Why ‘Ready Steady No’ will go down in history as a game changer
Pakistani romantic comedies may have done well at the box office but many families still stay away from the cinemas because of the kind of humor we promote in our films.
Cheap, below the belt and something a person would laugh at, in the presence of his family. Hisham Bin Munawar’s Ready Steady No breaks that tradition and delivers a clean comedy where people laugh on situations, more than dialogues; where they move around with the characters, not actors and where intelligence takes over bland jokes to give you a flick that might go down as a game-changer.
Actors playing characters, not being themselves
For once we have a film where new and upcoming actors are given the central roles. Instead of casting a senior actor in the role of a moulvi, a seasoned comedian as the blundering lawyer, a veteran actor as the detective and some experienced film actress as the mother of the leading man, the director went for untried and untested actors. That way, the audience related to these characters more than the actors portraying them, and that’s a plus in my book.
Amna Ilyas looks the part of a naïve runaway bride
Fresh from the success of Baaji, Amna Ilyas delivers another wonderful performance in Ready Steady No. She plays a runaway bride who has no idea why she is running way; who doesn’t want to marry his cousin but also wants her father’s approval and who looks stunning despite not being heavily made up or wearing designer clothes.
She is the new girl-next-door of Pakistani films and the more we see her in films, the better. She can dance, she can act and even look good in a frame where she doesn’t have much to do. That’s the kind of leading lady I would love to watch any day over those who try so hard that they go overboard.
The film is full of surprises
The biggest surprise of the film is neither the debut of the leading man Faisal Saif nor the veteran actors Salman Shahid and Nargis Rasheed’s performance; it is the performance of the supporting cast. The first half belongs to Muneer Ahmed who is also the line producer of the film. His Muneer Se Kuch Nahi Bach Sakta followed by a sinister laugh keeps you entertained in the scenes before the interval; post-interval it is Zain Afzal’s stammering moulvi and Marhoom Ahmed Bilal’s bungling lawyer who steal the show.
Be it the consequences that lead the runaway bride and her team to different parts of Lahore or the brilliant catching of utensils at the climax, moulvi and the lawyer keep the audience’s interest alive. Yes, Faisal Saif looked good in patches but being this is his first film, he will only go up from what we have seen here.
Hisham Bin Munawar does a Shoaib Mansoor!
There is a shot of multiple clocks on the wall of a hotel; they all show the same time as instead of depicting the world countries, it depict the different areas of Lahore. It is shot like these that will make you appreciate the director because he has made his lack of budget his strength; something people must learn from him.
Through Ready Steady No, first-time filmmaker Hisham Bin Munawar made his idol Shoaib Mansoor proud. He produced, directed, wrote the script, penned the lyrics and composed the songs like ShoMan but went a step further by singing one of the numbers as well. The songs Dekho Dekho, Nachee Ja, and others are not just only good romantic or foot-tapping numbers but the lyrics are as well, and they complement the story instead of pushing the narrative aside.
It makes your belief stronger in clean comedy!
A Pakistani comedy film without a joke that is below the belt, that doesn’t include vulgar gestures, that doesn’t ridicule a person’s body part or insults a family member … that’s quite hard to believe. Ready Steady No makes the audience laugh but without doing anything that many recent films have done. Whatever curse words that have been used here, it is according to the character and the situation.
Otherwise, there is nothing bad about the script except that it gets wayward in the second half, and loses the pace towards the climax. The Telefilm treatment (less long shots, lengthy scenes, etc.) might irk some viewers but on the whole, it is a step in the right direction for Pakistani films.