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This is the third time for Siddique. Yes, believe it or not, this is the third time that the writer-director has chosen to film this yucky yarn in the span of a year and a half – first in Malayalam, then in Tamil and now in Hindi, effecting minor changes in each follow-up without achieving any perceptible improvement.
He and the producer of this film probably had no option. Who in the right mind would want to direct this damp squib of a screenplay thrice even if he has Salman Dabangg
Khan’s tried-and-tested biceps and pectorals to hang its hollow premise on?
The thread that Bodyguard hangs from is hopelessly slender and perpetually on the brink of snapping. If it doesn’t end up in a complete heap, credit in some measure is certainly due to the Bollywood superstar who seems to have mastered the craft of peddling vacuity with the swagger of a seasoned, cocksure sabre-rattler, and to the director of photography Sejal Shah, who imparts a neat, sparkling look and feel to the film.
Of course, whether you find Bodyguard
entertaining or not will hinge entirely on whether you have any patience for a storyline that is as brainless as a pea. The story soars on the wings of wild whimsy without for once letting logic get in the way.
Our hero, Lovely Singh (Salman Khan), owes a debt to a wealthy feudal lord, Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar), that he cannot repay. The latter lives in a sprawling mansion in a place called Jaisinghpur. The invincible bodyguard is willing to lay down his life for his benefactor.
"When it comes to loyalty, Lovely doesn't spare even royalty," quips the muscleman's boss. How lovely!
So when the master's only daughter, Divya, (Kareena Kapoor), is packed off to a management school in faraway Pune, Lovely Singh is deployed to keep vigil on her and keep her out of harm's way. Sartaj Rana has many enemies but with Lovely's brawn on his side, his daughter is as safe as a Swiss bank.
But this bodyguard is too intrusive for comfort and the girl in his charge resorts to the most ridiculous pranks to get the man off her back. Do you need to be told that there is a love story lurking somewhere in this edifying mix and that the path of the lovers is strewn with thorns? Unfortunately, it is the viewer who steps on them. Ouch!
The director is merciless: he loses no opportunity to exploit Salman’s shirtless action-hero image. Bodyguard has three protracted fight sequences. The hero is a one-man army. He vanquishes all opposition and when he emerges from the uber-violent scuffles, there is nary a scratch on his body and not a hair is out of place.
But Siddique is unable to decide whether he wants the star to project his Wanted
ready-for-battle persona all the way through or adopt a softer, more romantic manner in the second half. Either way, the male protagonist and the film end up looking rather moronic.
The script makes feeble attempts to raise some laughs by throwing in a corpulent comedian (debutant Rajat Rawail). His character is called Tsunami Singh but he doesn't quite sweep the audience off its feet. Bodyguard is the kind of film that thinks physical deformity is funny: the fat man is the butt of jokes, so is a midget-student in the heroine's class.
In the ultimate analysis, Bodyguard
is an out-and-out Salman Khan film meant to be taken in the festive spirit of the season. Love it or lump, chances are that its backers will be laughing all the way to that bank while you, if you aren’t willing to give its excesses a long rope, will be tearing your hair out in exasperation.
So, if you value the mop on your scalp and the grey cells in your head and want to guard yourself against this potentially mind-numbing body blow, give it a miss. Better be safe than sorry!