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Film Review: Bodyguard

Film Review: Bodyguard

August 31, 2011

Yet another South Indian-inspired masala film, but this one crashes fast.



Just when we were beginning to admire the progress in narratives, style and technique in recent Hindi cinema, there comes along a sucker punch like Bodyguard to push us backwards several steps. South Indian director Siddique holds the distinction of making the same film four times. When his original Malayali film of the same name became a massive hit, Siddique then decided to remake it in Tamil as Kaavalan, in Hindi as Bodyguard, and the upcoming Telugu version titled Ganga. While the Malayalam and Tamil versions garnered significant box office and critical success, the Hindi remake - starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor - is an exercise in redundancy. Bodyguard tries to build on the current resurgence of the full on masala film that has been doing surprisingly well lately. But it ends up simply as an exhausting experience, offering painfully little by way of entertainment, plot or performances. Or anything else you might expect from a film.

For a film that has the biggest of India's film factories clamoring  for remake rights, you would naturally go in expecting some sort of novel experience and plot. But the story is predictable from the start and resorts to every possible stereotype and plot device that has been used umpteen times. There's a fearless (and feared) one-man juggernaut, Lovely Singh (Salman Khan), who beats up evil goons for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then there's an omnipotent wealthy man Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar) whose daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor) faces some sort of vague danger. We are never told why. But this seems enough for the scared father to call in the brawny nice guy to look after his little girl as she moves to college.

In a bid to loosen up the robotically loyal bodyguard, Divya begins prank-calling him pretending to be a long lost girlfriend. Surely enough, the prank backfires and Divya falls for her bodyguard, while he falls for the non-existent girlfriend he's been speaking to on the phone. And a gimmicky move to use Karisma Kapoor's voice for Divya's alter-ego on the phone oddly results in the older Kapoor sister having more interesting speaking parts than the actual female lead in the film, Kareena.

Such seemingly hasty moves define Bodyguard as it unravels, one dud slapstick joke after another. The film also checks off every cringeworthy stereotype in what becomes a desperate move to evoke laughter. At any cost. There's an obese sidekick named Tsunami Singh who grunts, makes weird noises and is a bumbling, overacting fool. A dwarf character is thrown in just so Lovely Singh can make some flat jokes about a "half human" who needs to drink Complan. And when a flamboyantly gay man (wearing all pink) flirts with the hero, he gets scared and avoids any sort of contact as if a mere touch would bring on the "gay disease."

To his credit, Siddique employs some of the requisite elements of a masala film. Khan's introduction - grand song sequence, silly-cool dance moves and an afterthought appearance by Katrina Kaif - is engineered for mass appeal. The fight sequences are creative, to say the least, and the anticipated climax scene where Khan must inevitably lose his shirt as he readies for one last smack down is actually funny in its outlandishness. However, the film suffers overall from bad dialogues, a sorely punctured script, and half-hearted performances.

Khan tries hard to revisit his Chulbul Pandey of Dabanng but fails to do much in Bodyguard. His expressions and dialogue delivery both remain monotone throughout. There are a few moments when he successfully moves beyond his usual range of histrionics; for example, the scene where he is nervous about meeting his telephonic girlfriend in person is suitably executed. But for the most part, Khan hardly moves his lips to mouth the dialogues and then resorts to overacting when a scene demands some level of intensity.

Kapoor, while she looks radiant, offers shockingly little in terms of substance. Perhaps more at fault is the writing, which makes her an incredibly mundane character that could have been played by absolutely anyone. Yes, a masala film heroine is usually a mere trophy, but even Sonakshi Sinha had depth in Dabanng. Here, the be all and end all of the Divya character is Lovely Singh. She is first angry with him, then she teases him, then plays a prank, then falls in love with him. She has no other purpose in her life besides doing something related to Lovely.

The villains - special appearances by Mahesh Manjrekar and Aditya Pancholi - seem unnecessary since we never know exactly what they want or what their motives are. The songs aren't exciting enough and are forcefully inserted without much regard to the plot or visual themes.

With Bodyguard, Khan hopes to continue his winning streak at delivering successful masala films after Wanted, Dabanng and Ready. However, this film by Siddique goes wrong in numerous places, most of all in the script. The best dramatic point in the film only comes at the end, which is when the film finally begins to get interesting. If only the same innovative dramatic streaks ran throughout the film, Bodyguard would have veered away from becoming the bumbling, unfunny and bland film that it is. This bodyguard won't save anyone! 

