Since its release has already broken UK and worldwide records in only a couple of days. Nearly reaching 250 000 GBP in UK alone which is huge for a Bollywood movie. These are thursday figures and the movie is set to become one of the biggest hits ever!
(As usual this is an adapted review from the one posted on Upodcast)
Bodyguard is the story of Lovely Singh (Salman Khan) a trusted and loyal bodyguard that gets hired by Sartaj Rana (Raj babbar) – one of those dhoti wearing rich dudes with a moustache- to protect his college going daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Divya feels her style is getting cramped by having a bodyguard shadowing her in college, so she decides to prank call Lovely Singh pretending to be a girl named Chayya to distract him by making him believe she is in love with him… This is a Hindi film so do I need to spell out what happens next?
(For those that have never watched a Hindi Film, Divya will fall in love with Lovely and Lovely will fall in love with Chayya. There will be singing and dancing and lots of awesome fisticuffs with villains, but wait there is a twist!)
It’s never great to start a review by talking about another movie but I have to admit as a Salman Khan fan, watching his previous release Ready, which set a historical record at the Box Office, was a torture that still gives me pant shitting nightmares every time I hear the annoying whistle from Dhinka Chikka, its main promotional song. But it was a huge hit so I guess it only shows how much out of touch I can be with the taste of mainstream audiences. (I didn’t like Transformers 3 either). So to put it mildly I was reticent of watching Bodyguard after seeing the first trailer.
I felt it was an easy cash earner riding on the popularity of Salman after his previous hits, the soundtrack wasn’t really exciting me either (soundtracks being a key ingredient in the promotion of a Hindi movie). Another thing Ready proved was that Salman’s movies were becoming critic proof, and no matter the shoddy direction or egregious plot, the shirt removal scenes would have the audiences in raptures. It’s back in vogue to be a Salman Khan fan and more power to him. He’s had a couple of rough years pre-Wanted.
Bodyguard is tailor made to be a massive hit. The timing is perfect, the marketing has been ramping up (of which you have seen a lot on Upodcast, truth be told) and they have created a lot of buzz in a short span of time (Bodyguard started shooting in January if I‘m not mistaken). It mixes everything we want as a time pass movie in measured doses. First half is comedy and a hint of a love story. The 2nd half ramps up the action and emotions. The songs are placed with precision engineering and more than anything this movie is produced by an ace team.
Performances are what are to be expected from stars of this caliber. Glad to see that this will finally be a hit for this pair after the underappreciated Kyon Ki (an adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the movie) and the unmitigated disaster that was Main Aur Mrs Khanna (an adaptation of dysenteria, the illness).
Salman is playing Super Star Salman as he usually does. He’s a lot more subdued than his previous roles playing a dutiful Bodyguard but the moments he needs to switch up with some classic Michael Jackson moves and charm the audience, he does so faultlessly. He’s become a master at giving the audience what they need. Also can we have every movie of his start with a warehouse fight? (This one was particularly brilliant)
The money and effort spent Kareena’s look and wardrobe is staggering and she looks luminescent on screen in every frame. (We might still be a bit besotted by meeting her last week and her podcast with us). Compared to Kaajal Agarwal in Singham (The previous South Indian remake) who was also dressed in the ethnic look, you can understand what sets Kareena apart from anyone else and why she is in the position she is. Above all that she has really developed into a fine actress, even in a movie like this which is pretty light, the moments she needs to emote with her tear filled eyes, she does so with aplomb. She gets an introductory montage in the movie which makes you forget for a moment that you are watching a movie and if she would turn around and sell us a brand of shampoo or face cream, I am sure the audience would have run out and bought that product straight away. (She doesn’t do so although there is quite a bit of overt product placement throughout the movie). I’m not entirely sure she can still pull off the role of a college girl but I am sure people show me the “Amir Khan in 3 Idiots” card as soon as they have finished reading this sentence, so it becomes a moot point.
