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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Mayank Shekhar's review: Bodyguard

Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times   August 31, 2011
First Published: 21:59 IST(31/8/2011) | Last Updated: 16:00 IST(3/9/2011)

Bodyguard
Director: Siddique
Actors: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor
Rating: *1/2

Water gushes out of a hosepipe, strikes at his tight black shirt. This is the climax sequence. You know what'll happen. The shirt starts tearing off from the buttons, finally comes off, flies straight into the villain's face.

Half naked, middle-aged hero, knee deep in water, flexes his bulging biceps, shows off a shaved, sculpted chest, near-perfect abs, before bashing the hell out of that villain, and his tired army. This is what old-timers in Bollywood would call the "highlight". You've already seen bits of it. The scene inevitably makes it to the trailers.

So does the dialogue, which is the film's hook, line and sinker. Everything. It gets repeated quite a few times through those couple of hours. The one here goes, as you'd know: "Mujhpar ek ehsaan karna. Ki mujhpar koi ehsaan na karna  (Do me just one favour: do me no favour!)."

The third inevitable sell is the movie's soundtrack, starting with, ideally a Bhangra number (Mika's Desi Beat here). The second must be a song so high on note and melody, the nasal voice sedates you into brooding over a loved one, real or imagined (Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's Teri Meri, in this case). The final track the movie cuts to the chase with, right away, is the 'item' number, with promise of audiences' hoots and whistles for an eventual background score. Guest star Katrina Kaif dances to this song (Aa Gaya Hai Bodyguard).

These are primarily the reasons half of North India's bums would be on cinema seats to catch this super Khan blockbuster, the Eid release of this year. Rs. 22 crore have been spent on promotions alone. The formula is known. Of course. Yet, the results probably won't show if you solely took the inexplicable Salman Khan out of the simple equation.

Once in a while tribal audiences bestow upon their marquee's monarch the rare right to do no wrong. Doesn't matter what he does. It'll sell. You don't question logic. I won't. It's happened before to the likes of Rajendra Kumar in the '60s, Rajesh Khanna briefly thereafter, Akshay Kumar more recently, etc. It may be a short-lived phase. Fatigue inevitably sets in. It does in this movie itself. Yet. At this point, Salman is the one guarded, protected against the box-office (Wanted, Dabanng, Ready). Reliance, the company that's backed this movie, knows this. Blackberry likewise gets to peddle its phones, Tata its Nano car. That's effectively the story behind the making of this film.

As for the movie itself, what do you want to know? Stiff face. Eyes puffed up under dark glasses. Legs wide apart while walking. Arms that swing on either side, as if separately attached to shoulders. Tight shirt. Tight pants. That's Lovely Singh. Who plays Salman Khan.

He's a bodyguard. Whose job is to protect a college girl (Kareena Kapoor). Goons are after this zamindar's daughter. Lovely gets to break some bones. Heroine leads the fashion parade -- daily ready-to-wear ethnic line, mainly Pathani suits, white loose pajamas – place your order, gigglies. That's pretty much it. But then again, since you asked: So, how's it? Whatever. To be fair. That's what it was supposed to be.

Until rich girl falls for poor boy. And you suddenly figure, in the ingredients of the masala, this is much less of an action flick. For more parts, it's sappy romantic pap. I haven't seen either the movie in Tamil (Vijay's Kaavalan, 2011) or Malayalam (Rajkiran's Bodyguard, 2010) that this is a remake of. They couldn't have been too different. You can tell. At least the aesthetics would've been absolutely the same. The director is.

Here's what this film's super-star should do next. Pick up, remake every regional blockbuster of Rajnikanth's from the recent past. That's what super-hero, cartoon character Salman is to the Hindi audiences by now: Rajnikanth for the excitable North. I don't merely mean this for their films' genre. Try uttering a word against either on the Internet. You'll get suitably acquainted with the fatal consequences of sheer blasphemy. I know, I will, it's scary. Bodyguard, please? Thank you.

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