house with his many uncles and aunts.  He helps his next door neighbour’s daughter run away to marry the man she really loves, and as a result the family guru organises a bride for Prem in an attempt to make him more responsible. I really don’t see how that was supposed to work, but nevertheless that was the plan. Meanwhile Sanjana has run away from her forced wedding to her cousin. Her parents are dead and her two feuding uncles both want to gain control of her fortune by marrying her off to their respective sons. Sanjana escapes to the airport, but rather than getting on a plane and heading back to the USA, she decides to pretend to be the prospective bride Pooja that Prem has come to meet. She ingratiates herself into the household by putting Prem down at every turn. This was also probably supposed to be funny, but just wasn’t. There are many cameo appearances by a lot of stars who really should have known better, and a cast of thousands as the respective uncles, aunts, cousins of Prem and Sanjana.

The rest of the story more closely follows the original. The two warring sides of the family turn up and Sanjana ends up imprisoned. Prem tracks her down and in the course of rescuing Sanjana manages to civilise her warring relatives with the help of his own family. This also involves befuddling their accountant, Paresh Rawal as Balidaan ‘Baali’ Bhardwaj, who is the only actor prepared to actually commit to his character. This redemption of the families felt very rushed and there was no real attempt to explain the reasons behind the feud. There was much more time spent on toilet humour and throw away one-liners that just weren’t funny, rather than trying to make any sense out of the plot. I know that it doesn’t make much sense in any case, but it is so disjointed here that it’s hard to work out exactly why Prem’s family all show up. The only thing that did make me laugh was a subtitle referring to scrabbled eggs, and I don’t think that was intentional.

The various supporting actors propped up as much as they could of the story but really the film is a showcase for Salman, so everything revolves around his character. l do like Salman Khan and think he was fantastic in Dabangg and Partner, but he doesn’t seem to make any effort whatsoever here. He seems to play himself rather than the character of Prem and there are just too many self-referential ‘jokes’. Usually these manage to amuse but even the time-honoured tradition of Salman taking off his shirt seemed tired and lack-lustre here. There are some pretty locations though.

I strongly suspect that Salman choreographed his own routines since there was very little actual dancing, even in the item song above with Zarine Khan. Even worse was the remake of Devi Sri Prasad’s Ringa Ringa from Arya2. Thrusting, scratching, shaking, twitching and grimacing at the camera is not dancing! There is no comparison at all with the original – click on the link above after watching Dinka Chinka and you’ll see what I mean!

I‘ve seen Asin dance and act in Sivakasi and Pokkiri, so I know she’s capable of so much more than she was given to do in this film. The lack of chemistry between her and Salman is perhaps not too surprising given the age difference, but at times it makes for somewhat uncomfortable viewing. The only reason I can see here for Prem to fall in love with Sanjana is that she’s the only woman who isn’t instantly in love with him, or perhaps it’s because she is just as manipulative and self-centred as he is. It’s totally irrelevant to the plot in any case and not much time is spent on the romance in the second half. I’ve never been much of a fan of Anees Bazmee’s films and this certainly isn’t going to change my mind. There is no coherent development of the story and far too much reliance on pee and fart jokes rather than actual comedy.

If you do want to watch this film I would recommend Telugu version instead – a much better film with actual dancing and funnier comedy. This film just kept losing points for me as I was so disappointed with it in comparison with the original. I also know that Salman can be much better than this and it’s really frustrating to see him put in such a mediocre performance. I really didn’t like this Ready at all!

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16 thoughts on “Ready (Salman Khan)

  1. I always wondered about the title! You’re right, that doesn’t quite work as well in this one. I actually thought Salman and Asin had pretty good chemistry, especially with their “communication through winking” thing – it was like they were on the same team throughout most of the shenanigans, though of course he had waaaaay more to do in them, especially in the second half when she all but disappeared.

