All Salman Khan movies seem to have one simple formula, which I state below in Hindi:
Look at Wanted. Look at Dabangg. And then look at God Tussi Great Ho. And it seems Salluboy just forgot to take off his shirt in the very latter. Bad idea; because the movie flopped, didn’t it? Unusual introduction for a movie review, but this is something I’ve had to write, and you’ll know why in a bit.
Coming back to the movie, Ready. It’s a rip-off Telegu superhit of the same name (and you’ve got one of the elements locked in nice and tight). It’s a collage of Salman dancing to a South song (another element). You also have a beautiful damsel-in-distress Asin running away from her own uncles – the harebrained goondas. The promotional strategy is zany at best – as all we see in all the television channels, all the kiosks in Mumbai, what with all the radio stations playing Character Dheela and Dhinka Chika, you’ve got it all. And what with a mind-boggling opening the movie has received across the world, they’ve achieved almost everything. Almost.
For those who want to kill me, please don’t because as you will see with my previous reviews of Wanted and Dabangg, I am a pretty big fan of Salman Khan and his star power. And honestly speaking, the problem here isn’t with Salman Khan – in fact I could sit through the movie just because of him – it’s with the most pathetic screenplay ever written, and honestly enough, it just doesn’t make sense at all. But with what little tolerance level I’ve had watching the film though till its end, let me try to decipher it.
So Salman Khan plays Prem, who has a nice big Rajshri-esque family, and who helps people in his own way. He is a jobless person who only thinks of working out and creating trouble. So he helps two lovers unite, but before doing that he’s got the privilege of dancing to Character Dheela with the chick he’s helping (Zarine Khan, you’ve got to work on your dialogue delivery woman). Intelligent! Very intelligent!
Oh, wait, there’s more intelligence! So he comes back home and they have a banter about how he should marry, so they go to this Guruji (?) who tells the family of some Pooja Malhotra. A chance hearing by Asin, and the damsel-in-distress helps herself away from her crazy uncles who want her for her money by impersonating Pooja because (how convenient) they haven’t even gotten a photo of her. And then, the usual thoda-jhagda-thoda-pyaar happens, when he realizes that she’s not Pooja but Sanjana. But he isn’t hurt, he quickly accepts what she has to tell. And willingly helps her. During this time, at least there are some laughs that pass you by the film, but post the interval (Tea Break?), the movie only goes downhill with each second acting like a shortcut to boredom, headaches and more headaches. Some scenes try to be funny, but neither do the actors have any comic timing, nor does the screenplay find any innovatively written jokes. And then, by the end the movie suddenly turns back to oh-we’re-a-happy-family-with-good-values, where people cry and unite.On My God!
Technically, the movie is strictly decent. The cinematography is alright, and even in a picturesque location like Bangkok, they haven’t really been able to capture its romanticism. Or maybe we’ve seen too much of Bangkok in Bollywood. Camerawork is strictly loud and zany for what it’s meant to be. Action choreography deserves brownie points. Editing is the worst part of the film. There’s too much of wannabe in the style of editing observed in the film, and honestly, it just doesn’t work. Split screens used occasionally don’t make any sense, and if you use split screens, you just know you need style, and a bit of subtext on why you’re using split screens.
The background score is nice in some places, horrible in others. The music is plain bad! Pritam and his innovation have both gone for a toss. Devi Sri Prasad’s “Dhinka Chika” is something we’ve unfortunately already heard (remember “Ringa Ringa”?). “Humko Pyaar Hua” is the only decent song but unfortunately, it’s saddled by such a horrible picturization, with absolutely zero chemistry between the lead stars and it’s shamefully put down. “Character Dheela” might just have been the most well picturized song, but then again it arrives at such a juncture you really don’t seem to care about it anymore.
I really don’t need to talk a lot about the performances here, because the movie in itself is supposed to be all-Salman-nothing-else; but herein lies the problem – the movie’s far too crowded for its own good. But let’s focus on Salman here. Yes, he holds the weak screenplay on his shoulders to pass it through, but any movie on a whole is a package deal that should work at every juncture, be it in the pre-production, or post-production aspects, and this is where his own Dabangg did really well. Asin in her only third movie after a stunning debut in Ghajini had a spirited performance and a charming chemistry with Salman Khan in the otherwise damp squib London Dreams. Here too she does pretty well, but the chemistry shared between Salman Khan and Asin is absolutely zilch. Veterans Manoj Joshi and Mahesh Majrekar make good fools out of themselves, and Sharat Saxena isn’t far behind. Arya Babbar looks stupid and acts worse, and the others exist as mere props. Now to the cameos! Kangna Ranaut is artificial. Arbaaz Khan is double artificial and Ajay Devgan looks pretty uncomfortable in his short role.
Honestly, this is a film that only hardcore Sallu fanatics will enjoy, the rest of you who think rationally will end up walking out of the theater with a headache. Sure, it’s masala. Sure, it’s formula entertainment. Sure, it’s got Salman Khan. But if you want masala, watch Sholay, Yaadon Ki Baaraat and Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin. Better still, watch the Dhoom franchise and Golmaal franchise. Watch Farah Khan’s Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om. And if it must be a Salman flick, watch his Wanted or Dabangg. Sadly Ready is masala entertainment at its worst!