The ApunKaChoice movie review of Bodyguard. Very very rarely in an industry comes a star that goes on to become a phenomenon and acquire the status of a demigod. Salman Khan is up there today. Everything he does -- be it standing stiff like a mannequin or bashing up a bunch of shabby beefcakes -- is met with transfixed adulation by his fans. Eyes popped out and jaws dropped. And when Salman takes off his shirt and flaunts those six-packs he laboriously built up in his air conditioned gym, the ladies could be spotted licking their chops and the guys breaking into wolf whistles. A mania, a wave of madness permeates the auditorium when a seething Salman Khan shoots off crunchy oneliners like “Mujhpe koi ehsaan na karna” in between his bone-breaking spree. His latest release Bodyguard, directed by Siddique, panders to this very Salmania.
So unflagging is the love of Salman’s fans that even the essentials of filmmaking -- like a well-written script, a tight screenplay and skilful direction -- seem futile, at least to the creative team of the film. The formula for a Salman hit is cast in the die. Just give Salman a good entrance, turn him into a one-man-army bashing up scores and scores of baddies, punch in a few dialogues, throw in a romantic angle, sprinkle it with a few mushy songs, make Salman dance, romance, strip, and voila! you have a money-minting blockbuster on your hands. And a BLOCKBUSTER Bodyguard is sure gonna be.
So bring on the garlands, set up the aarti, and anoint the demigod. To call Salman Khan the Rajinikanth of Bollywood would be unfair, for there’s none like him. Salman is...just SALMAN.
The story isn’t important as long as the camera lingers on Khan who plays the unflinchingly loyal bodyguard Lovely Singh assigned the duty to guard Divya (Kareena Kapoor), the lovely daughter of an influential Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar) whom Lovely all but worships. Sartaj fears that his avowed enemies (Mahesh Manjrekar and Aditya Pancholi) would do anything to harm Divya.
Lovely sticks by Divya and her friend Maya (Hazel Keech) like a shadow, following them to the college campus, classrooms and even to the ladies toilet. To get the overbearing Lovely off her back, Divya hatches a plot to keep him distracted. She becomes an anonymous caller who professes her love to Lovely. Soon, the plain and simple bodyguard is in love with this caller, not knowing that she is Divya. The confusion lingers so long that by the time it clears up in an emotional climax, Lovely already has a kid from another woman. So is this a love story with a sad end?
A remake of the Malayalam film of the same title, Bodyguard keeps zigzagging between being a rom-com and an actioner. While Salman is the dynamo that powers Bodyguard from frame one to the end credits, an oversized Rajat Rawail almost succeeds in scuppering the film with his horrible comedy. In a scene he even shows off his flab, hanging looser than the film’s script. Kareena Kapoor doesn’t have much to do except talk to a phone or shed crocodile tears. Raj Babbar has a towering presence and Hazel Keech is a breath of freshness you want to inhale more and more.
To sum it up, Bodyguard is tailor-made for those who hero-worship Salman. Don’t go looking for story, substance, or subtleties and chances are that you will get soaked in Salmania raging around you in the theatre. It’s a film with a lot of flaws, but when Salman is on song, who cares?