    I am not a Salman connoisseur but it seems to me that this was a bit of an experiment to see just how little he can do and still be worshiped for it. I am not sure where on the spectrum of restraint-to-laziness his performance fell, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because whatever he was doing seemed to work very well for almost everyone in the cinema, and even I giggled quite a bit and thought his minimalist “dancing” was fun to watch. I’d really like to know what’s up with that, though! Too bulked up to move properly?

    Anurag Kashyap posted something on twitter about recognizing that Salman is a deity but he himself is a nonbeliever, which I thought was a really great way to put it. I feel that way about several of the superstars. I cannot, and will not, deny their power among various populations, but they just don’t appeal, feel relevant, or make any kind of sense to me. But that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to go to church on special occasions :) Salman is not quite in that category for me but it was such a useful analogy!

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    • Hi Beth,
      What a great quote from Anurag Kashyap! I think that sums up very well the way a number of people look at their favourite stars, not just Salman. I remember the total hysteria that followed SRK when he was here for instance :) and must confess to being guilty of perhaps some minor worship myself from time to time :P
      Although not Salman.
      I didn’t think Salman tried at all in this film and I’m going with laziness over restraint. I think he was very firmly resting on Dabangg’s success and his reputation of being the so-called ‘Southern Remake King’ although I don’t think either of his two remakes of Southern films have worked at all well. Wanted was better than this though – barely!
      I didn’t get the chemistry at all I’m afraid – it was a bit like watching your uncle flirt with your best friend – there was a high ‘ick’ factor. But then I also didn’t like Asin’s character so maybe that was part of why their relationship didn’t appeal. I’m glad you enjoyed it more than I did :) The friends I was with didn’t think it was quite as bad as I did either, so I think not having seen the Telugu version was a bonus in this case.
      I’ll still give Salman the benefit of the doubt for his next film – sigh. Out of every 4 or 5 he does, there is usually one I enjoy!

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  2. Huh! That title makes so much more sense with that explanation! And you’re right, I came away thinking the title of this movie should’ve been Remember How I Made Dabangg and It Was Such a Success? The big problem with Salman remaking these Telugu blockbusters seems to me that he has a taste for what the younger men are putting out. Like Wanted and now Ready. So the themes dont really travel very well.

    Not that I expected it to, to be honest. I was just happy it wasn’t super offensive but I guess Akshay’s got that market cornered.

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    • :D Had to laugh at your comment about Akshay! I avoid his movies for exactly that reason!

      Dabangg worked for me because the character was made for Salman and it all made a lot more sense. Ready didn’t for exactly the reason you mention. :)
      I agree that it wasn’t particularly offensive – apart from that ridiculous line near the end about it being the first time a woman had made sense – totally uncalled for. I think that remark stood out so much because the rest of the film had been ridiculous but not overly distasteful.
      I suspect that Salman has his sights on more Southern remakes given that the Bollywood market seems to be starved of masala films and this is as close as they get currently. I’ll just trust my instincts next time, and not watch!

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      • I had to call out that line about women making sense in my review also. It was completely out of place both in terms of plot and attitude of the rest of the film. NO idea why it was there – did he ad-lib and they left it in? And how hypocritical in a film whose two major plot points are about lying to people and creating byzantine cover-ups – how are those for “sense”! RRRRR.

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      • It was totally out of character wasn’t it? I’m very thankful there wasn’t any more.
        I suspect you are right and it was an ad lib line- although whether from the director or Salman would be hard to pick!
        We all just looked at each other and groaned at any rate, and it didn’t get a laugh at all in the cinema – happy about that at least!

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      • You singled it out to me, Beth! :D That’s where you’re remembering it from I bet.

        And you’re right, Heather, there’re lots more on the way and now more people are jumping on the bandwagon. eg Ajay Devgan with Singham. I mean, that name doesnt even make sense in a Northern context. And apparently these movies come bundled with South Indian actresses but none of the ones that I actually like.

