|Salman Khan, Asin, Arya Babbar, Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar|
This is a genre that Salman Khan’s stardom has come to be identified by. Interestingly, these films (Wanted, Dabangg, Ready) share more than just the comic thread. In all these films, Salman is playing the antihero. He killed mercilessly through most of Wanted, was a bribe-happy cop in Dabangg and is a sly smooth operator in Ready. But in all these films, he’s infallible. It’s no coincidence that in a scene in Ready, he’s strutting around in a T-shirt that says `Superman’ .
This time he’s a nice guy but a bum. His “hum saath-saath hain” family comprising assorted chachas and chachis wants to get him married. A case of mistaken identity lands Asin into their home as the prospective bride. The family loves her – “she cooks so well, and sings well too”, they exclaim. But eventually, Prem (Salman) and his family discover the truth – that she’s a runaway bride escaping a forced marriage.
While the first half of the film has some zing as we’re placing characters and anticipating what’ll happen, the second half is a downer. There’s even the ancient party fight scene, in an attempt for laughs.
The film has sparse funny moments. Paresh Rawal is fabulous, bringing in the most laughs with his nuanced comical act. Mahesh Majrekar whose character is always fumbling for the right word is a typical Bazmee character. Director Anees Bazmee (Thank You, Welcome, No Entry) keeps the terrain familiar, in tune with his earlier films.
There are portions insinuated for effect. This, one assumes, is for the female viewers---a character is advising another to treat his wife well. “Women have very limited lives, beginning and ending with the husband. So the husband should take care of his wife.” Oh well.
The film is unabashedly Salman-centric. He’s doing it all: the wise-cracks, gregarious dancing, beating the bad guys, and romancing the girl. All this with his characteristic drawl and swagger. Fans of Salman are likely to be happy even with this rehashed version of a typical Salman film.
In the press screening this writer attended, children from an NGO were also seated and were given whistles. Undoubtedly, the kids enjoyed the songs Dhinka Chika and Character Dheela. But there are portions in the film that are inappropriate for kids, hints at dowry-practice, plus swear-words, and suggestive lyrics. That’s true of many mainstream films these days. Which film is appropriate for children—does anyone know/ care anymore?
One wouldn’t recommend this film for kids. For the grown-ups, the film proves to be a strictly average entertainer. As for the hero’s fans, I guess they’ll be seeing the film anyway!
Verdict: Two and a half stars