Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: Ready

Ready, very unsteady

Director: Anees Bazmi
Starring: Salman Khan, Asin, Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar, Sharat Saxena, Akhilendra Mishra, Anuradha Patel, Arya Babbar
Stars: **

Ready is exactly the kind of film that gets made when a lead star is going through a lucky purple patch in his career. The script then moves along with a smug consciousness of having a superstar as its chief mover and shaker. The assumption is that most of the film will revolve around the star, who will play to the gallery and draw heavily upon his various signature styles. Not that Salman Khan's films are known for their scripts, but Ready particularly hopes to ride on its male lead's shoulders without bothering to come up with anything new or remotely interesting.

In many ways, Ready looks like a residue and cheap imitation of some of Govinda's 90s romcoms, which anyway had far more spunk and humour. Right from the tacky title credits to the stale script and insipid treatment, Ready seems like a blast from an unwelcome past. The first half is especially trying, as the film drags along endlessly with unfunny gags and a nonsensical plot-line. The second half gathers some pace, and there are the occasional scenes which elicit a faint smile, but none of that pulls the film from its mire of inanity.

Prem (Salman Khan) belongs to a large, extended family, who are keen to get him married. He himself is reluctant and shows no interest when he is packed off to receive a girl at the airport. Simultaneously, a runaway bride, Sanjana (Asin) is desperate for a place to hide, as she is being chased by a few goons. She poses as Salman's proposed bahu and joins his family, who take a great liking to her. Salman stays aloof towards her, but warms up once she tells him about her two warring gangster-uncles (Sharat Saxena, Akhilendra Mishra). Each of them wants her to marry their respective sons for her wealth, and have been chasing her around the town. If you can get past this ludicrous plot, the rest of it revolves around Salman's efforts to bring the uncouth uncles around and create a Hum Saath Saath Hain out of the Kaminey families.

In many ways, Ready is a watered down version of director Anees Bazmee's own Welcome, an infinitely funnier comedy. It stays marginally watchable of course, thanks to a few individual scenes. There are a couple of characters, including the one of Paresh Rawal, who reveal Bazmee's talent for comic writing. But this is all very few and far in between, and much of what goes on is childish and puerile to the extreme.

Coming to the man of the moment, Salman Khan surprisingly seems a little out of form at the start of the film. He looks too bulky and the role of a 'young' bachelor-in-the-house -- that the 45 year old Khan has played in countless films -- heightens the sense of deja vu. He gradually slips into the part, but the role is unlikely to gain as much favour as Wanted or Dabangg. The choice of Asin works quite well for a film that is urgently in need of some freshness.

Calling it a 'time-pass' flick in some ways denotes that it probably isn't high art, but entertains reasonably well. Ready can't even be called that. Fans of Salman may find it bearable enough, but really, this is low IQ tripe that is one, long, pointless exercise.


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