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      • I’ve been thinking about this a lot and while I originally was appalled by the thought, I’m slowly coming round to the idea.
        Obviously I’d prefer it if the Hindi speaking audience watched the original – even a number of my desi friends here totally dismiss the SI film industry despite constantly complaining about the lack of good new films from Bollywood (sigh!)
        But at least it’s a way to get some recognition that the South does make entertaining films – they’re good enough to copy after all! It also seems as if they get a great response – thinking of general reactions to Wanted and Ready. They do tend to be the big ‘all singing, all dancing’ masala films that Bollywood just don’t seem to be making any more. And maybe, just maybe, some of the audience may be inspired to take a look at the original film. They released Khaleja as a Hindi dub after all so maybe there is actually a market out there? I must admit I’m not convinced and I know I’m grasping at straws here!
        But I don’t think it’s just a Salman fan-base phenomena and it will be interesting to see how well some of the other re-makes are received :)

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      • I disagree pretty comprehensively with your entire review, so there’s no point in going into that, but I just wanted to comment on this line about the first time a woman talking sense — what I think that line refers to is the plethora of Indian soap operas which are based on the daughter-in-law scheming to throw out the husband’s mother and father from the house. Since so many other lines in the film are references to lines from popular culture, it wouldn’t surprise me if this were, too. Since I don’t watch those soap operas, I can’t pinpoint any particular one it may be referencing- but I have glanced at enough of them to know that this is a popular story line.

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      • Hi mm,
        Thank-you for the information about that line. It would help explain it since otherwise it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the film. It may also explain why some of the other humour fell a bit flat to the Australian audience – who were mainly young men in their twenties – and may not have got all of the references.
        Thanks :)

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  3. Hmm, all of these reviews are making me less enthused to see it, although I am intrigued by the Tamil remake, since I think the Ram to Dhanush translation would work well. (Side note, Asin was in in Pokkiri. I obsess about that extra k.)

    I’ve also wondered if “Ready” is a play on “Reddy”, which seems like a stereotypical Ryalaseema factionalist name, and is the surname of at least one of the families.

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    • Curses! That extra k will get me every time!
      I really liked the Tamil remake, and not just because I’m a big Dhanush fan! To be honest I actually think Vivek is better than Brahmi in the role of the accountant and as another plus, Genelia is a bit less hyper than in the Telugu version.
      Good point about the play on words – most of the comedy in the second half does hinge on classic Rayalaseema sterotypes and at least in the Telugu version they are Reddy’s. (Another thing which didn’t translate well to the Hindi version where the family were Chaudhary’s). There is often quite a number of word plays in Indian films generally – which I usually have to get explained to me as the subtitles just don’t manage to get any of that across!
      I can’t recommend watching this version of Ready – maybe as a bargain bin DVD? But I would recommend Uthama Puthiran instead :)

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  4. Oh, also, I clicked on that Ringa Ringa clip and nearly died laughing at the thought of Salman pulling that off. Pocket dance is much more his speed.

    On a related note, I finally took Temple’s advice and got a hold of Arya 2. Thanks T!

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    • I looooove Arya2! It’s my favourite Telugu movie – even more than Magadheera :)
      The fact that it’s about a psychotic stalker probably has a lot to do with that – and the fact that it’s Bunny of course!
      A word of warning though – a few people in our dance class have tried the moves from ‘My Love is Gone’ and have reported carpet burns as a result – just a note of caution – you may not want to try this at home!!
      Hope you enjoy it as much as Temple and I do :)

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  5. Oh God, I just watched Dinka Chika for the first time and regretting it bitterly. What’s sad is that I would probably think it’s a super fun, super masti song if I was not so offended that it’s a remake of an Arya 2 song (none of which need any remaking… EVER). But the original kept popping into my head and I don’t think I will ever be able to enjoy this one. :(

    Of course, I gave this movie a miss, and turns out that was a good call. So I can’t comment on anything else really, except to say that I am also one of the people who do not worhip at this particular altar, but I found Dabangg absolutely irresistable :)

    Thanks for the giggles, as always!

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