The story of Dhenikaina Ready is as old as the hills. The film doesn’t have too many surprise elements and it’s not a game changer. It’s one of those mindless comedies you can watch while munching popcorn. Caution: In a few scenes you’ll end up laughing so much that you might choke on your popcorn. Marudhuri Raja (dialogues) and screenplay writers B.V.S. Ravi, Kona Venkat and Gopimohan have worked on the premise of the original Malayalam film, Udayapuram Sultan (1999), and adapted it well to suit the Telugu audience.

Dhenikaina Ready opens with a tense court scene where two groups — led by Basha (Suman) and Veera Narasimha Naidu (Prabhu) — arrive to hear a judgement in a case that’s dragged on for 25 years. The court orders Veera Narasimha Naidu to give half of his property to his sister Saraswati (Sita), wife of Basha. We learn that Saraswati eloped and married Basha against the wishes of her brother and Narasimha Naidu chopped Basha’s right leg in the fight that followed. The rivalry worsens after the judgement and dashes Saraswati’s hopes of seeing both families unite.

Suleiman (Vishnu) wants to fulfil his mother’s wish and waits for an opportunity. Meanwhile, Narasimha Naidu’s family astrologer (M.S. Narayana) suggests they perform a yagam to ward off evils due to planetary positions. Bangar Raju (Brahmanandam) promises to bring in a better astrologer. He mistakes Suleiman for Krishna Sastry; Suleiman jumps at the chance to enter Narasimha Naidu’s house. Suleiman ropes in a group of real purohits, gets to know Naidu’s family and falls for Naidu’s daughter Hansika. Bangar Raju learns the truth about Suleiman but is too scared to spill the beans for fear of facing Naidu’s wrath.

The story takes time to gather steam in the first half. But slowly, the screenplay ties up a few knots and introduces new characters, each one struggling to either reveal or hide the real identity of Krishna Sastry. The hero with an agenda doesn’t flinch before revealing his cunning side. All it takes is a few phone calls for him to keep the supporting characters in confusion. In some of the crucial scenes where one is used to seeing long drawn stunt sequences and bloodshed, it’s a huge relief to see quirky comic twists.

Vishnu keeps his histrionics simple, goes with the flow of the screenplay and lets Brahmanandam take centrestage in some places. Together, they keep you laughing through the film. Vishnu’s dialogue delivery is apt as he shifts from the role of Suleiman to Krishna Sastry and vice versa. Hansika doesn’t have much to do. Prabhu, Suman, Sita and Kota Srinivasa Rao sail through effortlessly. The mammoth Gandharva Mahal of Ukodathara Uliki Padathara returns in this film. Chakri’s music and one song by Yuvan Shankar Raja are foot tapping but the placement of the songs hamper the narrative at times.

Dhenikaina Ready is not a crafty, intelligent comedy. But the lack of double entendres is a relief, making it a clean watch for the family audience. Also, dealing with a story where the protagonist assumes Muslim and Hindu identities is like walking on razor’s edge. The screenplay writers and director Nageswara Reddy manage to pull it off without hurting religious sentiments.

Cast: Vishnu Manchu, Brahmanandam, Hansika and Prabhu

Direction: G. Nageswara Reddy

Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja

Plot: Sulaiman turns Krishna Sastry to unite two warring families.

Bottomline: An entertaining laugh riot.