It feels wrong to say that! The Hindi remake is always supposed to be the watered down less good version of the non-Hindi original. But watching this movie, I found myself missing the slight changes the put in to make it work better for the Hindi industry.
I watched Ready years ago, around the same time I watched Wanted. And then I saw Pokiri and suddenly Wanted came rushing back to me, and there were the things I liked, only done a lot better. And other additional things that they had pulled out or not done as well in the Hindi version. Watching the Telugu Ready it was mostly the reverse. The stuff I really liked, I remembered from the Hindi version. And then there was other stuff that I don’t remember, which I didn’t like as much.
(I even kind of missed this ridiculous, and ridiculousy catchy, song)
See, what I loved about the Hindi version is all the stuff about how our hero is just really not interested in love or marriage, and neither is the heroine. They kind of meet their match in each other, because they are both tricksters and liars and determined to go their own way. And they get to know each other for “real”, because they really don’t care about each other, they are just acting in their own self-interests.
Every “twist” in the film is about that, how the hero and heroine have one more level left to the game they are playing, a level that even the other doesn’t know about. And the delightful part of the film is how, rather than them learning to be serious and stop with the tricks, they teach everyone else the value of trickery and pull everyone into their scams by the end.
But, that’s the Hindi version. In the Telugu, not so much! There’s no selfishness and tricks, both of them are pretty decent people. Which is good in the abstract, but takes a lot of the bite from the film.
And there aren’t as many layers to it. I remember in the Hindi a couple of real jaw-dropping “Whoa! Did not see that coming!” moments, and here, although they were still technically in the plot, they just didn’t land as hard, didn’t feel like such a surprise.
Still a pleasant movie though! There were plenty of things I liked about it, and the family relationships worked even better in the Telugu version (because you could have actual cousins marrying, not just “friends like cousins”). Genelia and Ram were sweet together, very young, which isn’t a bad thing, although it did remove some of the bite from the film. I think maybe Genelia did a better job that Ram? I seem to remember her line delivery and expressions in certain scenes better than his.
But overall, well worth the $0 and 0 effort I had to put in to watch it (it started playing automatically on youtube when I looked up the final scene of Happy). And, to talk in more detail about what they changed and what they kept in the Hindi, now is the time for SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Both movies start the same way. There is a bride, a young man helps her escape from her wedding. But it’s a little confusing, because it also looks like maybe the young man is the groom? So why would he need to elope with her? And then he delivers her to a registry office, we see her sign her name, and the camera pans up to reveal someone else as the groom! He was eloping with the bride in order to help her marry someone else!
It’s a clever fun opening. Especially with the twist that his family is the bride’s family (in the Telugu, they are two cousins who are engaged, and in the Hindi they are the children of friends so close it is like they are cousins). So he is in trouble with his own family for helping the elopement.
But after that the two movies go in completely different directions. In the original, he just helped his cousin elope because he is “good”. That’s it, he wanted her to be happy so he helped her. BORING! But in the Hindi, there is this meta twist of all Salman’s relatives wanting him to finally get married (in the movie, not in real life. Don’t know what they think in real life). And he just plain doesn’t want to. This elopement is just part of a bigger issue in the family with him avoiding marriage.
In the Telugu, the elopement is the big break, he is sent back to college in disgrace with his family, and then randomly and unrelated ends up offering to help a friend with his elopement. Only, he goes to the wrong wedding hall and kidnaps the wrong bride!
That’s kind of a clever twist, but they don’t really go anywhere with it. I mean, it doesn’t become a running gag, or a thematic thing, it’s just their meet cute. In contrast with how it happens in the Hindi!
In the Hindi, Salman is never exiled, instead his family informs him that they have found a bride for him, he has to go to the airport to pick her up. He purposefully goes to the wrong gate and tries to miss her, but Asin, in full bridal outfit, is trying to escape some gundas and jumps on the chance to pretend to be the girl he is picking up. Salman sees through her, but the rest of his family doesn’t, and she ends up joining his household.
See, that’s clever! Salman is trying to avoid marriage, Asin is running away from marriage, they form a pact of mutual convenience allowing her to hide out in his home and him to use her to keep avoiding a real engagement.
It’s also simple, in the Telugu they take the long way around. There’s all of this back and forth with Genelia’s family discovering she is kidnapped and chasing after Ram’s group, and then Ram and Genelia getting separated from the rest so they can have cute Qayamet Se Qayamet Tak like time together in the forest, and then finally her discovering that her friend isn’t in town so she needs somewhere else to hide out while she waits for her passport, and only then does Ram introduce her to his household.
