Details: In Cinemas 31 August 2011, India,
Synopsis: A young man has a very strange habit: he adulates anyone with a trace of heroism. Whenever he develops an admiration towards a person, he prefers to move with that person as a sort of bodyguard.
Tough guys don't dance.
Within the first 10 minutes of Bodyguard there’s a lengthy dance sequence followed by an equally lengthy fight sequence. Both feature some spectacular choreography; but it’s the action scene that more closely resembles a kind of ballet. As bad guys get pummeled, punched, kicked and launched into space by the film’s titular hero, the bizarrely named Lovely (Asian mega-star Salman Khan), all logic, physics, and credible physical ability are obliterated in a spray of cinematic effects.
Actually, we’re prepared for all absurdities by this point; in a bit of curtain-raising fun, Lovely is travelling by train heading north (don’t ask) when he gets a call from his boss to head south, immediately, in order to save a container load of femmes in distress. So Lovely exits the fast moving train, swings out on some kind of cable and lands on the roof of a passing train, heading in the right direction. It’s very funny and this bit, just like the aforementioned fight scene, are great fun, but like much of what is good in the film, it seems to go on too long. Still, since this is a Bollywood picture, of the romantic/action kind, excess and extravagance play lead roles, so I’m not complaining exactly; it’s just that, of the few pictures in this genre of seen out of Bollywood, the best of them have a rhythm that builds and builds into a thrilling crescendo, where action and musical scenes (and romantic montages) are daringly attenuated, finally swelling into a great climax of emotion, or sentiment or a very big bang.
Bodyguard has some great visual ideas; there’s a bit where the bad guys send a toy helicopter, equipped with an in-board camera, to terrorise one character. But this scene, one of the movie’s best, just seems to deflate once Salman Khan enters, and starts beating up the bad guys (with whatever object seems to be lying around).
Apparently this is the third time director Siddique has made this story in just a couple of years; the other versions were in Malayalam and Tamil. This Hindi version looks pretty: it has an enormous amount of digital visual effects (some of which are spectacular, some of which are very ropey) and the visual gloss sparkles and shines, especially in the romantic moments. The plot is a tangle of sub-plots, with the whole thing told ultimately in flashback. The action exploits the standard tropes of romantic entanglement; hidden identities, secret love, forbidden love, love subordinated to duty…
The female romantic lead is Kareena Kapoor who plays Divya; she looks great, has a feel for comedy and dances with a mix of sexiness and innocence that’s as exciting as it is bewildering.
Lovely is assigned the task of being Divya’s bodyguard, after her father and Lovely’s master, Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar), packs her off to college. It’s here the movie switches from being an action pic to a comedy of undergrad hijinks. Irritated by Lovely’s presence, Divya invents a prank caller who ‘falls’ for Lovely. Much romantic intrigue follows.
Bodyguard got mixed reviews at home; much of the bile was directed at forty-something Khan for his “vanity” acting. Indeed, almost all of the action scenes contrive to have him stripped to the waist, revealing his bulk and rippling muscles. In one bit, a blast of water rips the shirt off his back. I thought it was funny and ironic. But then I could be wrong.
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