Siddiqui, the director of the soon-to-release Bodyguard raves about his leading man Salman Khan. Shrugging off rumours about ‘interference’ from the star, the writer-director says, “Coming from down South to direct my first Bollywood film with superstars, Salman and Kareena (Kapoor), I was naturally apprehensive and tense. But Salman has been very supportive. He has a good sense of story and music, and has been actively involved with both departments. We worked well together to ensure that we kept the Eid deadline. I can promise you that Salman will stand out not just as a macho hero but as a performer too.”
Siddiqui who credits the many cult hits in his 25-year career to “apt casting and accommodating producers”, insists that no other Bollywood actor could have carried off this role. “Salman is my bodyguard,” he asserts, admitting that he’d now like to remake his 2003 Malayalam superhit, Chronic Bachelor, with him. “Salman who is a happy-go-lucky bachelor himself would be a perfect fit. I really enjoyed working with him because he’s always jovial on the sets and gives no stress. And his innocent good looks are a plus, the man’s so handsome!”
Four of Siddiqui’s films have been remade in Hindi by Priyadarshan, including Ramoji Rao Speaking (Hera Pheri, 2000), Godfather (Hulchul, 2004), Mannar Mathai (Bhagam Bhaag, 2006), Harihar Nagar (Dhol, 2007). Bodyguard is the first film that he is remaking himself in Hindi and he admits that he’d like to continue his stint in Bollywood.
“Here you get more time and funds to execute your dreams. The Hindi Bodyguard is different from the Malayam one or even the Tamil remake, Kaavalan (2011). The basic story remains the same but everything else has changed. It’s a far more lavish for one. Perhaps that’s the reason I’m not bored working on another Bodyguard,” he laughs.
The film is also being remade in Telugu as Ganga and Siddiqui points out that each version has a different heroine. “It was Nayantara in the original, Asin in the Tamil remake, Kareena in the Hindi Bodygiard and Trisha in the Telugu version. As a writer-director I’m happy the character has been enacted by the best of actors,” he says, admitting that after Wanted (2009) and Dabanng (2010), everyone expecting a hat-trick from Salman this Eid. “We’re praying for the same and hoping God will reward our hard work.”