Planet Bollywood
Producer: Atul Agnihotri, Alvira Agnihotri, Reliance Entertainment
Director: Siddique
Starring: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Mahesh Manjrekar, Raj Babbar, Hazel Keech, Aditya Pancholi, Rajat Rawail
Music: Himesh Reshammiya, Pritam (Guest)
Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed and Neelesh Misra
Genre: Action, Romantic
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: 31 August 2011
Reviewed by: Ankit Ojha  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
More Reviews and Analysis by PB Critics:
    • Feature Review by Bhavikk Sangghvi - Rating: 8.0 / 10
    • Review by Tanuj Manchanda - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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  • After watching Ready, I had started to lose my faith and trust in Salman Khan films, mainly because most of them have a similar look and feel of this uber-cool dude who always does everything right – right from the takraar to the pyar ka ikraar to the dushmanon pe waar – in almost all films (save for a terrific Dabangg) that have been South remakes or rip-offs. And when the trailer of Bodyguard (a remake of the Malayalam film of the same name) came along, I had already started to assume there’s going to be a set way the movie’s going to be shot, edited and executed – and I wasn’t liking the kind of imagery I had formed in my head at all.

    The only difference that this movie was making apart from all the other Sallu masala entertainers was that they chose a more prominent female lead this time over (Kareena Kapoor), and this wasn’t helping change my mindset in any way, but despite all of this I had decided to watch the movie, if only to check out how much more redundant the Hindi film industry would become, with such movies churning out with immense regularity. And this is exactly where a film like Bodyguard stands out to be pretty different from the rest of the ilk.

    Set in Jaisinghpur and Pune, the movie traces the life of a punctual, efficient bodyguard Lovely Singh (Salman Khan), who’s as mechanical and dumb as some robots could be. He is assigned to protect Divya (Kareena Kapoor), the daughter of businessman-politician Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar), the latter of whose debt Lovely can’t seem to repay. At first, the bodyguard’s over-protective nature irks Divya to no end, and this is when she starts a series of pranks that end up changing her life – and with her, the life of the madly-in-love Lovely Singh.

    Yes, Bodyguard is laced with the typical hotchpotch blend of action, romance, emotion, comedy and the likes. Yes, Bodyguard seems to rest on Salman Khan’s star power. Yes, there are a couple of speed-breakers in the form of abrupt songs thrown into the mix. Yes, yes, yes. But there’s one main ingredient in the whole of this film that makes it different from all of the recent logic-defying south remakes and masala films (Bbuddah, Singham, Ready), and that’s the overpowering romantic on-screen chemistry between Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor.

    Realistic, beautifully portrayed and well-etched, this movie ends up being a sensitive love story, with all other ingredients acting like subplots that only make this movie more marketable to a more universal audience. The one thing that hasn’t changed all the way from its Malayalam original to it’s Tamil remake, all the way to this Hindi version is the director – Siddique, and the one good thing about this director is that he’s managed to heavily tweak it to suit the Bollywood audiences.

    The screenplay has also been smoothed out for a better narration, though the only disappointment was the fact that when you throw Salman in the mix, you almost alwayshave to show him as the macho superhero, and this is also where the story has changed to fit in Salman’s characterization to make him a true 70’s-80’s Hindi movie protagonist, who will dance, sing, love, fight and the likes – unlike the Malayalam and Tamil originals which showed slightly more realistic male protagonists. But there’s a drastic difference between his performance here compared to the barrage of his films that have ruled the box-office recently. The screenplay also seems to have been tweaked for the better of the end product, and this shows. Dialogues are far subtler for a masala film and the execution makes for a good amount of difference.

    And it’s not just the story and screenplay here – the movie has also been technically handled like it’s not a conventional South remake with loud and jumpy editing and annoying camerawork and nothing to speak about the cinematography – in fact, it’s quite opposite to the conventional. Sejal Shah’s cinematography captures each frame deliciously giving the movie a classy feel, backed by strong camerawork that doesn’t move irritatingly, except for in those hardcore action sequences, which also have a certain difference to them. Amazing use of beautifully shallow depth of field, and terrific color-grading with soft, warm colors makes all the difference to each frame. Editing by Sanjay Sankla is consistent, not loud, and makes the pace smooth.

    Music by Himesh Reshammiya is passable (save for a mind-blowingly composed and shot Teri Meri) but what brings it up are the music videos! Pritam’s I Love You takes the cake in both the music and the visual portions.

    Coming to the performances, this movie, like all other Salman movies, is a Salman film all the way, but the difference is in his performance. In all other masala films that he’s done of late starting with Wanted, he’s played the bad-boy-with-a-good-heart, but here he holds a more restrained look throughout, and this is why all the people who view the film will appreciate his performance, which is what holds the film from the first frame till the last. This is the first of Sallu’s recent in which the woman plays an equal and important role in the film.

    Kareena essays the role with aplomb. Her chirpy attitude, getting annoyed, falling in love and breaking down, all look pretty realistic, and add to that she looks extremely gorgeous, and that tends to be an icing on the cake! Hazel is commendable and has potential. Raj Babbar handles his role efficiently. Mahesh Manjrekar doesn’t do anything new, and I might have just been disappointed with him this time around. Aditya Panscholi proves yet again that he’s the menacing villain he can be, and post Dum Maaro Dum, he manages to make an impact in this cameo yet again. Others like Rajat Rawail (Tsunami? Really?), Asrani and Vidya Sinha are added fillers and don’t have much to do.

    Now that I’ve stated some of the extremely positive parts of the film, I’d also like to state the more negative ones:-

    • Instead of focusing on the love story, most of the first half is shown to be an ego trip on Sallu’s brawn and his action, his promotional song (even though well-shot, was it even necessary?) and some really insipid humor and subplots in the first half, which makes most of the pre-intermission reels stale and redundant.

    • The pre-climax and climax portions look pretty hurried, and the turn that takes Hazel’s character toward a new angle looks pretty convincing at first, but the last scene makes you feel: Hey, that was far too convenient. Despite the drawback, the twist does end up working to a certain extent.

    • Karisma Kapoor doing the ADR (dubbing) for Kareena’s phone prank-conversations with Salman – highly illogical for starters. If the love story and the rest of the sequences handled between Kareena Kapoor are subtle, why give this an over-the-top angle?

    • The train scene between Hazel and Salman Khan! DDLJ overdrive, folks?

    Overall, this movie brings back the romantic in Salman Khan that we’ve seen over the tenure of his acting career with brilliant films like Saajan, Maine Pyaar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, and despite the fact that it does have a whole lot of randomness thrown in the middle, it works largely because of Salman Khan’s towering, yet restrained performance, Kareena Kapoor’s powerhouse presence and the firebrand chemistry between the two, making for a very sensitively woven romance drama amidst all the action and humor.

    The twist at the end does take you by surprise, also making for a well-narrated screenplay, but originality rules, and so does Dabangg, which, though having absolute masala in it’s brashness, isn’t a remake or a rip-off by any means! Still, if you can watch Transformers and have fun, or Singham for that matter, this is going to be big bang for your buck! A fun summer-festival blockbuster!

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