The action scenes designed by Vijayan (who worked with Salman in Wanted and Dabanng) are amazing, probably the best we will see all year in a Hindi movie. They take the no-holds barred mix martial arts approach from the climax of Dabanng and add more wire work to it. Whereas the wire work in Singham (apologies for harping on about Singham, maybe check out our full review for our thoughts) made the action seem weightless and cartoonish at times. The fights in Bodyguard feel more grounded as they are aided by well used freeze frames and bullet time. The final fight scene with Aditya Pancholi (why don’t we see more of him, he was truly menacing in Dum Maaro Dum) is breathtaking, and even if the villains are only punching bags for Salman in this movie, they do a pretty good job.
But all this is a success of the production team but a movie needs a few more elements like a tight or at least logical screenplay, clap worthy dialogues and competent directing and that is where bodyguard starts to falter.
Director Siddique has written and directed this movie 3 times (In Tamil as Kaavalan, in Malayalam as Bodyguard and now again in Hindi) now but he is still not skilled at telling the story and he seems to have no idea what the job description of bodyguard actually is. In Siddique’s warped mind a bodyguard is an amalgam of a special ops commando, a personal trainer and a nanny. Apparently a bodyguard needs to attract as much attention as possible and can also not sit next to his master.
He fills in the first half of the movie with an asinine comedy track with overweight side kick (something that seems to happen quite a bit when importing movies from the south- see Wanted and Singham). The overweight girl from “I H8 Luv Stories” is somewhere on the background and only around so the midget (dwarf, little person, I don’t want to piss off any karate proficient little people) can make some fat jokes. Apparently these jokes benefit from the rapid fire repartee of South Indian cadence, I don’t think I would find them funny in anyway shape or form.
The love story until the interval is pretty juvenile and if it wasn’t for the charming performance of the stars, it would be ridiculous. Why do remakes of South Indian movies make their female characters act only a couple of levels above the retardation line is a mystery to me? (I’m sure their moms had to get involved to get them just over that line like Mama Gump did)
I want to talk about the ending of the movie in the spoiler section but only read it if you have seen the movie already in one of its previous avatars or don’t care enough about it not to have it spoilt. But Siddique reminded me of Puri Jagganath director of Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap. Another director who overstretches his skills and his movie was only successful through the weight that the actors brought in. At least Puri made an orginal movie. Siddique has done this 3 times now and if it wasn’t for a strong action director, camera man and production team, he would not have been able to deliver.
Clearly not every South Indian director is Prabhu Deva.
For whoever is keeping final score for Bodyguard:
Dabanng ? Wanted > Bodyguard > Ready > Suryavanshi
OR [Rating:3.5/5] (if you’re a Salman Khan fan)
Spoiler Section: (Really, do not read before watching the movie)
- There is unnecessarily convoluted twist at the end of the movie which is an example of the ineptitude of the writing. Not only does it just seem to give us the same result we were going to get 15 min earlier but it does so using one of the most thankless characters in the entire movie. This could very well be a prequel to Kuch Kuch Hota hai. It really sucks and annoyed me to no end. (oh I was really evil, and I now have this ailment that the writer doesn’t even take the time to name and could you please not tell your daddy I was evil oh bespectacled son)
- I also wonder why did no one get any older? We don’t need them to pull a Veer Zaara but you could add some wrinkles or at least dress people differently, it seemed the scenes were just shot 2 days later but a 7 year old kid had suddenly appeared out of the blue.
- The entire phone plot made me miss Karisma Kapoor so much. I hope she comes back soon and if we pray really hard maybe she will do a movie with Salman Khan again. I don’t think there was ever an actress he seemed more comfortable with or just had fun with and it showed on screen. It’s a shame because to think that way though as Bebo looks so pretty but did anyone else feel she was channeling a bit of Lolo on those phone scenes?
Let us know if you will be catching Bodyguard in theaters in the comment section below!
And of course head over to Upodcast for Podcast on Dabanng, Bbudah Hoga Tera Baap and reviews, trailer breakdowns for Singham, Kaakha Kaakha and it’s forthcoming Hindi Remake Force.
Here is the trailer if you still aren’t convinced! Bodyguard is now in a theater near you!