September
2011

Vol. 11 - No. 3


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ENTERTAINMENT


 

The Lead Actors

Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor

Kareena (right) and Hazel Keech
in college library

Bodyguard: Love Story with a Twist

BY RAJ S. RANGARAJAN

Right off the bat in the opening scene, we see Lovely Singh, that’s his name (Salman Khan) pound the “bad” guys. One speculates: perhaps the film is about the brawny “good” guy beating up the bad guys like any other Hindi flick. But no actually it turns out to be a love story of sorts with Salman being overwhelmed in love knots.

 

Divya Rana (Kareena Kapoor) is a college student, and her confidant is Maya played by Hazel Keech (London-born daughter of an Indian mother and British father).  Divya, the only daughter of Sartaj Rana, (Raj Babbar), a business bigwig, is a spoiled brat. Being priceless in a manner of speaking, Sartaj Rana appoints Lovely as a bodyguard to protect Divya.

 

On Satraj’s orders Lovely, being a true professional, follows Divya everywhere including into her college classroom to the chagrin of the professor as also to the ladies room since he is an obedient servant. Through anonymous phone calls Divya tries to irritate Lovely though her best friend, Maya does not approve of such tactics.

 

With Lovely being a constant pain in the neck Divya, who seeks a normal college life, tries to throw the bodyguard off track by trying to trap him in a fake love affair. However, the affair misfires and Divya is obliged to cover her tracks since she really falls for the hunk, but its too late.

 

In a story where the heroine’s father is very authoritarian she cannot afford to fall in love with the help, its just not done. The “laws of hierarchy” in Hindi films do not permit such a happenstance. Soon follow a web of lies and trickery and with her best friend, Maya in cahoots, what starts as an innocent prank goes awry. 

 

Turns out that the bodyguard’s young boy later reads a diary left behind by his mother. Shades of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai that starred another Khan – Shahrukh, and Kajol.

 

Salman does have his shirtless moments but he seems rather gentlemanly and low-key even in his “romantic” interludes since he has fallen in love with the telephonic voice of “Chaaya” – not the face. A couple of reverberating numbers do have the customary Punjabi beat. 

 

As the boss’s sidekick Asrani’s sychophantic demeanour is understandable. Actor of yesteryear, Vidya Sinha shows up in a guest appearance and Katrina Kaif dances for a song, Aaya Re Aaya.

 

Salman does have his shirtless moments but he seems rather gentlemanly and low-key even in his “romantic” interludes since he has fallen in love with the telephonic voice of “Chaaya” – not the face. A couple of reverberating numbers do have the customary Punjabi beat. 

 

As the boss’s sidekick Asrani’s sychophantic demeanour is understandable. Actor of yesteryear, Vidya Sinha shows up in a guest appearance and Katrina Kaif dances for a song, Aaya Re Aaya.

 

With an unusual name such as “Tsunami Singh” one is assured early that Rajat Rawail is the comedy element thanks to his oversized frame. His explanation as to how he got his name does not particularly help any. His comedy tends to be a stretch and jars at times.

 

Salman’s fights against villains Aditya Pancholi and Mahesh Manjrekar are well-staged but one missed the “gold standard” in terms of fighting scenes: Rajnikanth. The Bodyguard’s weapon of choice tends to be his bare, well-toned physique and his upper body strength that repels all kinds of physical attacks. The occasional pistol shot aimed at him tends to boomerang and maim or kill the adversary. The viewer has to accept the fact that the Bodyguard is invincible. Period. One should not expect logical outcomes or why the laws of physics fall by the wayside when watching the movie.

 

Bodyguard has been seen in several forms. Starting in Malayalam, director Siddique had also made it in Tamil as Kaavalan and the Telugu version is due for release soon. The Hollywood version released in 1992, showed Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. 

 

Kareena’s wardrobe is flattering. As an actor she has matured as well. In a film that goes slightly over two hours with English subtitles, the film has merciless, ongoing action, a weak storyline and an attempt at romance.  Billed as a romantic thriller, Bodyguard has not only surpassed first-day collections of recent releases Singham, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Delhi Belly but has also broken all international records in North America, London and Dubai for any Bollywood film.

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[Raj S. Rangarajan is a New York based freelance writer. He covers trend stories on art, reviews books and films for media based in New York; Toronto, Canada; Seoul, Republic of Korea; and India. He can be reached at raj.rangarajan@gmail.com]

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