25 Comments

  • vivek
    By
    vivek
    26.11.11 12:38 AM
    This is a dumb movie,you'll sleep as the movie proceeds . i woke up only once during the interval , movie sucks
  • akshay
    By
    akshay
    06.11.11 05:21 PM
    Brilliant Review! Exactly what I was thinking. The audience seriously has to put aside any sense of reality when going in to watch such paper thin characters. We had seen so many promising things from the other Khan's in the industry (especially aamir)that this seems insulting to our intelligence. The film did well in the box office, but will remain a smudge in bollywood history...
  • sandeepkoivila
    By
    sandeepkoivila
    06.11.11 03:09 PM
    as you saying this movie was not a massive hit in kerala.it was just done an avg business and criticized as director's worst movie.while tamil it done much better business.
  • sanjia86
    By
    sanjia86
    26.10.11 07:39 AM
    i like it.
  • Deepak Shakywar
    By
    Deepak Shakywar
    14.10.11 06:43 AM
    plz put some chenky picks
  • ibrahim khalil
    By
    ibrahim khalil
    30.09.11 03:09 PM
    very good movie yarr sallu mian smart body
  • Ashneel
    By
    Ashneel
    27.09.11 04:07 PM
    The review is 100% accurate. a stupid film and rock bottom for indian cinema
  • Jimmy
    By
    Jimmy
    23.09.11 02:14 AM
    I'm totally impressed by the songs of the movie.. haven't seen it yet. hope
    it won't be very much usual like many other hindi movies.. good luck
  • Haroon akbar
    By
    Haroon akbar
    17.09.11 12:30 PM
    good fillm of body gurd but very very beauitful i like salo s
  • sameer
    By
    sameer
    13.09.11 11:35 PM
    which mobile phone used by kareena kapoor in bodyguard movie
  • Tina
    By
    Tina
    10.09.11 04:40 AM
    Loving the review Pulkit- I'm glad there are 'sane' Indians out there who can tell a good movie from a complete lousy one! It's so upsetting how this is the kind of material that really 'sells' to the Indian audience whilst other movies that truly deserve an accolade go unnoticed by many.
  • pintu vaishnav
    By
    pintu vaishnav
    08.09.11 10:51 AM
    nice muvie yaar
  • pintu vaishnav
    By
    pintu vaishnav
    08.09.11 10:49 AM
    sallu yaar tu apni mem sab ek rat ke liye mujhe doge kya
  • Sourabh
    By
    Sourabh
    06.09.11 11:46 PM
    Your review speaks your forte, which certainly amounts to lot of the time you undoubtedly spend on research of films and alike.

    Nonetheless your review speaks great volume about your ability to very aptly tear apart the movie, which you had a problem comprehending. Rather than taking away a positive from a movie you very cleverly add the internet spice to it through your post and comments.

    I must truly commend your seriousness in taking your style of film making as a pivotal stream of understanding simple films.

    However, I assume the film has done extremely well and keeping aside the perspicacity of your tone, Good luck to you in your future ventures Pulkit.
  • Pulkit
    By
    Pulkit
    06.09.11 06:51 PM
    @Priya: Thanks for the comment. You made the same point that I did - the ending of the film is when it finally gets interesting. However, for me, it just didn't make up for the rest of the film. The ending is not where a film should find its feet.

    It's perfectly fine that we both had different reactions to it. I'm glad you found it entertaining and, going by the box office collections, it seems like a lot of other people did too. I, for one, lost interest quickly for all the reasons stated in the review. :-)
  • Pulkit
    By
    Pulkit
    06.09.11 06:43 PM
    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Glad to see such a variety of opinions.
  • Priya
    By
    Priya
    06.09.11 06:40 AM
    I beg to differ. I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to everyone. Granted there were outlandish jokes and the side-kick wasn't funny in the least bit, but the ending more than made up for it. This article wrongly trashes the movie...and quite frankly, I haven't seen much "progress in narratives, style and technique in recent Hindi cinema"! This is too strong of an article. Chill out, dude! :)
  • ashu
    By
    ashu
    05.09.11 09:41 PM
    which mobile phone used by kareena kapoor in bodyguard movie
  • kavita@bollywood Lyrics
    By
    kavita@bollywood Lyrics
    05.09.11 07:25 PM
    the movie is not upto the mark but it's songs are quite good. kareena is looking cool in the movie
  • Rocksallurock
    By
    Rocksallurock
    04.09.11 12:04 AM
    Im such a big fan of salman but film very dissapointing he marries frnd they hv a kid so dumb very dissapointed ruined my eid wasnt even funny
  • salman
    By
    salman
    03.09.11 01:12 PM
    bhai sorry mujhe to ye shuail khan nai kha thaa or sharukh khan nai
  • salman
    By
    salman
    03.09.11 01:09 PM
    mera naam sunny hai aa jayeo saale main bhi tujhse kum nahi hu or haa wo meri hai sirf meri matlab kareena teri bhabi or ye mut samajh yo ke teri movie ka daylog hai saale kabhi apne demag say bhi kaam keya hai apne life main bhenchod kabhi to overacting to chod or hit o jayga teri old age ke kasaam
  • salman
    By
    salman
    03.09.11 01:07 PM
    saale sallu bhabi ke sath picture bananta hai
    main kreena ka fan hu bhudday aaram kr le ghar main ab teri umar gayi saale overacting ke god
  • sujatha sathya
    By
    sujatha sathya
    02.09.11 10:51 AM
    true true true cent percent
  • Muzammil Shaikh
    By
    Muzammil Shaikh
    02.09.11 12:26 AM
    bodyguard is ultimate movie.. A perfect movie
    which everybody want 2 see.. Really enjoyed..
    Great movie salman.. Love 2 see again n
    again.. I'll hope ur upcoming will also jhakkaas. . .

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