While in the Telugu they take the long way around to move the plot along, they take the short way on the relationship. Ram is in love with Genelia even before he kidnaps her, seeing her from the distance riding in a car. And then is delighted at the reveal of her face after they have bundled her into a van. Genelia is pretty clearly interested all along too. We don’t get a real “falling in love” moment with her, it just sort of seems to happen at some point. There is a nice moment about halfway in when Ram keeps wanting to show her a picture of that girl he told her about, the one in the car that he fell in love with, and she keeps putting him off, and then he finally shows her the photo, and of course it is her. That was cute!
But it’s the only moment of their romance I really remember. The accidental kidnapping was nice, the photo was nice, everything else was “eh” to me. In the Hindi remake, I remember a lot of moments of real spark when they two of them just sincerely got down and dirty in fighting with each other. It made it feel really satisfying when they finally did get together, not fated, but something the circumstances of the film had to work towards happening. And yet, also more fated in a way, because it was so hard to get together since they were matched in stubbornness, a sign that they were made for each other! In the Telugu, I didn’t get nearly as much of a sense that they two of them were just right together.
The romance being more interesting could have been a coincidence. Because Salman was in the film, he turned into an older character running from marriage instead of just a random young man. But the rest of the plot tightening and getting punchier, that was on purpose.
The big twist I remember going “whaaaa!” in the Hindi version was halfway through. We were introduced to Asin running from bad guys in full wedding dress through an airport. Which is a great visual, and also very mysterious. We know she is running from a marriage, but we don’t know who is trying to force her into it or why. And then she and Salman end up on the run together, after she’s spent all that time with his family, and clearly there are even more people after her. And finally, after a confrontation and she ends up going off with them, we learn that they are HER family! It’s not a gangster trying to force her into marriage, it’s her own relatives who are so scary and they are fighting over her because they both want so much to marry her into their families because they love her so much! She was never in any danger at all!
And in the Telugu, we kind of already know all this? I mean, we knew it was her family chasing her from the marriage hall, and the marriage to her maternal cousin isn’t really a surprise since that’s how it often is. There’s no mystery about who is chasing her and who they want her to marry, and then no big surprise when we find out.
And again, Asin and Salman are a matched set, both of them so beloved by their families that it causes fights over who gets to have them. In the Telugu, it is the opposite, both Genelia and Ram love their families, that’s what they have in common. But, firstly, that’s kind of dull, to have them love their families. And secondly, that’s not a very useful message, “love your families and try to make your parents/uncles/aunts happy”. I find it much more exciting to have the message of “love your kids and indulge them if they don’t want to get married until they are way way too old.”
The second half of both films is basically the same. Hero and Heroine are in love, Hero is now aware of the real situation of the heroine, that she is a pawn between her two feuding uncles, both of whom want her to marry into their family. Hero sends the heroine back to her uncle, but tells her he will come for her. Hero ingratiates himself with the accountant shared between the two uncles, and gets in with both households. Heroine acts the saintly obedient daughter to both households and follows all their commands, while hero tricks them into bending to his wishes.
But the really cool thing, which is in the Telugu and I loved it there just as much as in the Hindi, is that the hero’s family joins in the fun! His uncles and aunts come along to play the NRI millionaire characters necessary for the scam. And through a series of tricks, they eventually maneuver her uncles into deciding that the best solution is to marry their niece off to the accountant’s “nephew” (Salman).
Almost everything is the same in the second half, but somehow the feeling is different? In the Hindi, I felt like the heroine’s family really did love her and want whatever they thought was best for her. But in the Telugu, while sometimes it seemed like that, at other times it seemed like all they wanted was access to the money she inherited from her parents.
In the Hindi, it all builds to a reveal that all of Asin’s running from the wedding and trickery and all of this wasn’t just because she didn’t want to get married, but because she was trying to reunite her uncles. Which is cool for two reasons. First, that Asin’s planning and desires turn out to have been driving this whole thing! She’s not some pawn being passed between them after all, she is running the whole board! And second, that this was all about a more noble purpose than simply getting married, that Asin (a woman) has more concerns than just being in love and getting married.
But in the Telugu, I honestly thought it was going to end 15 minutes early. There is this big celebration dance after Genelia and Ram trick her family and get engaged, and I kind of thought the movie was over. They tricked her family, got married, that’s all anyone wanted!
And it kind of is all they wanted. The movie keeps going and there’s a big confrontation at the wedding, but instead of the heroine getting a chance to give a big speech about why she came and the purpose to all her actions, it just turns into a chance for the hero to have a big fight scene and to show up how he tricked her whole family.
Generally, comparing the two movies, I am just really surprised to discover that I find the Hindi one to be the one that took more risks, did more original things, and just general has more of a flavor to it. Who’s have thought!